Investing in the right call center monitoring software is imperative for today’s call centers. Without call center monitoring, quality assurance can suffer, customer satisfaction inevitably wanes, and call center compliance issues can arise. But comparing and purchasing call center monitoring software isn’t as simple as it may seem. There are many variables to consider, and careful evaluation is necessary to find the right software to meet your call center’s unique needs.
What is Call Monitoring Software
Call monitoring is the process of listening in on conversations reps are having. Software which helps you and your supervisory team monitor conversations can help in a number of ways.
- Quality Assurance: The ability to hear multiple conversations as they are happening allows supervisors the ability to find common issues and improve them quickly.
- Training Reps: Listening to conversations of new reps, either during or post training, can dramatically improve performance.
- Employee Correction: Unfortunately, there are times in which certain reps are handling customers poorly. Call monitoring allows supervisors to find and highlight those issues quickly.
Asking the Experts One Question
There are, again, many variables when it comes to choosing call monitoring software. Some come down to common sense and business acumen.
Some of these would include:
- Choosing a reputable company: If it sounds like common sense, it likely is. This includes working and using the tools of businesses you can trust.
- Ensuring your team uses the software: Tools are only as useful as those who are (or aren’t) using them.
- Budgeting considerations: Not just monetary issues, but time savings and effectiveness are things to consider as part of your return on investment.
Although, even with these, there are a number of mistakes which can mean choosing the wrong solution for your particular needs. For this reason, this post focuses exclusively on the potential hazards.
To help you avoid common mistakes in this process, we scoured the web for expert insights and reached out to a panel of call center and QA professionals, asking them to weigh in on this question:
“What’s the number one mistake call centers make when it comes to comparing & purchasing call center monitoring software?”
Meet Our Panel of Call Center Experts:
Keep reading to find out what our pros had to say about the biggest mistakes you could be making when it comes to comparing and purchasing call center monitoring software – and how to avoid them.
Nenad is the co-founder & CEO of CroatiaTech, a future technology development company that focuses on software & website development, machine learning, AI, VR, AR and mechatronics.
“Get a solution that is…”
Able to adapt with the future additions and expansions of your other service bundles. The needs of today aren’t guaranteed to be needs of tomorrow. A company that is pushing to expand their software capabilities will be a good candidate to ensure you futureproof your call center monitoring software. This will cause less headaches and costly changes to your overall environment.
Janeen Ansell is the Operations Manager at TeleDirect, a leader in business process outsourcing (BPO) with a multi-tier menu of solutions for a variety of commerce requirements. She leads a team of highly engaged Team Leaders, Trainers, and Supervisors who share her commitment to exceptional customer service.
“Call centers must keep in mind…”
Any call center monitoring software is only as good as the people who know how to use it. Call centers need to invest in the training required to ensure the software is used to its maximum capacity. Purchasing call center monitoring software is a wise investment and the return on investment is undeniable.
Rob Boirun is the owner and operator of The Reviewster Network which is a review and compare network for categories of similar items. Offering deals, insider news, and reviews on the stuff you are shopping for.
“One common mistake I see from call centers that I have consulted with over the last year is…”
That most did not know about virtual queuing with web callback that are part of most systems today. This is a service that will put callers on a virtual hold and will call them back when it’s their turn. This has proven to be a popular feature based on customer feedback, but many call center softwares don’t offer this as a standard feature. So, this is a great question to ask when comparing call center monitoring software.
Peter Abah is the Head of Customer Support at Hotels.ng. He is an Information technology enthusiast and petroleum engineer by discipline from Nigeria with a desire to make it work. Peter currently works at Hotels.ng as the head of customer support and resides Lagos, Nigeria.
“The number one mistake call centers make when comparing and purchasing call center monitoring software is…”
Not looking out for detailed reports on the software and online database storage. What I mean by this is that you want to be able to see reports of every action carried out in your call center within the software so that you can analyze necessary and important information.
This information (incoming calls number, number of incoming calls, outgoing call numbers, number of outgoing calls, number of agents, etc.) must be stored online where it is easily accessible, downloaded, and restored if necessary. The downside to not doing this is that it becomes much harder to historically analyze how your agents have performed, especially when you are testing new models or setting up a new office. Plus, your on-site data could be stolen which has happened to me in the past.
Michael Replogle is a tenured call center operations and outsourcing executive at CustomerServ with over 30 years of experience. CustomerServ helps companies find, select, and retain the right call center and BPO outsourcing vendors, at no-fee.
