Call-Center FAQ: Automated Quality Monitoring

Updated: April 30, 2009

How can automated quality monitoring help my business? The technology offers several benefits, including enhanced customer service , more sales, fewer mistakes, improved government compliance and a more polished public image.

Why is automated monitoring better than manual monitoring? Automated solutions are less labor-intensive and offer more meaningful insight. They also cost less to run over time and generate more detailed records. That's why the technology is being embraced by a growing number of call centers . In a December 2007 report, DMG Consulting LLC estimated that sales of quality-monitoring and related solutions would total $2.3 billion in 2007, a 10 percent increase over 2006.

What should I look for in a solution? Compatibility with your company's existing call-center technology is critical, of course. It's also important to consider suites versus stand-alone solutions, pricing and delivery model — on-premise or SaaS (software as a service). Other points to ponder include security features, administration tools, recording/logging functions, retrieval/storage capabilities, the quality-monitoring environment, screen-capture support and reporting functions.

My call center has only 25 agents. Is automated quality monitoring a worthwhile investment for smaller call centers? According to quality-monitoring solution vendor Co-nexus Communications Systems, 90 percent of very large call centers use automated call monitoring, while only about 25 percent of small facilities (those with less than 30 agents) have embraced the technology. This is unfortunate, since small call centers have the same desire to improve call quality as their larger counterparts, yet they must tackle the task with fewer internal resources. This dilemma reinforces the case for automated quality monitoring in the small call center.

What's the best way to introduce automated quality monitoring to my agents? Be up front about the technology, and don't try sneaking it in (the agents will eventually figure out what you're doing anyway). Ask your agents for suggestions on achieving customer service and other goals. Be sure to recognize useful ideas with gift certificates and other rewards.

How do I counter agents' claims that the technology is designed to spy on them? Tell them the truth: that the technology's aim is to improve service, not punish agents. To back up your claim, show them how the technology will improve customer service and lead to enhanced interaction between agents and callers.

What percentage of calls should be monitored? Opinions vary, but most call centers seem to eventually settle on monitoring about 5 to 10 percent of calls. Call centers experiencing widespread or pernicious quality problems, however, may opt to up the percentage of calls monitored until the problem is resolved.

Which vendors offer automated quality-monitoring solutions? A variety of vendors offer solutions. Some of the companies to choose from include Autonomy , CallCopy Inc ., Envision Telephony Inc ., Interactive Intelligence , Knoahsoft , NICE Systems Ltd ., OnviSource Inc ., Telrex , Verint Systems Inc ., VirtualLogger LLC and Voice Print International Inc ..

What's the biggest mistake that call centers make when using automated quality monitoring? There are many ways to misuse an automated quality-monitoring solution, but perhaps the most grievous error is too expect too much from the technology. Seeking perfection is an impossible and wasteful task, so be satisfied with incremental improvements in key areas. Despite careful monitoring, agents will continue to make mistakes, and customers will still be annoyed — only to a much lesser extent than in the past.

How can I learn if the technology is living up to its potential? Don't expect immediate benefits. Supervisors need to learn how to use the technology to its full potential, particularly how to use the solution to pinpoint and fix specific problems. Analyze performance benchmarks periodically — at three-month intervals, for example — to see what impact the technology is having on various call-center activities.

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