Seven Deadly Sins of Call Quality Monitoring


Call quality monitoring is an essential way to track the level of service given by agents.

But these seven deadly sins could undermine your method.

1. Just monitoring agents

Valur Svansson

Valur Svansson

Alongside performance, coaching, development and training, the other primary purpose for call quality monitoring is to ensure customer satisfaction.

Therefore, we would also suggest that the IVR is monitored as well, in terms of IVR utilisation – where in the IVR the customer decides to go on or to opt out. Poorly constructed IVR can lead to customer frustration very easily as this is all part of the overall customer experience.

Valur Svansson, Operations Improvement Consultant, Datapoint

2. Failing to provide proper training and support

Jonathan Gale

Jonathan Gale

A critical aspect of call quality monitoring involves providing staff with adequate training and support. New staff can be expensive to recruit and difficult to retain so it is important to give them the support they need to excel in their role – and really feel like a valued member of the team.

Supervisor monitoring allows team leaders to listen in to an agent’s call in real time to support and coach them while they are getting up to speed.  With modern systems, remote staff or home workers can also get the same level of support as office-based employees, when they need it.

To further this solution, post-call surveys can also be used to gather opinion on how a call was managed to help gauge training and the approach of the agent. The feature includes automatic notification so negative survey results can be flagged to a supervisor by email or SMS so they can respond quickly to the customer and resolve any issues. This allows the trainer to speak with the agent with the call fresh in their mind and allows for the most retention.

Jonathan Gale, CEO of NewVoiceMedia

3. Evaluation criteria based on yes/no answers

Typically when using call quality monitoring tools, the trend is to use it in a somewhat myopic manner, evaluating and analysing an agent’s performance to get it to a predetermined level.

Brent Bischoff

Brent Bischoff

Many evaluation forms today are still based on a ‘yes or no’ answering model. Was the agent friendly, yes or no? However, that answer will not convey whether the agent was exceptional or really poor at dealing with the customer’s request. With this form of evaluation criteria you are signalling to the agent that reaching an exceptional level of service will not provide additional reward or recognition and that delivering a mediocre level of service is okay.

In summary, the agent is not pushed to go above and beyond, because there is no real incentive to do so.

Is mediocre service enough to keep driving the profit line up? Simple answer – No! Competitors and rising customer expectations are confirming that, and as such customer loyalty goes out the window with mediocre service levels.

By leveraging all the information that quality monitoring offers and expanding your evaluation criteria, a new standard can be developed against which your agents can be monitored. It’s all about knowing the right questions to ask, that will ultimately drive change in the behaviour and service levels delivered by agents.

Brent Bischoff, Consultant, Business Systems

4.  Failing to get your agents on side

Marlene Zappia

Marlene Zappia

The benefits of quality monitoring (QM) in terms of greater quality and productivity and the improved identification of coaching requirements are well recognised. What’s not discussed so often are the benefits it can deliver to agents. QM, however, can deliver many such advantages, from improved ‘self-empowerment’ through agents being able to listen to (and learn from) their own calls, to ‘improved job satisfaction’ through improved training and a greater understanding of the customer experience.

Marlene Zappia, Senior Solutions Consultant, Aspect 

5. Misunderstanding call-handling guidelines

John Mccann

John Mccann

Personal interpretation of call-handling guidelines (CHG) can lead to mixed messages when trying to identify areas of weaknesses or strength or when feeding back to advisors. Regular calibration sessions will allow for calls to be individually scored. These scores can then be compared and discussed in order to assess whether attendees understood the CHG. These sessions should comprise a mix of quality coordinators, team managers and advisors to cover a full spectrum of understanding. Results should be recorded and tracked to monitor variance. The calibration sessions are also a valuable forum in which to share changes to CHG.

John Mccann, Quality Co-ordinator, RESPONSE

6. Being secretive

Carl Adkins

Carl Adkins

Be open and honest about your intentions when implementing quality monitoring. Involve your team managers and agents in defining the quality criteria to be used when assessing calls (such as ‘showing empathy’, ‘detailing upgrade options’, etc.) and provide a detailed explanation of how scoring mechanisms will work.

Describe plans to employees at an early stage and clearly communicate that your business aim is to identify training needs, make script changes, etc. in order to improve productivity, quality and customer satisfaction and not to impose additional rules and catch agents out. Winning the support of employees is essential to the success of call quality monitoring.

7. Failing to reward staff for improved customer satisfaction

It’s time for businesses to put their money where their mouths are and target call centre bonuses on customer satisfaction.  In nearly all cases, when quality improves, customer satisfaction does too – with a knock-on impact on areas that affect the bottom line such as customer loyalty and repeat purchasing. Teams and individuals should therefore be rewarded for their contributions.

Carl Adkins, Managing Director, Infinity CCS

Click here for our 30 Tips to Improve your Call Quality Monitoring

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  • I definitely agree on this article. These 7 deadly sins about call monitoring also leads to agents mentality to resign. I have my personal experience too in terms of this quality monitoring. Most QAs are not that keen and proactive in giving feedback, unfortunately not even calibrated on the process involved as production agents is doing. Too our shock, thinking that information given is correct, you will end up screwed and lost. In the end, QA grade that you are expecting to be delivered is not met.

    Boris Kensvorsky 24 May at 02:00
  • Hi I am working as a Manager quality control in a call centre,I agree with 7 deadly sins about call monitoring.
    I believe in giving feedback on daily basis otherwise theres no point in call monitoring.

    At the same i maintain a feedback tracker to monitor implementation of the feedback given to the agents,this is useful to appreciate the agents who follow the given feedback & also further work on agents who dont show improvement post feedback

    Indra Edamadaka 24 May at 08:09
  • The most powerful impact I’ve seen is geting Agents to mark their own calls. (with a Team Leader present, but in the background).

    The effect is instant. Give it a go and see how critical they are of themselves and see how they instantly take ownership of their development between that moment and their next QA session!

    Just don’t let them be too critical of themselves and help them notice the good stuff.

    Very powerful.

    Dan Cuthbert 12 Jul at 16:31
  • Very good, one thing is missing: lack of transparency. I mean, you must get your teams involved in the implementation of CSAT programmes or introduction of new technologies.

    Vincent 18 Dec at 11:11
  • I totally disagree with the 3. Evaluation criteria based on yes/no answers.

    having scores such as 1 to 5 scales, or good, Outstanding, etc, might create the perception that a 4 is just enough to “pass” the monitor, so the Agent will think “well I don’t need to make any additional efforts to have a 5, because a 4 is good enough”.

    And for reporting, it will be harder for a QA/QM to measure the results, and determine root causes.

    Yes or No Scoring, are better, as long as the guidelines are clear!

    And please, don’t say that this will demotivate agents, because the whole purpose of transaction monitoring, is to proper identify opportunities for improvement, and help develop agents. Not to penalize.

    Diogo F 29 Sep at 12:06