“Simply put, the number one mistake call centers make when it comes to comparing and purchasing call center monitoring software is…”
Failing to take the necessary time to involve input from all areas when developing the business requirement documentation for the software.
Mark Rapley is the Director of Operations at KWIC Internet.
“If you have a privacy concern…”
You need to make sure the company or service provider you’re buying from has a good track record of security and integrity. By using their software or service, you are effectively involving them in whatever matters you wish to monitor, so it’s important to know that your provider is trustworthy.
Jonathon Moody is the President, COO and co-founder of Versature. Jonathon is a key contributor to Versature’s success and growth from zero to over 7000 subscribers and MSP partners from coast to coast. Jonathon is a sought-after public speaker and regularly speaks about customer success, customer-centric user experiences and cloud technologies throughout North America.
“The number one mistake is…”
They compare to what they have instead of business goals. This applies to simple items like the reports and UIs but goes as deep as the functionality, voice, software, etc.
When looking at new infrastructure they need to look at how the changes in the marketplace can improve the way they run their business and improve the employee and customer experience – not simply replicate/improve what they have.
Burn Blackwell is the President & CEO of Terminix Triad. His journey with Terminix began as a summer job in 1996, and ultimately became a full-time career in 2001. He is a proud 4th-generation owner and operator of the Blackwell family in Terminix Triad. Burns has a passion for helping customers and is born and raised in Greensboro, NC.
“One of the most common reasons companies utilize call monitoring software is…”
No doubt for training purposes – to be able to listen to calls and find insight as to ways to improve their processes. But one major mistake that companies make is not using it for tracking purposes. And the same can be said vice versa — those companies who use call tracking numbers and software to track performance often forget they can actually listen to calls and use it as a way to get better. For training purposes, it’s really great to be able to listen to your team in action and discover opportunities for improvement.
A few years ago, when we were making our transition to call tracking, a big thing we looked for when comparing software was the ability to integrate directly with Google Analytics. The best way to track any online marketing is through Google Analytics, so it’s imperative for your call monitoring software to be able to integrate directly with it. It makes it a lot easier to automate your tracking, while getting a good idea of what’s performing vs. what’s not.
Gregory Golinski is a digital marketing executive for YourParkingSpace, a platform connecting drivers with parking space owners.
“The biggest mistake a call center can make is…”
To buy a mediocre call monitoring software just because it’s cheap, instead of making sure they’re buying a quality product. You may save money on the short term, but you’ll also lose customers on the long term if the software crashes all the time, the phones are down, or your agents don’t have the features they need to do a good job.
Lauren Stafford is a Digital Publishing Specialist at Discover CRM.
“When purchasing a call monitoring solution…”
Call centers can forget about the importance of implementing a system that integrates well with their current CRM solution. When call tracking software and a CRM merge, the sales team will have access to live customer insights which will allow them to follow up on leads quickly and efficiently. But in many cases, integration is flimsy at best because the product – while claiming to integrate fully – requires hours of additional support, e.g. manual data uploads or advice from a consultant. Before committing to a call monitoring solution, managers leading the selection project should establish what level of integration will be required and factor this into their decision.
Mihai Corbuleac is a Senior IT Consultant at ComputerSupport.com LLC, an IT support company providing professional IT support and cloud services to businesses across the United States since 2006.
“There are several mistakes that call centers make when purchasing a call monitoring software, but the number one mistake, based on experience and clients’ reviews is…”
Choosing a very complex system that also tends to be expensive especially when your business’s needs can be fulfilled with much less. A complicated piece of software is not always the best solution. Make sure you know exactly what your call center needs. You don’t have to pay for SMS support if it is too pricey or if you don’t need it. Try to be as efficient as possible. The second mistake call centers make when buying call monitoring software is falling victim to heavy pressure tactics from sales staff.
Stacy Caprio is the founder of Accelerated Growth Marketing.
“The number one mistake call centers make when comparing and purchasing call monitoring software is…”
Not considering the needs of all departments if they differ slightly. For example, my company has a Sales and Customer Service Department, and a Collections department, and we purchased a call monitoring software based on the needs of collections, but it is missing some functionality such as the ability to tag calls with specific notes that is important to Sales.
