By Tom Mangan, Technology Writer
According to Gartner, only 9% of Customers report solving their issues via self-service–meaning call center agents are constantly fielding customer service and support requests.
While these one-on-one phone calls personalize the customer experience, they’re also time-consuming.
To ensure agents manage their workloads without sacrificing customer service quality, managers need to identify peak call times, agent schedule optimization, and find ways to streamline the support resolution process.
Call center monitoring captures this data, providing a bird’s-eye view of daily call center activity as well as more specific, customizable real-time and historical insights.
Understanding the nuances of call center monitoring helps you create a more effective strategy, identifying gaps in agent performance and providing more accurate calculations for key benchmarks like first call resolution rates and CSAT scores.
Read on to find out:
- What is call center monitoring?
- How does call center monitoring improve the customer experience?
- What are call center monitoring best practices?
- What are key leadership and staff roles for effective call center monitoring?
What is Call Center Monitoring?
Customers call in. Sales and customer support teams call out. Agents and managers are responsible for finding a balance between inbound and outbound calling–keeping sales numbers, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction rates high.
This is the life of a call center, where human interactions create rich streams of real-time data. Managers monitor call center data for signs of trouble while empowering agents with evidence of success.
Call center monitoring has three core functions:
- Collection: Key call center metrics are collected and sent to the analytics database
- Analysis: Reporting tools use advanced algorithms that flag problems and reveal opportunities to optimize operations
- Feedback: Reports help managers build on their successes and shore up their shortcomings
Each of these functions creates opportunities to exceed customer expectations and improve business outcomes.
How Call Center Monitoring Impacts the Customer Experience
Consider this hypothetical: Monique manages the call center for an eCommerce site that sells replacement parts for classic cars. George is the new agent she hired a month ago. George has been restoring classic cars on the weekends for 15 years, but he’s never worked as a call center agent before.
Monique’s challenge: Make sure George stays on script when car buffs call in.
High-quality call-monitoring software measures the length of every call George takes and correlates this to his impact on total sales.
For the first couple of weeks, George was too mindful of keeping call times short and tended to cut customer calls off too soon. A month later, George is more comfortable on the job–but now he’s spending too much time on each call and leaving customers on hold longer.
Call quality monitoring helps Monique, George, and the rest of the call center team find the right balance between call length and customer satisfaction. Advanced call quality monitoring software uses artificial intelligence and speech analytics to scan call recordings, correlating common words and phrases with customer behavior.
This knowledge helps Monique route calls about early ‘70s muscle cars to George and other calls to different agents based on their unique expertise. These kinds of valuable insights help Monique’s team cement strong relationships with customers—winning new ones every day and preventing customer churn.
Call monitoring goes beyond enforcing rigid standards.
Let’s say George keeps talking about two minutes longer than he should, based on the call center’s standards. But what if his calls produce more sales and a greater customer experience?
Monique can use call monitoring data to answer questions like this one. Rather than forcing George to go by the book, she can grant a small exception that helps keep him happy with his job and less likely to go looking for a new one.
Call Center Monitoring Best Practices
A recent Metrigy research study, commissioned by GoTo, noted the two largest concerns of call center leaders: inefficient use of agents’ time (44.9%) and poor transparency on KPI/agent metrics (39.7%).
Following these best practices should keep you on the path to progress:
Set Clear KPIs and Standards for Call Quality
Key-performance indicators (KPIs) and call-quality standards are essential to effective call center monitoring. Because every business has unique customer service metrics and call-quality standards, the only way to discover yours is to start monitoring and measuring, creating both agent and department-wide scorecards.
These are some of the data points call center monitoring software can track:
|Data for Managers||Data for Agents|
|Total calls over a set time (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.)||Average Handle Time (AHT)|
|Call center abandonment rate||Average talk time|
|Average call duration||Total talk time|
|Average caller time in queue||Total call volume trends|
|Average cost per call|
The best call center monitoring solutions help you recognize trends, identify top performers, and establish baselines for KPIs and call quality.
If you need help, talk to your call center technology vendor. Their experts have years of in-the-trenches experience and can discuss the key features your software needs.
Analyze 100% of Calls
The larger your dataset, the better your chances of generating actionable insights.
Monitoring every call means a deeper, more accurate understanding of call center operations, agent activity, the effectiveness of current sales strategies, and rep customer service skills.
Plus, you’ll be able to identify the most effective way to respond to all types of calls.
Provide Feedback to Agents Based on Your Findings
Agents need to know how they are doing—good, bad, or somewhere in the middle.
There’s little point in agent monitoring your call center if you don’t use the data to identify top performers and provide guidance to those needing additional training, coaching sessions, and support.
Let Agents Listen to Their Own Calls
High-quality call monitoring technology keeps extensive recordings of agents’ calls.
Agents hear how they sound and can identify vocal tics they’d like to fix and take note of bad (and good) habits.
Show Agents Examples of Good Customer Interactions
Monitoring data will identify and empower your top performers and can be used for employee training purposes.
You can create transcripts of voice recordings to show the kinds of words that customers like to hear. You can also offer examples of how successful agents deal with difficult customers, handle conflicts, and go the extra mile to keep customer retention rates high.
Pick the Right Call Center Monitoring Software
The best cloud-based contact center technologies include sophisticated monitoring tools to help managers develop a deeper understanding of call center operations and a strong quality monitoring process.
Quality call center software should be economical, easy to install, and intuitive for non-technical users. If you’re running a small or medium-sized business, look for software designed specifically for the scope of your operations.
What works for the global enterprise is likely to be overkill for smaller companies.
Key Roles for Effective Call Center Monitoring
There are three key roles in effective call center monitoring:
- Call Center Manager
- Call Center Supervisor
- Call Center Agents
Call Center Manager
The call center manager creates the strategic vision for the call center. Monitoring data helps the manager identify long-term trends and deal with short-term issues like seasonal staffing.
The manager’s decisions help the company enforce brand guidelines, identify the root causes of common call center problems, and design seamless customer experiences.
Call Center Supervisor
The supervisor implements the manager’s strategy and provides call center quality assurance.
Monitoring data tells the supervisor which individual agents and sales reps are the most productive. Data also helps with scheduling and motivating agents to boost individual and overall call center performance.
Supervisors can use data to route calls to agents who have the best skills and knowledge to solve specific customer issues.
Call Center Agent
The agent faces a constant tension between serving current customers and reducing the wait times of people on hold.
Real-time data monitoring can help them move things along in current live calls and help clear long call center queues, improving overall workflows while providing more effective quality management strategies.
Measure and Monitor Your Way to Call Center Excellence
The best call center tools leave customers grateful for the experience. They repay the gratitude with repeat business and recommend you to their friends, family, and co-workers in person and on social media.
In short, call center software can transform your business, leading to more sales and customer loyalty.
Call center quality monitoring gives you the tools to keep customers and agents happy in the long-term–while also identifying current areas needing improvement.
Use these insights to reward your best employees and inspire the up-and-comers to keep productivity rates high.
Best of all, you’ll have real-time insight on calls that helps you build your brand and widen your competitive advantage.
Call Center Monitoring FAQs
Below, we’ll answer some of the top call center monitoring FAQs.