BPA Featured Article

Call Monitoring Most Successful with a Proven Plan in Place

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
January 04, 2011

Monitoring within the call center has long been a focused approach to ensuring that customer service performance goals are met and that supervisors can have some control over the outcome of the center. Even with proven benefits to the practice, however, there are still some who question why call center agents should be monitored or what quality monitoring solutions should be implemented to ensure the task is completed efficiently.

To drive customer satisfaction, you need to truly listen to the voice of the customer and deliver on demands. This is much easier said than done, but in a call center environment, many of the tools necessary to achieve this goal are already in place. With the right strategy in place, your call center agents can be equipped to deliver the expected level of customer service. The challenge is that this strategy must be based on the voice of the customer – captured through quality monitoring solutions.

In the call center environment, supervisors and managers must be able to balance the need to measure outcomes while also measuring the behaviors and activities that support, drive or even undermine those outcomes. The overall challenge is to determine what to measure and how to measure it. One thing that has been proven clear in the Hawthorne Effect is that call center agents will perform at a higher level if they know their interactions are being monitored.

And, while it is important to listen to your call center agents while they are completing a call, you also have to do something with the information. Agents will catch on quickly if you simply listen and will perform only to the level expected through listening techniques. To actually drive performance improvement, you need to provide agents with a strongly supported feedback mechanism that is easily understood.

To make your monitoring program successful, be sure it is clear and to the point; that it integrates supervisors and managers; that it provides a clear definition of what agents should do; and that it is consistent, fair, objective and accurate in terms of feedback. If you fail to adhere to these guidelines, your findings may be discounted by those to whom you report and agents will find your guidance to be less than helpful.

To be sure you put together a viable program, focus on specific areas for monitoring. These areas include critical activities, such as those that will make or break the call center; core job functions per agent; resolution and your agents’ ability to achieve it on first contact; soft skills and call handling; customer relationships; and internal policy and procedure.

When you have a clear plan in place for call center monitoring and follow that plan with a focus on quality outcomes, you are much more likely to improve the performance of your agents and the center as a whole.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Chris DiMarco