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Why Real-Time Monitoring Is So Important in the Contact Center


The Team at CallMiner

December 05, 2013

Happy call center agents at work
Happy call center agents at work

Knowing exactly what is going on in your contact center, what transpires between your customers and agents during the call, and how well your agents adhere to compliance and quality guidelines is critical to long-term success. But knowing what went down during a call AFTER the call has ended doesn’t give contact center managers the ability to intervene or take action while a call is still ongoing. However, with real-time monitoring managers and agents can act, not just react.

What is Real-Time Monitoring?

Real-time monitoring for call centers refers to the tools and software which enables managers to oversee and track agent calls as they are carried out. Real-time call monitoring provides managers with call analytics, dashboards, and alerts and tracks speech patterns and acoustics for things like profane language, escalation attempts, compliance violations, and customer sentiment. Real-time monitoring leverages speech analytics to provide call centers with 100% call coverage. A transcript of every call is automatically generated in real time and call playback is available to managers who can quickly remedy problem situations. For call centers, real time monitoring is a far more effective way to track agent performance than listening to a small sample of agent calls every month to analyze performance and monitor for compliance.

Importance of Real Time Monitoring

Here are 3 reasons why real-time call monitoring is so important in the contact center:

Ensure a Consistent Level of Customer Service.

With real-time call monitoring software in place, managers are immediately alerted to customer service issues as they happen, as opposed to finding after the call has ended. The system will automatically monitor in-progress calls for defined language and acoustic characteristics such as escalation attempts, churn language, profanity, or high emotions and alert managers that a dangerous customer service situation has developed. Because managers can quickly and easily identify customers at risk, they can take proactive steps to resolve the issues and retain those customers. By saving calls while they are still in progress, call resolution can happen promptly and your caller leaves a satisfied customer, as opposed to frustrated and defeated.

Real-time call monitoring, as part of a broader speech analytics system, can even provide agents with next-best-action guidance or advice when certain items of interest occur on the call. For instance, assume an unhappy cable TV customer wants to cancel their subscription. Key phrases like “cancel,” “termination”, or “close account,” trigger the software to direct agents to respond by offering the customer a free package upgrade, a free DVR box, an additional cable box at no extra charge, or some other kind of bonus that will convince the customer to stay.

Reports show that 89% of consumers who experience poor service with your brand will leave for your competition so it’s imperative that customers end their call on a good note.

Pinpoint Which Agents Need More Call Center Training and Who Your Real Super-Stars Are.

Every agent is going to have a different set of skills and weaknesses. What makes one agent great while another struggles? How can you really judge the performance of your agents based on a few randomly collected calls? With speech analytics in place, managers can review 100% of calls as they happen and get a true understanding of which agents excel and which agents needs more help in certain types of interactions. Real-time monitoring provides objective and consistent scoring on every contact and delivers fast, efficient performance feedback to agents during the call, as well as the managers to help improve agent training programs.

With real-time call quality monitoring, calls can be reviewed as they happen, getting a better idea of how agents work on a day-to-day basis, as opposed to simply reviewing a small sample of randomly collected calls.

When combined with post-call call center analytics, managers can compare and contrast agents across a variety of metrics to see who the best is and who needs more one-on-one coaching.

Ensure Compliance.

Agents have critical compliance requirements they must adhere to in every interaction. Compliance monitoring in the contact center is particularly important for collections companies where litigation due to non-compliance is on the rise. Real-time call monitoring systems monitor every call for Mini Miranda language, Right Party Contact language, FDCPA violations, and abusive language from either party, or other risky language. Because this happens in real-time, managers are instantly alerted to compliance violations and they can step in immediately.

Real-time call monitoring enables supervisors to track all calls across all agents and immediately alerts them to call events that may require some form of intervention. With real-time monitoring systems in place, customer service, performance, and compliance issues are no longer able to slip through the cracks.

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Real-Time Monitoring Best Practices

To help you boost call center productivity, we have put together a list of real-time monitoring best practices.

  • Go Beyond the Metrics: Lots of managers become too focused on metrics like average handling time or wrap up time. While those metrics are certainly valuable up to a point, they are somewhat limited and do not give you a clear picture of agent performance. Real-time monitoring lets you get beyond the metrics and gives you insight into things like the type of language top-performing agents are using which is far more valuable than a metric like average handling time.
  • Complete Call Coverage: If you are weighing up real-time monitoring software for your call center, make sure it provides you with 100% call coverage.
  • Hold Retro Meetings: To help share best practices and winning behaviors around the call center you should hold retro meetings and give those top performing agents the opportunity to share the tactics and types of language they use to resolve calls. Call monitoring helps you analyze agent performance, but to really get the most out of your real-time call monitoring software, you should make sure these best practices are being shared with the rest of the organization.
  • Benchmark: Real-time monitoring provides you with hugely valuable internal data, but you should not overlook external industry data and statistics on KPIs like average call abandonment rate, queue time, time to answer, and service level. By measuring the data you collect from your real-time monitoring analytics against industry benchmarks, you can get a realistic idea on the targets you should set for agent performance.
  • Reward Top Performers: Call monitoring helps you stay on top of issues like compliance, escalation attempts, and risky language. However, you should not use real-time monitoring as a tool simply to keep tabs on your agents. If you spend all your time picking apart the negative aspects of agent performance, you will drain your workforce of enthusiasm. While staying on top of compliance violations etc. is obviously an absolutely vital part of the role of manager, it is important not to overlook good behaviors. Try to drum up positivity around the call center by highlighting and rewarding high quality work.
  • Document Your Call Monitoring Policy: If you introduce real-time monitoring software into your call center, you should make sure you update your call monitoring and evaluation documentation. This document should be shared across the organization and agents and team managers must be clear on evaluation areas. Your call monitoring policy should also be part of your new agent training program.

Additional Resources:  To learn more about real-time monitoring, check out the following resources.

Contact Center Operations Customer Experience Executive Intelligence North America EMEA APAC