Call Center Monitoring: 7 Best Practices for Call Center Managers
Call centers are critical for many different operations ranging from sales to customer support. The right monitoring and management practices can help your call center run more smoothly and, in turn, improve customer satisfaction. Sounds great, but is it easier said than done?
Not anymore, as we will discuss best practices for call center managers. With a few handy tips, you can improve call center monitoring in your organization with ease.
What Is Call Center Monitoring?
In short: call center monitoring means tracking various aspects of interactions between your agents and your current or potential customers.
You might be wondering: why would I want to monitor my call center activities and my agents anyways? After all, the whole point of a call center is to make and take calls, right?
Wrong. A call center that operates as a well-oiled machine needs constant monitoring and tweaking to keep running as efficiently as possible.
Call center monitoring is the key to delivering excellent customer service to ensure that your call center agents are providing top-notch service and meeting (if not exceeding) your customers’ expectations.
Such data can help you identify issues and bottlenecks, as well as understand what’s working well and where your call center could improve. With call center monitoring practices in place, you may be able to improve a variety of metrics such as first call resolution rates, average handle time, average queueing time, and many others.
Call Center Monitoring Types
There are two types of call center monitoring: quality assurance and performance. They go hand in hand.
#1 Quality Assurance
This type of monitoring helps you improve employee performance and customer satisfaction at the same time.
With a set of quality assurance guidelines in place, you can evaluate calls and give employees feedback on how they can improve, while also catching any potential customer service issues before they escalate into crises.
To carry out quality assurance monitoring, you’ll need to listen in on calls and take note of the following:
- how well agents handle their calls
- whether or not agents are following company procedures
- the overall tone of the calls
- how well customers’ questions and concerns are answered
- if up-selling and cross-selling activities take place
- the average call length across different departments
After listening to a call, you can provide feedback on what they did well and where they need assistance. You can also use this information to make changes to your company’s procedures.
#2 Performance Monitoring
Performance monitoring is used to track employee productivity and measure how many calls they are able to handle in a given period of time. You can also measure how many customers abandon calls, or how many have their issues resolved on the first contact, for example.
To monitor performance effectively, you’ll need to track the following metrics:
- number of calls taken
- average call length
- average talk time
- hold time
- after call work time
By tracking these metrics, you can identify areas where your agents might need additional support. For example, if you notice that a particular agent has a high number of calls with long average durations, they may need additional training on how to handle calls more efficiently.
Both Quality Assurance and Performing Monitoring are important to the success of any call center. You can improve your call center on many levels by tracking different aspects of employee performance and customer service.
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of call center monitoring, let’s discuss some best practices for call center managers.
Best Practices for Call Center Monitoring
#1 Start Call Center Monitoring from Day One
Imagine that your call center has been up and running for a few months without any monitoring in place. You’re suddenly getting a lot of customer complaints and your employees are starting to get frustrated. It’s going to be much harder to identify the root of the problem and make the necessary changes at this point.
You can avoid these issues if you start with call center monitoring from day one. You’ll be able to identify problems early on and make the necessary changes to keep your call center running smoothly.
#2 Establish Clear Goals So Everyone in Your Team Knows What to Aim for and What to Avoid
For starters, understand why you’re monitoring your call center performance. What are your goals? Are you looking for ways to improve customer service? Reduce agent turnover rates? Cut down on costs?
Design your monitoring program accordingly. Everyone in your team has to know what your call center monitoring goals are so that they know the direction to aim for. Set goals that are clear, achievable and realistic.
Some examples of call center goals could be:
- reducing average call handle time to a certain duration
- improving first call resolution rates to a certain percentage
- increasing customer satisfaction scores to a certain number
When setting goals, make sure they are always measurable. So, don’t simply aim for “reducing AHT”, but go for “reducing AHT by 15% by the end of Q3 2022”. This way, you can track progress and see if you’re actually achieving your SMART goals.
#3 Define What a Successful Call Is
As a call center manager, be specific about exactly what components make a successful call. You should have a clear understanding of call scripts and the various customer service scenarios that agents will encounter.
Know your company’s products and services, as well as those of the competition. This way, you can ensure that agents are meeting the needs of customers and successfully representing your brand.
You can even create an anatomy of a successful call to help you and your team to identify its key components.
Some of these components could include:
- a greeting within the first 15 seconds
- an offer to help within the first 30 seconds
- active listening
- asking questions to understand the customer’s needs
- providing relevant information about products and services
- offering solutions to meet the customer’s needs
- handling objections effectively
- ending the call on a positive note
These are just examples – you can tailor our list to fit your company’s individual needs better.
Having a solid grasp of what is considered a successful call for your company allows you to train and measure your agents according to this standard.
#4 Know Not Only Why but Also How to Do Call Center Monitoring
Monitoring your calls is not as simple as just listening in and observing how agents are performing.
At some point, there comes the task of actually setting up the call center software and getting it running. This can be a bit tricky, especially if you’re dealing with a large call center.
You’ll need to find the right tools and double-check that they’re compatible with your infrastructure, as well as train your team on how to use the system and interpret the data. It’s wise to involve them in your final decision on which tool to use – at the end of the day, they need to be familiar with it as well.
But don’t worry – there are plenty of resources out there that can help you with this process. And once you have everything up and running, you’ll be able to start reaping the benefits of call center monitoring.
#5 Review Call Recordings
One of the most important aspects of call center monitoring is reviewing recordings on a regular basis.
This will provide you with insights into the challenges and issues faced by your agents, the results they are achieving, and their efficiency. Review both good and bad calls, as this will give you a more well-rounded view of your team’s performance.
