Customer satisfaction is key to the success of a call center, and customer satisfaction lies in the hands of call center agents. To ensure that customers are receiving the best possible service, call center managers should monitor calls for quality assurance.
To make call monitoring effective in improving customer satisfaction, call center managers must create a plan for monitoring and reviewing agents’ interactions. The first step in implementing a call monitoring program is to identify what to look for in agent calls. When monitoring calls, management should evaluate whether or not an agent adheres to company policies and procedures. Management should also identify any practices that seem to frustrate or alienate customers. Call center managers may choose to develop a scorecard listing specific metrics, and complete the scorecard when monitoring agent calls.
After identifying what to look for, managers should begin monitoring calls. Management may listen in to live calls or record calls to be analyzed at a later time. To start, managers should monitor ten calls per agent every month. Gradually, management can begin to decrease the number of calls monitored every month until agents are monitored three to five times each month. After monitoring every call, management must identify training needs for each agent and then determine how to improve the customer experience.
If, after their calls are monitored, certain agents are shown to need additional training, call center management should schedule time to coach the agent on company policies and procedures, as well as tips for engaging customers. When speaking with agents about needed improvements, managers should clearly articulate any issues so agents know in which areas they need to improve. The manager and the agent should then work together to create an action plan for improvement. Agents should understand exactly how calls are scored and should never be surprised to learn that his or her performance score is low. If an agent continues to perform poorly, the call center manager should monitor the agents’ calls more frequently. Mangers should praise any improvements while still providing feedback on how an agent can improve.
For call monitoring to effectively change agent behavior, the results of monitoring must effect agent compensation. If an agent performs poorly when having his or her calls monitored, the agent should not receive any awards or promotions. If, after an extended period of time, an agent continues to perform poorly even with specialized coaching from management, management must evaluate whether or not an agent should remain on the call center team. If an agent is consistently frustrating customers, their employment at the call center should be terminated. If, on the other hand, an agent consistently improves his or her call performance, he or she should be rewarded. The reward may be large or small, depending on the resources available to call center management. The agent may receive a salary increase, or a few movie tickets. Regardless of the size of the reward, an agent should feel that their performance is recognized and appreciated.
Call centers can deliver dramatic improvements in customer retention and satisfaction by implementing a call monitoring regimen that includes identification of desired agent behaviors, active call monitoring by supervisors, targeted training of agents needing improvement, measuring agent performance with Statistical Performance Analytics and rewarding agents who are performing well. In addition,