Top ten tips for implementing a call center quality monitoring solution

By: Richard Marcia

Top ten tips to conducting a successful quality monitoring implementation in a customer service call center:

Call centers traditionally utilize some degree of agent monitoring to identify weaknesses and improve customer service strengths. Preparing for agent reaction to the implementation of automated call recording systems is an important part of the entire process. By no means is this a finalized list – it’s more of a dynamic starting point to a really good white paper. The tips in this list are generated by actual client success stories.

1) Write a clear outline of the reasons behind bringing a call recording system into your call center’s work flow:
o Benefits to agents
o Benefits to customers
o Benefits to company
It’s always good to start with an outline before rolling out something new. It’s like using a recipe before you cook. Not sure if that’s the best comparison, but you get the picture. Your outline is your blueprint for success.

2) Introduce the concept of quality monitoring well in advance and initiate tasks to empower agents to participate in the process
o The purpose of call quality monitoring is NOT to catch employees slacking off, but to help improve customer service and meet overall performance metrics.
o Employees can help define the quality assurance metrics and play a significant role in continuous performance improvement
Always use the word “we” when addressing your employees. Make sure they know that you’re on the same side and that this implementation will benefit everyone in the company – you aren’t trying to catch someone playing solitaire or visiting illicit web sites.

3) Reiterate company customer service goals
o Customers are the ones who actually pay salaries and wages
o It is often much easier to retain customers than get new ones
o Treat all co-workers as customers and good habits will form
This should hardly be done only for purposes of the call monitoring implementation, but should be reiterated often. The most successful companies in the world are the ones with the strongest customer service beliefs, unless of course, you count organized crime.

4) Create a “team” atmosphere for your agents
o Set up a team recognition and rewards program
o Highlight stellar service examples via internal emails and newsletter articles/photos
o Sub-teams should be formed to make task management easier
Is it any wonder why basketball teams full of confident role players (2003-2004 Detroit Pistons) always overachieve while collections of individuals seem to fail (2005-2006 New York Knicks)?

5) Make sure the Telephony and IT sub-teams know their roles and responsibilities in carrying out their end of the plan
o All part of the same larger team along with the agents, managers and supervisors
o Create detailed project plans for each sub-team
If your IT and Telecom teams are uninformed about a new implementation, and they find out about it just as the call recording servers are rolled in to the data center, there may be unforeseen complexities that could have been prevented unnecessary problems.

6) Educate your call center agents on their sub-team’s specific quality improvement goals
o Increase upsells
o Increase saves
o Increase new sales
o Call time to resolution
o Caller time on hold
o Ask them for other ideas
“Our common goals are to increase upsells by 40% over the next two quarters. We believe we can accomplish this by focusing on improving our customer service techniques in the call center.”

7) Include agents in coming up with evaluation criteria and forms
o once the metrics are defined, your agents can help you define evaluation criteria, in essence, creating the forms
Self-evaluation is often one of the most effective building blocks to improvement. More and more companies are asking their employees to perform self-evaluations – and it’s not because managers are lazy.

8) Appoint a few agents to a “system review sub-team” to represent agent feedback on what could be improved with the quality monitoring program.
o System improvements wish list
o Team goal review
o Evaluation criteria review
This would be akin to asking Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera to provide input to Yankees GM Brian Cashman relative to personnel additions, potential team chemistry issues, etc. Their input is invaluable because they are out there everyday in the trenches, just like their call center agent counterparts.

9) Throw a great kick off party
o Announce weekly performance goals and prizes
o At the party, allow your agents to evaluate supervisors’ calls
Every great party needs a contest with fun prizes. Give the best evaluations a cool gift, such as a Starbucks card or Ebay gift certificate.

10) Schedule a benchmarking session with another call center that has been quality monitoring for over a year and seen improvements
o Exchange discoveries, stats, tips
Not only would this be a fun exercise, but watch people relate as they realize common issues in their everyday jobs – and watch them bond as they solve these problems….then watch your company’s customer service goals be accomplished.

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Richard Marcia is the marketing director for Coordinated Systems, Inc., a call center monitoring software system provider that has been building great customer experiences since 1972.

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