Craig Borowski is a Content Analyst at Software Advice, covering changing trends in the SMB market, with a focus on CRM, customer service and digital (and offline) customer experience strategy. He graduated from Colby College in 1997, moving then to Taipei, Taiwan to begin a career in journalism, publishing and translation. He has held senior positions as editor and columnist of a bilingual edition of TIME magazine, authored a dozen books and served as a Chinese-to-English translator for clients including the Taipei Times, The China Post, Acer Inc. and the Office of the Mayor of Taipei. Craig joined Software Advice in 2013 after two years as CMO and service strategist for the U.S. branch of a German consumer products manufacturer.
NOTE: The following information is excerpted from Call Monitoring Software: Buyer’s Guide via SoftwareAdvice.com.
“If you manage a call center and are looking for a solution to monitor, whisper and barge on calls, you may find some confusing results when searching online…”
The problem is that the term “call monitoring” can sometimes refer to other types of systems and applications. Here are the types of systems that may show up during your search and how they are different:
- Call monitoring refers to the functionality explained above: monitoring, whispering and barging on calls.
- Quality monitoring*refers to software that helps measure the performance of agents, on criteria such as accuracy, professionalism and effectiveness, and quantitative key performance indicators (KPIs). Some of these systems employ speech analytics to determine what is being said and the overall tone of the call.
- Call quality monitoring*refers to software that analyzes the actual audio quality of a phone call. This helps companies address issues with echo, choppiness and delay on a phone connection.
*These are typically full systems or modules, instead of features within a larger system.
Unfortunately, marketing tactics have caused these terms to be used interchangeably. Be sure to check the features offered with each solution to determine which product you truly need.
Gleb B. is a copywriter for RubyGarage.
NOTE: The following information is excerpted from What Software Do You Need to Set Up an Efficient Call Center? via RubyGarage.
“No business can be successful without reporting and analytics. Call center software should provide you with…”
Detailed performance-related information so that you can check whether your call center is functioning properly and your agents are doing their jobs well. Without monitoring and reporting, customer support can become completely inefficient. What features should your call center software have to keep you informed about the center’s performance?
- Call monitoring allows you to discreetly listen to both inbound and outbound calls. This helps you check how well your call center agents are doing.
- Performance monitoring provides you with overall performance analytics such as call load and number of missed calls.
- Agent ranking lets you gauge the performance of each call center agent. For example, it’s important to know the speed of answering calls as well as the average duration of conversations with clients.
Feedback monitoring helps you easily receive feedback on the performance of your call center so that you know whether callers are satisfied.
Gene Reynolds is the Global Channel/Alliance Sales Director at Blackchair.
NOTE: The following information is excerpted from 30 Tips to Improve Your Call Quality Monitoring via Call Centre Helper.
“I am amazed at the number of companies who purchase call recording solutions in order to remain ‘compliant’ with security or FSA regulations that do not have a structured call quality monitoring policy in place…”
It’s always one of those “we’ll get to it sometime” things that might not show itself as important, or possibly there are other larger fires to fight in your business. Others may baulk at the inordinate amount of time or effort to manage the process as well.
If you want to see an uplift in the overall customer experience, a well-thought-out quality management procedure can work wonders. It gives your agents something to strive for.
Also, it gives you insight into the core traits and skills that your agents need to interact with your customers, and the customers themselves will also have a more positive experience when doing business with you, giving your business that competitive advantage.
Scott Sachs is president of SJS Solutions, a consultancy that specializes in the development and deployment of contact center technology. He has more than 25 years of experience in leading and growing multi-site contact centers in different industries. Prior to SJS Solutions, he held senior management positions at Assurant Solutions and Comcast Cellular Communications.
NOTE: The following information is excerpted from Eight must-have call center systems for customer service via SearchCRM.
“Quality management software, including call recording and call monitoring tools, provide a way to manage, track and report quality metrics…”
Call recording software provides the ability to record either a sample or 100% of customer interaction with a call center. These recordings provide an audit trail of all interactions between customers and agents that can be utilized as part of a quality monitoring/feedback program or as a call center tool to review historical customer interactions.
Call monitoring software provides the ability to review recorded calls, complete preloaded forms and provide performance feedback to agents, along with key reports and metrics. Analyzing recorded calls provides a much more efficient process than waiting for and listening to live calls.
Alison Diana is a contributor to CRMSearch.com.
NOTE: The following information is excerpted from What To Know When Buying Call Center Software via CRMSearch.com.
