Monitoring in a Call Center? Is it worth it?



Call monitoring is a common activity in call centers.  Most call centers today have quality monitoring (QA) departments and quality monitoring software (Verint, eTalk, NICE, etc) that allows organizations to record voice and data, evaluate the calls and store the information for trending purposes.  A great deal of time, effort and expense goes into this series of activities.  IS IT WORTH IT??  Well, that depends.  The key question to ask in order to determine if these efforts are worth it is:   Is my performance improving as a result of these efforts?  If the answer, is yes- then it is worth it.  Most of the time the answer is NO. So does that mean that you throw away all of that expensive equipment and do away with the QA team?  Absolutely not!   What it means is that you change your business practices in order to reap the benefits from these efforts and the technology.  Here’s where to start…

  1. Do you use recorded calls as part of your interviewing process?  One of the first ways to determine if an applicant is going to be able to deliver exceptional service is to determine if the applicant can identify exceptional behaviors.  Select one or two calls, develop strategic questions about those calls (remember to develop an answer key so that you can ensure to meet EEOC guidelines) and then use those recordings and questions as part of your interviewing process.
  2. Do you use recorded calls as part of New Hire Training? A common practice is to schedule time during new hire training to bring new hires to the operational floor to plus in with existing representatives.  I do not recommend this for many reasons.  The learning is inconsistent between the new hires because they are all exposed to different calls, they sit with different representatives who may not all demonstrate the desired behaviors, and the trainer has no way of knowing what they were exposed to while each of the new hires was out of the training environment.  Have I sold you on why that activity is not a good training exercise.  Here is what I recommend instead…. Play calls that are STRATEGICALLY chosen during different parts of the training.  When you are training new hires to handle opening a new account, play a few new account calls.  Trainers- make sure you know how to use the pause button and know the questions to ask to drive the learning.  The goal is not to play the call- the goal is to analyze the call.  Why did the representative go to that screen?  What did she find out when she went to that screen?  Where else could she have gotten that information?  What was accomplished during that conversation?  Was a relationship built with that customer?  What behaviors could have been done differently to build an even stronger relationship? Get the picture? 
  3. Do your representatives review their own calls?  If one of your company initiatives is empowerment, or self-directed, or personal ownership, (or even if those words are not on your radar screen) representatives need to listen to their own calls.  They need the opportunity to self reflect and be still with their own performance.  They need to know what questions to ask of themselves to drive their own knowledge and their own opportunity to advance their communication skills.   We are doing more than talking with customers, we are building relationships, connecting with others, branding your company and building an image of who we are personally and who we are as a representative of a company.  Our communication needs to accomplish a lot of goals and so we need to put alot more focus on how we communicate and how we accomplish those goals.

These are the first three tips to getting more bang for your buck out of the activity of monitoring phone calls.  Look for more tips tomorrow!  Or drop me a comment if you have any questions or ideas.

Are we getting the most return for our investment from our call monitoring activities?  Is our performance changing as a result of those activities? 


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