These days, contact center managers can find answers to questions about call strategy with a much more analytically rigorous approach than a reflection on their personal experience.
Thanks to the proliferation of cloud contact center solutions, collecting and analyzing conversational data from calls between customers and agents has never been easier.
With call recordings and call metrics, contact center managers can routinely identify low-quality calls, listen to them, spot weaknesses, and help the agent and team address these shortcomings through personalized training plans and alterations to call processes and scripts.
In this article, we’ll explain what call quality is, why monitoring it is so essential for contact centers, and how busy managers can do it efficiently and intelligently with the help of technology.
Call quality is a measure of the effectiveness of phone call conversations between a business’s contact center agents and its customers.
Each contact center has its own set of standards that determine call quality. But, in general, high-quality conversations are those in which the contact center agent is polite and helpful and leaves the customer satisfied with a clear solution to their problem.
Call quality monitoring, on the other hand, is the ongoing process of gathering data about customer service phone calls and analyzing that data to find ways to improve a contact center’s performance.
When customer service has such a large effect on customer experience, sales, and customer retention, contact center managers have to work towards optimizing their team’s performance on the phones, and call quality monitoring is the most effective way to do that. The following analogy will explain why.
A top-tier sports coach adjusts their training regiment based on the weaknesses they perceive through closely observing players in action. They know that assigning dribbling practice to a forward with already dizzying foot skills is a failure to use training time as efficiently as possible.
The contact center manager must follow the same coaching strategy in order to consistently improve agent performance. They have to uncover the various weaknesses of each agent, as well as the overall team, through effective call quality monitoring.
By identifying shortcomings in how agents handle calls, the manager can give personalized training assignments or reference material to agents, such as a specific technical white paper or objection handling script.
Managers can also change their contact center processes to eliminate the shortcoming across the entire team.
For example, after diving into contact center analytics, you might find that calls tend to fail when customers ask about “technical issue X”. You could then educate their agents on that product problem and update the call script with language they can easily reference mid-call.
The ultimate aim of call quality monitoring is to increase agent performance by identifying weaknesses in call handling and then implementing corrective action.
To monitor call quality, contact center managers set up systems to collect and analyze information about customer interactions to uncover insights about how to improve customer service.
They may use the following to collect information about customer calls:
To visualize this in practice, imagine that you record all of the agents’ phone calls, along with the customer survey results about those conversations, in a contact center platform.
Whenever a customer leaves a poor review, you listen to the phone call with the agent, pinpoint the reasons why the call failed, and then instruct the agent on how to improve next time around.
If the issue is common enough, you may also update your team’s standard operating procedures or script to prevent it from happening again. You might also share the advice you gave the individual agent to the entire team in a team meeting.
As you can imagine, call quality monitoring gets tricky when there is a large number of calls to track. It’s impossible to listen to all of them, and difficult to tease out the most common flaws in agent call handling. With that in mind, here are some best practices to follow to ensure you monitor call quality efficiently:
Call data consists of call recordings, live metrics, historical reporting, and other call-related metrics like average handle time (AHT).
Many companies use a cloud contact center solution to capture this data automatically during conversations. The software also helps them analyze that data, making it easier to identify calls that failed, as well as why they failed.
In sum, automating data collection and analysis with the right software is an essential step in creating a systematic approach to call quality monitoring.
On their own, the metrics you collect through automation won’t give you the entire picture of how the agent, or your process, is falling short.
To truly understand the nature of the problem, you need to listen to call recordings, asking questions like the following:
A close, critical listen to an agent’s conversation with a customer can uncover subtle issues with the agent’s technique that you can help them overcome to unlock their true potential.
Whenever you implement a new call handling process or make changes to your script, it’s crucial that you track the impact of that shift. That way, you’ll come to know if your plan is actually paying off, or if you need to go back to the drawing board.
To track the impact, compare team-wide metrics like average handle time or average CSAT from before and after the implementation. Ask yourself whether there is a significant bump in these numbers. If it’s succeeding, great job. If not, you may have misdiagnosed the issue.
Monitoring call quality with an eye toward improvement in agent performance is an essential practice for leaders in contact centers. Only through ongoing call quality measurement and analysis can true progress occur.
If you’re looking for a tool that will help you monitor call quality and bolster agent performance with features like call whispering and agent dashboards, check out how Contacto can help.