Dick Bourke notes how an understanding of call monitoring can benefit agents, management and the overall contact centre.
Call centre monitoring can get a bad rap among customer service agents. It’s natural that agents might feel uncomfortable with calls being recorded and evaluated.
But while it’s always possible for call monitoring to be misused, there are actually some strong advantages. Remember, engaged agents deliver high performance and great customer experience.
Here’s what you as a manager wish agents knew about quality assurance. Don’t be afraid to share with your team.
Call Monitoring Is Your Friend
Call monitoring provides a permanent record of what occurs between you and a caller. Those recordings can be used to disprove customer claims of inaccurate information, false promises and rude behaviour.
Everyone has had a few unhappy customers claim that you said something you didn’t say, or didn’t say something you should have said. Usually, they’re not trying to get you in trouble; they’re just trying to resolve things in their own favour. Regardless, call monitoring removes any room for doubt.
Small Adjustments Can Save the Day
Everybody makes mistakes. But sometimes little mistakes can have big repercussions, especially when it comes to regulatory issues like customer privacy and the handling of payment information.
Call monitoring gives managers an opportunity to save you problems down the road by educating you on risks and reinforcing proper procedures. This type of coaching isn’t about punishment; it’s about protecting both you and the company from future liability.
Quality assurance scorecards give you insight into what your company really values.
It’s a familiar cliché that what gets measured is what matters. When you know what you’re being measured on, you’re able to see the job through management’s eyes and develop a better understanding of which job behaviours are valued the most, as well as why they’re so important.
That insight gives you the ability to link what you do each day to the big picture, helping you deliver on company objectives and increasing your chances for future job growth and/or promotion.
Monitoring Supports Evaluations Based on Hard Data
We all know the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” And yet, we’re all human. We make mistakes. But you don’t want your evaluation to be based on an instance when a manager happened to walk by the one time you were on a particularly difficult, it-only-happens-once-a-year call. Or because a manager was having a bad day and took a specific exchange the wrong way.
Call monitoring reduces the impact of biases and misunderstandings, letting the facts speak for themselves, showcasing positive behaviours and identifying the causes of negative behaviours. A properly designed and transparent QA system gives you a voice and allows you to engage in the evaluation process.
Call Monitoring Helps You Stay on Top of Your Game
Consider it “continuing education.” Call monitoring and the related quality assurance training help you stay on top of current best practices, keep your skills sharp and boost your future job opportunities.
An agent who is familiar with what the best call centres in the world are doing is a lot more marketable than an agent who receives no training or feedback.
How to Make Call Monitoring Work in Your Favour
The knowledge that your calls are being monitored shouldn’t make you apprehensive. Managers really do want to engage with their agents. The best way is through communication, inclusion, and transparency.
There are many things you can do to make quality assurance monitoring work in everyone’s favour:
Understand the Metrics
Make sure you have a clear understanding not only of what’s being measured — your team’s key performance indicators (KPIs) — but also why those metrics were chosen.
Ask your manager to explain why each KPI is important to your team’s business goals.
Be Proactive, Get Involved
If you see internal process issues that are consistently frustrating your effort to serve the customer, highlight them to the team and your supervisor.
If you have a rough call and are worried that you didn’t handle things as well as you could have — or if you think a customer might complain — let your manager know right away.
Doing so highlights your commitment to delivering quality customer services and eliminates the tendency to spend the rest of the day worrying about that one call.
Ask for Coaching
When you have full access to your data, you can see everything management sees. If you spot a trend that could indicate a problem — a reduction in the percentage of issues that were resolved on the first call, for instance — don’t wait for someone to come to you. Bring it to your manager’s attention and ask what you can do to get back on track.
Offer Constructive Criticism
Relevant metrics are critical to success. Sometimes, however, management chooses metrics that unintentionally encourage the wrong behaviour.
Measuring the amount of time callers wait can lead to agents hurrying other callers off the phone. Sometimes, only the people who do the job have the perspective to point those things out. The key is to be respectful and helpful rather than coming across as if you’re complaining.
Here’s the bottom line: Call monitoring is an important tool for managing service delivery in a dynamic communications environment. Your managers have their own managers, and they need to provide evidence that they’re doing a good job…and so on, all the way up the chain.
Looking closely at how the company interacts with customers is a great way to understand the root causes of less than positive customer experiences.