By Tom Chamberlain
Call centers know that the quality of customer interactions can be just as important as the quantity of customers – in fact, the two are directly related. Quality monitoring can be a key initiative that a call center can incorporate into its strategy to rise above the competition. It can ensure a consistent, positive customer experience that lends itself to ultimately building customer loyalty.
Operating a contact center without call logging technology is similar to driving a car without having a destination in mind – the contact center will be moving forward, yet the company won’t know whether it is really making progress without any record of calls or interactions. Companies that do not monitor call quality may also suffer from low customer satisfaction and could see a negative impact on their bottom line.
Implementing an accurate call logging and recording system is critical to effective quality monitoring. Quality management applications provide the capabilities for recording, reviewing, and reporting on customer interactions, which can then be used to improve agent performance, increase customer satisfaction, aid revenue generation, and better manage overall costs. Agent performance can be measured using weighted criteria, such as politeness, professionalism, and successful resolution of customers’ problems. Contact centers can employ this data to evaluate agent performance against those goals, provide coaching, and recommend additional training, as appropriate.
Reaping the Benefits from Call Logging: When call logging is correctly implemented in the contact center, organizations can compile audio recordings and screen captures of caller interactions to understand how agents are handling various types of customer contacts. Supervisors should think of call logging as a necessary tool for regulatory compliance and improved customer security. These quality-monitoring tools also allow supervisors to listen to calls and view screen activity at the same time; assess agent activity in real time; provide tips or advice via instant messaging; and, when necessary, actively participate in interactions that are already in progress. Companies can enhance agent accuracy, contact center compliance, and policy adherence, all of which can lead to higher customer satisfaction ratings and increased revenue.
Quality management tools also empower agents because they can listen to their own interactions and recognize where they need to make improvements. In addition, they can also listen to “best-in-class” interactions from their peers to learn how they can improve the customer interaction by imitating successful agent behavior. Quality monitoring allows agents to gain additional control over their performance appraisals by having the ability to review their own calls and calibrate their results with those of their supervisor. The utilization of call logging and quality monitoring tools will result in a repeatable, quality customer experience, and it can also produce these additional business benefits:
- Improved Business Processes: Quality management applications allow agents and supervisors to pinpoint areas for process improvement, lowering the chance of inconsistent or inaccurate agent responses.
- Increased Sales: Call logging enables supervisors and agents to listen to recordings and pinpoint up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. In addition, the enhanced customer experience resulting from issues such as first call resolution can lead to repeat business and strengthened customer loyalty.
- Improved Regulatory Compliance: Call logging ensures regulatory compliance by using recording as a means to document and record all customer interactions. The contact center can comply with regulatory requirements in handling transactions like order verification, security, and safety.
Quality Management and Training Go Hand-in-Hand: Once the contact center has collected quality monitoring data and call recordings, supervisors need to make sure that agents truly have the skills and knowledge needed to serve different customers, and that they have the ability to provide a consistent experience day-to-day and customer-to-customer. Proper training and coaching plays a key role in the contact center after call logging and quality monitoring tools are in place, by enabling supervisors to regularly monitor and analyze performance and then use the results to coach agents on how they can continue to improve the company-customer interaction.
Training agents on contact center goals and company policy is also critical to agent retention. When you’ve spent ten to twelve weeks training new agents in the contact center, you don’t want to lose them. Plus, contact centers want to make a special effort to retain seasoned employees whose expertise is very valuable. One of the most important things companies can do to increase agent retention rates is to empower their agents with the right training. Follow these tips to ensure that agents are knowledgeable and can give customers a high-quality company experience every time:
- Keep Agents Informed: Call logging enables supervisors to pinpoint areas for improvement and enhance customer-agent interactions.
- Actively Engage Your Agents: By listening to calls via quality monitoring tools, agents can proactively lead their own development by identifying their own areas of weakness.
- Educate Staff: Make sure the agents understand their desktop and quality monitoring data that could help in making customer interactions reliable and consistent.
Integrate Applications: Quality management can have a greater impact on the performance of the contact center when it is integrated with other solutions in the contact center. Call logging integrated with automatic call distributors (ACD) is an effective tool to monitor calls. Incoming calls through an ACD can be automatically recorded and translated into reports by a quality management solution, resulting in an application and reports that are familiar to the contact center supervisors.
When coupled with the feedback mechanisms provided by workforce management reports, a contact center has all of the tools it needs to have more productive, empowered agents and higher service levels. Implementing call logging and quality monitoring technology is only the first step in improving the customer experience. By taking the next step of implementing a unified solution, contact centers can provide a consistent and accurate experience across multiple channels and sites, improve agent productivity, and give their customers’ businesses a significant competitive advantage.
The information collected from call logging applications can be used to improve agent performance, increase customer satisfaction and revenue generation, and better manage overall costs. Proper agent training, plus the right product selection and integrations can make quality monitoring even more effective and help companies align performance with business goals. Ultimately, contact centers that recognize the value of call logging in the contact center can improve the quality of interactions and the quantity of customers.
Call logging and quality monitoring can give an organization the information it needs to chart a map for business goals and strategic objectives. Call centers that implement this technology will be able to better serve their customers, can take control of their contact center, and positively affect their bottom line.
Tom Chamberlain is director of business process marketing at Aspect Software, a provider of contact center products and services. For more information on Aspect Software or quality management solutions, call 978-952-0200.
[From Connection Magazine – April 2007]