BPA Featured Article

Third Party Remote Call Monitoring in the Call Center

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
August 16, 2010

If you run a call center or contact center, is it important to monitor your agents? If you agree that it is, how do you implement quality monitoring to drive results? To do so, you must balance the need to measure outcomes with the necessity of measuring the behaviors and activities that support, drive or even undermine those outcomes. 

To take a closer look, let’s examine a quality white paper, The BPA Quality Builder – Monitoring.

Basic agent monitoring can be found in the Hawthorne Effect, which is an experimental effect in the direction expected but not for the reason expected. In other words, agents who were being monitored perform better just because they were being monitored, not because there was any other program put in place. This effective can be productive in the call center, but not if the only thing a manager ever does is listen. If the agent knows the manager will do nothing with the information gathered, there is no incentive to improve. Instead, you must implement a program that adheres to four key points:

1. It should be clear and to the point

2. It should integrate supervisors of the agents

3. It should have a clear definition of what agents should do

4. It should be consistent, fair, objective and accurate in feedback.

While it is important to measure the outcome of your activities, it is also important to measure and reinforce the activities that drive your organization. 

First, you must examine critical activities – the activities can make or break your call center. Identify these critical activities so they can be of high focus with key measurements. 

Second, identify the base job and scope of the work for which the agent has been hired. 

Third, it is important to reinforce the agent’s success or failure to resolve the issue. 

Fourth, examine soft skills and call handling. Agents need to know how to handle the call, be confident, polite and professional to the customers, while also being able to manage hold, transfer and dead air effectively and efficiently.

Fifth, it is important to drive customer relationships as customers want to feel like the agent and the company cares. 

Finally, internal policy and procedure are essential elements as a failure to do so can lead to a significant failure in the overall customer interaction and the ability of the company to service the customer according to expectations. As important as these things are to the monitoring process, contact center management will be concerned with the return on investment for the monitoring solution. ROI can be realized through lower call volumes, lower call times, first call resolution, sales/retention effectiveness and customer satisfaction. To truly measure the effectiveness of the monitoring program is to examine its results. Are you able to use the monitoring program to improve the performance in the call or contact center? Is this improvement measurable and did it produce a rapid ROI? In answering these questions to the affirmative, you can be confident in the monitoring system.

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 Juliana Kenny