“Like any software technology selection or implementation project, there are steps to take – and avoid – when it comes to selecting and buying the most appropriate call center software for your business…”
An investment of up-front time is much more likely to result in strong financial and operational returns on your limited call center budget. After all, a call center often is the primary way in which customers and prospects communicate with your business: It should, therefore, reflect well on your organization.
Whether a call center focuses on inbound calls or outbound calls, it must handle a large volume of calls and other communication methods simultaneously. Respondents must be able to forward customer inquiries to the appropriate customer service representative or quickly escalate a phone call depending on its nature. No matter if a contact center is taking catalog orders or responding to bank customers’ rate inquiries, callers want fast and accurate responses that result in the desired outcome, be it a successfully completed purchase or update on a credit application.
Depending on your organization’s needs, a contact center may include a portfolio of productivity systems such as speech recognition software, interactive voice response (IVR), predictive dialing, call recording and monitoring, customer relationship management software, customer analytics and workforce management. But no matter how your contact center is configured, there are a number of vital considerations to take when purchasing call center software.
TechnologyAdvice is dedicated to educating, advising, and connecting buyers and sellers of business technology.
NOTE: The following information is excerpted from Buyer’s Guide: Call Center Software Solutions via TechnologyAdvice.
“As market competition heightens and product offerings proliferate and converge, businesses in almost every industry are being pressured to leverage customer service as a positive differentiator…”
You could get the same product for a similar price from providers A and B, but Provider B has a higher customer satisfaction rating, so you choose Provider B.
A lot of this differentiation happens in the call center — accomplished by teams of well-trained agents using sensible workflows, effective software, and a reliable communications infrastructure. Over 60 percent of customer service managers rank customer satisfaction as the most important metric for measuring call center success, followed by first-call resolution, average handle time, and wait time.1 Success in these areas requires more than a cheerful disposition; it requires efficiency and precision, the ability to meet performance standards day after day in spite of high call volumes and a stressful work environment; yet, call centers are notorious for failing at these metrics and, consequently, disappointing customers. In some industries, such as telecommunications, public sector, or utilities, the very phrase “call center” is synonymous with “bad experience.” This can damage your customer relationships and, if left untended, could damage your bottom line.
It’s crucial for call centers to balance accurate problem-solving with efficiency and speed. Even speed itself can be a powerful force in customer service. According to a global survey by LivePerson, 82 percent of consumers say getting “issues resolved quickly” is the number one factor that makes a great customer service experience.2 At a scale of thousands of inbound and outbound calls per day, there’s no way to accomplish this without effective software and automation tools.
Scorebuddy is a cloud-based quality monitoring tool for scoring and evaluating staff for customer service in the call center.
NOTE: The following information is excerpted from 14 Product Feature Questions to Ask when Selecting a Contact Centre QA Tool via Scorebuddy.
“Despite what you might assume, most contact centre QA tools are not multichannel…”
Most are built for quality monitoring calls only and when a user needs to monitor other customer service channels such as email, live chat and social media they are forced to use a different tool meaning there is no comparison across channels.
LeadDesk is cloud-based software that integrates sales organizing, dialer/operator services and lead intelligence into a great service. LeadDesk improves call quality, increases sales, cuts costs and helps sales organizations grow their business.
NOTE: The following information is excerpted from 8 Ways to Improve Call Center Quality Assurance via Lead Desk.
“Firstly, it is about preventing mistakes. Secondly, it is about continually improving standards…”
This improves the effectiveness of the work, increases customer satisfaction and helps bring in more business.
Thirdly, there may be legal requirement. For many call centers quality assurance also means archiving voice receipts as proof of transaction. Often, this has an added complication: the call needs to be recorded but e.g. credit card data cannot be recorded.
For managers, call center quality assurance is a way to identify trends in the quality of service. With the right QA process you can then make better decisions about remediation, such as making changes to training, coaching, re-skilling, recruitment, software etc.
Formalize your QA process. Consider external help or appoint an internal tribal leader of QA. Use your software to automate QA processes, like call recording and performance alerts.
Plan to capture enough samples of calls, interactions, and different agents, so that you can make meaningful decisions. Include qualitative and quantitative data. The latter includes agents’ self-analysis scorecards.
For some call centers it’s essential to keep call recordings that adhere to local regulations and do not include the transaction part of a call.
Another element of compliant call recording is secure data storage. Different local regulations apply, for example, some countries require data to be stored on local servers.
What are your biggest buying considerations when it comes to purchasing call center monitoring software?