WHITEPAPER ON CALL QUALITY MONITORING
The Nitty-Gritty of Call Quality Monitoring
Call quality monitoring has become an important practice in the call centers and contact centers. The practice first came into existence in UK in the late 1980’s when the service calls were recorded. In those days the recorded calls were used as a means to resolve disputes between the brokerage and financial firms. After proving their worth elsewhere, the call recording practice was embraced in the contact centers. These were used as assistance against dispute handling and training needs. As the call centers soon found out, call recordings were more than useful in gaining insights about the agent and customer interactions. They could be used in agent training, evaluation and measurement of call quality and efficient call handling.
In the mid 90’s call quality monitoring became an important practice in the call centers. They were used as a means to decide agent scores, evaluate their performance and weigh the agent calls. With call monitoring process, the businesses measured the success of interactions between agent and customers. The findings were used to improve upon the interactions which would naturally result in more business revenues for the company.
Call monitoring is a huge market now, one that is multi million dollars worth. Call monitoring has become an essential under the call center or contact center settings. In UK alone the worth of call monitoring industry is $136M and it is predicted to rise by 6% every year over the course of 5 years. As the contact centers are maturing and are making a bid to meet all regulations (particularly for processes belonging to the financial services sector) they are bound to explore new options with call monitoring.
As it can be well understood that investment in quality monitoring is not a luxury, it is essential. This guide will help understand the returns and gains that can be enjoyed by implementing a Quality Monitoring system and its features or functions that can help in easing business processes.
What is Call Quality Monitoring - The Definition
If there is a survey of call centers and they are asked whether or not they have Call Quality Monitoring in place, then invariably 90% of the times the answer will be “Yes”. Though, the methods to monitor quality can greatly vary from one to the other. The method chosen for monitoring can impact on the output or effectiveness of a process. If a call center does not use call recording, then the agents have to be evaluated and rated based on their live performances by the Supervisors. This is called side by side call monitoring and in this process the evaluation sheet is completed by the supervisor as the call progresses.
There are certain organizations that have call recording but no quality monitoring in place. In such a scenario the calls are played back at the convenience of the supervisor and the results are evaluated after listening to the recording.
There are many companies which use the fully integrated call quality monitoring suites. These suites replace most of the manual work and results are automatically accumulated. Based on the results, comprehensive reports are generated and these are helpful in vital management decisions.
Contact centers that really care about the quality of their calls should always consider the implementation of Speech Analytics application. This application comes in an overall package. The application uses the process known as Data Mining to come up with deep insights about the agent-customer interactions in the contact center. The technology is a proven way to enhance the quality of any process.
It is a proven fact that quality monitoring technology has rapidly expanded and accelerated ever since its inception in the early 90’s. This guide will tell how and to what end it has expanded.
What are the areas in which Quality Monitoring system can help?
Recognizing High Performing Employees
A business can grow only when its employees are willing to work hard to meet the long term and short term goals. Contact centers, like every other business, depends on the willing and high performing employees to bring home the profits. The implementation of the call quality monitoring solution will serve as an aid for ongoing agent training and coaching. It will help the agents improve and refine their calling communication. They can customize their communications as per the culture of the contact center and the targets set for agents. Automation of call monitoring will save a lot of time. All this time can be spent in training the agents and getting rid of their flaws.
Improve Important Metrics such as CSAT and NPS
The call quality monitoring system can be used to highlight on certain specific areas such as Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS). The system can help the company build up these important metrics significantly. When the company is looking through the CSAT survey ratings, it should be seen in light of the call quality. The system can help you interlink both these important aspects. In terms of the NPS metrics, it helps the agents understand the worth of their action or inaction in the promoter or detractor ratings. If the right insights (coming from the system) can be mingled with agent evaluations then modifications can be done to call handling. This modification can help in boosting the service and meeting success in all the vital metrics.
Helpful in Management Decisions
The call monitoring system with all its automated data can help the management take decisions better. The insights coming from the call quality monitoring will make the decision making process less risky and fair for everyone. Just as an example: customers might not be registering for a certain membership and the reason for that is the process is too complex or confusing. So, the management can now focus on making this registration simple. Such help is provided by the system.
Rewards and Bonuses for Employees
Call quality monitoring system should not always be used as a cane for the employees. It can be used as a way to recognize the best performing agents who are helping the business earn profits. The agents should be encouraged to perform peer evaluations using the system. By getting the staff involved, you let them understand the true worth of this system. The system can generate a report about the call handling results and their impact on the company’s financial status. By understanding the direct impact of their call handling on the company revenue, agents will take more responsibility and this in turn will make processes better.