During a review of recordings, note any shortcomings. These could be things like:
- Your agents not following scripts
- Lack of proper grammar or pronunciation
- You’re not being polite or courteous in your calls
- Your agents are not helpful or knowledgeable
- Your calls last longer than the allotted time
The occasional incident is not a big deal, but if you see patterns emerging then it’s time to take action. You can use these recordings as training materials for your team. By showing them examples of both successful and unsuccessful calls, you can help them grow in their roles.
For example, if you notice that agents are regularly not following scripts, you could create a training module on the importance of doing so. Or, if you see that agents are regularly going over the allotted time for calls, you might decide to create a training module on time management.
These recordings can also be used as supporting claims in performance reviews.
If you have specific examples of an agent’s performance, you can more accurately assess their strengths and weaknesses. This will help you to make decisions about things like raises and promotions.
Address these issues with your team and work on coming up with solutions together so that you can help to improve the overall quality of your call center as a team.
#6 Check Your Call Analytics
To take it a step further, check call analytics. Analyzing these bits of data can help you recognize areas for growth.
Here’s an example report that you can give about your agent based on the call center monitoring results:
“When it comes to reviewing call analytics, Sarah is always one step ahead. She knows that by looking at the data, she can identify room for improvement and make sure her team is providing the best customer service possible.
Even though she’s been doing this for years, Sarah is still constantly amazed by the insights the data provides. For example, she recently noticed that there was a significant increase in the number of hang-ups on her team’s calls.
After investigating further, she realized this was due to a new automated messaging system that was causing confusion among callers. Thanks to Sarah’s fast response, her team was able to fix the issue and improve their customer service dramatically.”
Be like Sarah.
Data speaks for itself. If you analyze it, you will obtain a clear picture that pinpoints areas needing your attention.
This data can come from a variety of sources, including:
- call recordings (as mentioned before)
- call transcripts
- customer surveys
- interaction analytics
- agent performance reports
Each of these data points can provide valuable insights into your team’s performance. By analyzing them, you can make well-informed decisions about how to improve your call center.
#7 Provide Valuable Feedback on All Levels
Giving feedback to your team isn’t enough on its own – you also need to ensure that it happens at all levels. This includes:
- one-on-one feedback with agents
- group feedback with managers
- feedback from customers
Each of these types of feedback is valuable, and you need to consider them all when making call center decisions.
One-on-one feedback with agents is crucial for two reasons. First, it allows you to give specific, personalized feedback. Second, it gives you a chance to build closer relationships with your agents.
Group feedback with managers from different teams allows you to get input from a variety of people across the organization. This input can be helpful in decision-making, and it also helps to increase team morale.
Feedback from customers allows you to understand their needs and wants. This information can deliver you helpful insights for deep call center monitoring and is critical for ensuring that you are providing the best customer experience possible.
Use well-rounded feedback to make informed decisions about your call center.
Call Center KPIs for Call Center Monitoring
How will you know if your call center monitoring efforts are paying off? The best way is to set goals and measure how you’re progressing. If you don’t know which KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to begin with, here are some starting points:
- First call resolution – the percentage of calls during which customers’ issues get resolved in the first interaction.
- Average abandonment rate – how many of your customers’ calls get abando.
- Average handle time – how long is spent on average per call. Ideally, you want this number as low as possible in order to free up your agents’ time.
- Average speed of answer – how much time it takes for your agents to pick up each call. If you use a reliable call center tool like CloudTalk, this should be an easy one to handle.
- Average time in queue – how long your callers have to wait when they reach your call center instead of speaking to an agent immediately. Naturally, you want this number to be as low as possible.
- Agent turnover rate – the percentage of agents who leave your company over time. You want to keep this value in check and retain your best employees.
How Cloudtalk Can Help With Call Center Monitoring
CloudTalk is a cloud-based call center solution with 70+ features that help your agents do their jobs and keep your customers happy. Our wide selection of tools can make it easier for you to perform call center monitoring, all while helping your agents and not getting in their way. Here are some of the most useful ones in our arsenal.
- Call statistics – giving you the details on each agent and their performance over time. You can easily compare different agents or track their progress over a certain time period.
- Emotion analytics – your agents can rate the emotions of their callers to give you a birds’ eye view of your customers’ perception of your brand.
- Call recording – get access to past phone conversations to find areas for improvement or resolve any disputes that may come up.
- Call monitoring – listen in on your agents’ calls in real time to provide them assistance or monitor their performance – without interrupting the call.
- Real-time dashboards – see who’s on a call at any point in time, which customers they’re serving, how they’re handling it, and even snoop in on calls as they’re happening.
- Wallboard – get a birds’ eye view of all your agents and their performance in real time. Who’s making calls and who’s twiddling their thumbs, at a glance.
The Ideal Call Center Monitoring Formula
The ideal call center monitoring formula can vary depending on the individual company and its specific needs. However, there are some general principles that all companies should keep in mind when setting up their call center monitoring system.
First and foremost, the goal of any call center monitoring system should be to improve customer service outcomes. This means that you should monitor agents for their ability to provide good customer service, and not just for their adherence to scripted procedures or meeting production goals.
Second, call center monitoring should be designed to be as unobtrusive as possible. Agents should not feel like they’re being constantly watched and judged, or that their every mistake is being recorded.
Finally, the process should be flexible and customizable. Investing in call center monitoring requires a system that can be tailored to the specific needs of the company.
To get started, you need a great call center tool. Try out CloudTalk for free and see why it’s the tool of choice for call center managers in various industries and companies around the world. Sign up today for your free trial to get started. No credit card needed!