Power to Quality Monitoring Team
As the data coming from the QCM (Quality Call Monitoring) system is so transparent so the management need not be involved in all the evaluations. Some of these decisions can be taken by the Quality Monitoring team themselves as well. The agent specific data is neatly organized in terms of the metrics that are set. The report can be used to training or suggest improvements in the existing processes. This can be done by the Quality Monitoring team themselves.
Mistakes to Avoid when Implementing Call Quality Monitoring System
People who are investing in or trying to upgrade their call quality monitoring system should be wary of some common problems that may occur. When these factors are taken into consideration prior to the implementation, more informed decision regarding the type of system that will meet the needs can be made. It can be decided on how to apply this technology in processes to make these successful. Some of the implementation errors to avoid include:
Mistake 1 - Time dedicated to evaluate the call quality
There are many contact centers that implement the best technology but do not know what to do with it. Having all the calls monitored and recorded is a great thing as long as it is monitored. Discipline is essential in this respect. There should be a schedule to evaluate calls. The evaluator should be set a realistic target on how many calls can be evaluated. For larger call centers with a lot of employees the process can be long, while the smaller call centers with less employee strength offer less challenges.
Solution: Play back the relevant calls
There are some QCM applications that have a “replay speed” function which can allow the evaluators a luxury of speeding up the calls by 20-25%. It is still possible to hear and judge the calls at this speed. The evaluators can also skip through the silent phases in the call. This will shorten the per call judgment period. If more calls are evaluated then this a bigger chunk of sample analyzed and this gives an accurate picture about the call handling capabilities of the staff.
Solution: Scheduling and Enforcement
If discipline is not the highlight of an organization, need not worry there are some applications that come with in-built scheduler or planner. These will help set the evaluation goals and then meet the targets. These tools allow the contact center management to set policies and key performance indicators (KPI’s). They can set the to-do list for the QM team or the supervisors for a specific time period. Alerts can also be set for certain tasks that were scheduled but have not been completed within a specified time period. These tools help keep the QM program on track.
Solution: Empowering the Employees to Self Evaluate
There is a way whereby the employees can listen to their own calls and judge its quality. This helps them in self assessment. Some of the companies inspire the agents by launching programs such as “Call of the Month” incentive program. The agents can put forward their best calls for selection. So, none of the best calls are ever missed and best practices can be shared.
Mistake 2 - Targeting Specific Calls for Evaluation
There are hundreds of calls made every day from a call center. The number becomes huge when calls per agent per week are talked about. So, there are plenty of challenges for the evaluators. When they try to find calls that provide insights into what is going wrong, their task is cut out. There are many average calls, but out of them there is one ground breaking call that will provide insights.
Solution: Gaining Better Insights through Targeted Monitoring
QCM systems with the latest settings allow the Quality Monitoring staff to search calls by setting certain parameters, Just as an example, evaluators may search for calls based on department, date, number dialed, individual or call duration. So, if a certain call should conventionally last three minutes but it ends up lasting five minutes then it comes under the purview of the Quality Inspectors. Further investigation into the call will bring forth the actual problem.
Technology today has given the quality inspectors tools such as speech analytics and basic level audio analytics. Both these features can work well with the Quality Monitoring application. The calls can now be searched by typing a certain keyword. One can search by keywords such as “I am cancelling my contract” or “I am not happy with the answer”, etc. So, technology aids in targeted call monitoring. It can be used to pinpoint meaningful calls that will help the organization better its processes.
Mistake 3 - Coaching based on the findings not happening
There is no point in conducting the agent evaluations, ticking the boxes and then moving ahead. Like every process the agent evaluation should have some positive effects. The feedback needs to be detailed and there should be special training organized on the findings of the agent evaluation. The bad aspects should be training while the agents should be inspired to continue with their positive aspects. Often there are general training sessions organized at the end of such evaluations. But one size fits all does not fit anybody when it comes to providing detailed feedback. There should be customized training sessions organized for the employees specially targeting their area of problem.
Solution: Creating Agent Learning Centers for Self Evaluation and Self Training
The advanced QCM systems come with in-built learning centers that help in agent coaching. The agents can be tagged against certain calls, which would enrich their understanding. The agents can overcome their flaws by listening to calls they are tagged in and then reading through the notes or PDFs that are provided alongside the recording. There is also a way to create a training video or other learning material and create a simple online tutorial. The system also allows supervisors the choice to allow the agents to evaluate their own calls. Such a policy can offer greater transparency in the process. The training centers make sure that the agents do not have to keep waiting for their next training session or appraisal. They can force the evaluation and reviews.
The system also allows the creation of coaching reports which would contain the improvement objectives and dates against each of these. The dates can be set at individual, team, department or organizational level. These timelines can be tied to the bonus or incentive schemes too.
Mistake 4 - Problem with Sustaining the Ongoing Improvements
There is a lot of similarity between a Quality Call Monitoring program and going to the gym. Initially there is a sense of purpose which drives the persons to drive towards a goal and thus achieve it. But after the initial goals are achieved, the situation becomes very tricky. The users do not find motivation to achieve greater heights, they just lose focus. There is no one to help them keep the motivation levels high and set priorities for them. Thus the initial good results of the program often fade away.
Solution: Opt for an Independent Consultancy
Implementing the Quality Monitoring technology is not the end goal for any organization. There is a lot of work remaining after the implementation. The technology should be embedded into the organization culture and become a mode of on-going engagement.
The role of a quality monitoring consultancy is very similar to having a personal coach. They can get a dormant program kick-started and help gain a completely different perspective on things. The consultants having significant experience with their prior engagements can advise on the best practices and make sure that all the features of QCM system are completely utilized. They can also help in deploying the solutions within the company culture.
Mistake 5 - Perception of Unfair Evaluations
If the agent evaluation process is not fair or there is lack of transparency then there is a storm brewing within the employees. If agents are not allowed to self evaluate or shown reasons for their rating then there is a chance that the complete Quality Monitoring (QM) process can fail. Similarly, it is very difficult for the organization to maintain accuracy or consistency if the evaluations are carried out by a number of people. There will be a big issue if the agent deems that there was a shadow of favoritism in the evaluations.
Solution: Tracking Evaluations with Calibration and Reporting Tools
There are special calibration tools in the QM applications. These tools can generate reports which compare and evaluate the evaluator’s marking behavior. Features such as deviation scoring allow the checking of fairness. A call can be evaluated can evaluated on the pre-set norms, if the evaluation is not deemed fair by the system it will be flagged and will be up for review. If an evaluator is consistently getting flagged for reviews, then the person needs training. So, the feature allows understand the training for evaluators too.
There is also the option of creating forms that would allow the agent to evaluate and put scores on their own calls. This will aid in self learning and help in the better understanding of the parameters which the evaluators take a note of. The process helps in forming a feedback loop where the agents can input their thoughts into the QM process along with recommendations on how the glitches can be mended. They can provide feedback for future success.
Mistake 6 - Not Taking External Factors into Account
When the quality of any agent is evaluated, often the key factors that may influence agent performance are not at all accounted for. There are many factors which are beyond the control of a supervisor, but these factors are never taken into consideration. At times the agent has to overcome a precarious problem while making the call. But the problem handling does not find any mention in the evaluation. Some of the external factors that may influence the agent performance include infrastructure failure of any sort, a competitive offer that is far better than what the agent is selling or problem with the product (product malfunctions).
Solution: Screening for Understanding the Issues of Broken Processes
A 360 degree view of the agent interactions is needed for true evaluation. So, evaluating based on what the agent said or did at a specific moment of time is not the ideal way. For complete evaluation there is need for call recording along with screen recording. Such a set-up allows the evaluators to listen to what is being said and the steps being taken on the agent screens during the call. The monitoring of actions will tell the evaluators whether proper actions were taken.
Mistake 7 - Technology cannot do Everything for You
Finally, it should be brought to attention that technology us not the end thing for Quality Call Monitoring. Yes, there are many tools in the system that is bought but it can operate properly only if there is a policy or framework in place. The policies or frameworks allow the tools to achieve the goals and show the way to the goals too. If there is no such policy in place then the system is bound to fail. So, a strategic thought into the needs should be done while implementing the Quality Monitoring system. The below given chart will clarify the process.
This Call Center Globally guide intends to highlight the features of quality call monitoring and how they can help organizations maintain a better service standard with these sophisticated systems. It sets the expectations right for the system. Also there is a suggestion of how to avoid some of the common problems with QCM system.
- Though the quality monitoring system is perceived to be a proven and mature technology, yet the market has not completely grown. There are still wide scopes for growth in these systems. The manufacturers are coming up with feature rich systems that are helping the contact centers meet both past and future problems.
- When the organization is not able to completely utilize the monitoring system and draw the expected insights from it there is need for some introspection. The organization should invest in identifying whether the right technology is being used and whether the processes and people are inclined to the technology. If things are not right then there is need to appoint a consultancy which would help in identifying the problems.
- If the organization is question is a large call center that handles huge call volumes every day, then it becomes a daunting task for the evaluators to go through each and every call. In such a scenario, the addition of speech analytics will prove very useful for the quality monitoring process.
If a clear thought process is followed then upgrading or implementing the quality system is not a problem at all. But one needs to have the right expertise in mind.
At Call Center Globally, we have been offering great results to our domestic as well as international clients with all the calling processes. One of the reasons for our success rate is the proper implementation of the Quality Monitoring system. We make a bid to constantly improve the quality of our calling processes with the help of sophisticated system.