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Tips for More Effective Call Center Workforce Management

This blog provides practical information on all aspects of workforce management for contact centers, including quality monitoring, call recording, performance management and analytics

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Call Center Workforce Management Blog

Call Recording Software for Contact Centers – What's Important?

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“Your call may be monitored for quality assurance.” This recording message, or one similar to it, is now an integral part of everyday business operations, as companies use call recording solutions to improve customer relations and employee performance.

But in contact centers, where telephone conversations with customers are not just a segment of business relations but a primary function, a more advanced and sophisticated type of call recording software is essential. These systems are designed to meet specific requirements regarding scalability, metrics, security and compliance with government and industry guidelines on call recording. 

The total number of calls over a day, week, month or year must be reviewed and analyzed for patterns that can improve customer loyalty and satisfaction. The performance of every call center employee must be evaluated primarily on how each call is handled. With this data, specific recommendations on employee performance can be made, call length can be shortened, and overall efficiency and quality is enhanced.

Of course, any tool, including contact center call recording software, is only as good as the management and agents at the center, and how they choose to interact with the system. 

So “what’s important?” Here are three answers that will help you get the most from a call monitoring system.

1. Follow-through: you’ve got the information, now use it. Decide what goes into a positive call, then use the recordings to bring each call up to that level through employee training or changes in business policy. Once you have a plan in place, don’t hesitate on implementation. 

2. Don’t fight it: some call centers only install call recording software to meet industry compliance requirements. The system should not be perceived as an obligation, but an opportunity for improvement. The right outlook does make a difference.

3. Open access: Call recording is not just a tool for management. If access to the system is granted to call center agents, they can access their own calls, critique their own performance and find ways to improve. Self-maintenance also frees managers to address other issues and also improves overall motivation. 


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Five Call Center Strategies for Effective Use of Call Recording Software

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There are numerous advantages inherent in the use of call center recording software. For human resource issues, training and customer dispute resolution, it is obviously better to have the resource of recorded calls than to rely on a written record or memory.

However, many call centers do not maximize the positive impact that call recording software can have on their business. Here are five simple strategies for utilizing the capabilities this technology provides.

1. Don’t neglect the little things
The inclination is to focus on the big picture – average call times, satisfactory outcomes, training personnel on proper procedures – but don’t overlook the more incidental aspects of customer interaction, such as the initial greeting and the way a call ends. You may have scripted copy for these situations but personnel may drift away from the script, and this is an opportunity to restore consistency across the call center.

2. Optimal feedback delivery
Once you have collected reports on call center performance, what is the best way to share that information with personnel? Some managers prefer one-on-one conferences with each employee, while others address the call center team in small groups or perhaps all at once. Based on the general work environment and the personalities of your employees, choose the method that has the best chance to bring positive results.

3. Frequent follow-ups
Once feedback is delivered, don’t let the matter drop. While you never want to manage over the shoulder of call center employees, it’s important to make sure that suggestions made on performance improvement have been correctly understood, and are being incorporated into their daily routine. Don’t wait too long.

4. Reward achievement
Call center recording data should not be used only to correct problems; it should also be employed to reward outstanding team members who are diligent in their performance and most positively reflect the call center’s best practices. Whether this reward is a simple acknowledgment (“employee of the month”) or is accompanied by a prize (dinner for two at a local restaurant, a gift card at a nearby retailer), these distinctions encourage continued outstanding performance.

5. Get outside help
In a small call center, where management and employees may be friends as well as professional colleagues, it may be more difficult to provide the kind of clear-eyed guidance needed to get the most from call center operators – or to dismiss those who cannot follow procedure. In a case like this, hiring an independent call monitoring consultant can result in more objective data analysis and recommendations for improvement. 
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Call Center Software for a Better Customer Experience

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The call center publication TMCnet is featuring an interview with the CEO of Monet Software as part of its launch of a new magazine called "Customer", which launches in September. The interview addresses topics such as:

  • How to improve the customer experience and customer interactions
  • Key developments in customer interactions over the last few years
  • Impact of CRM on the customer experience
  • Impact of workforce management, call recording, quality management and call center metrics on the customer experience
  • Impact of cloud-computing on the delivery of software

You can read the whole interview called "Monet Software Paints a Picture of the New Customer Experience" on TMCnet's website.


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Call center workforce optimization - what is it and why is it important?

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Many call center managers are still challenged with having the right number of agents with the right skills, ensuring that calls are handled in compliance with regulations and policies, while also delivering great customer service based on quality standards.Call Center Workforce Optimization (WFO) solution suites for call centers help automate workforce management, call recording, quality assurance and agent analytics in one integrated package. Call centers can quickly and easily optimize all aspects of their workforce with one solution, resulting in better utilization of resources, better cost management and improved service levels. Typically, WFO consists of the following modules: 

  • Workforce Management
  • Call Recording
  • Quality Management
  • Performance Management and Agent Analytics

With a unified WFO solution, call centers can connect all aspects of scheduling, skills, quality, metrics and compliance to better meet customer needs and deliver more effective customer service. Managers and supervisors can easily identify patterns and analyze metrics at various levels for training and quality assurance purposes and establish quality standards and best practices. In addition, they can combine quantitative and qualitative information for a complete assessment of contact center performance. For example, if they notice a potential issue, they can easily drill down across functions to get to the root cause and develop tailored training and coaching programs to address it. Only an integrated WFO suite allows you to “connect the dots” and get the whole picture to quickly improve call center performance.

If you are interested in learning more, please watch the workforce optimization videos on our website.


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Top 5 Call Recording Software Articles for first Half of 2012

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We have seen a lot of interest in our new blog about Call Recording and Quality Management for call centers over the last 6 months. In case you missed some of the articles, we have created a top 5 list for you:

  1. Seven Tips for Effective Call Center Quality Assurance
  2. What is PCI Compliant Call Recording
  3. How to evaluate Call Recording Software Solutions
  4. Call Recording Software Selection Guide: 10 Questions to Ask
  5. Five Reasons to add Call Recording Software to your Contact Center

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Call Center Quality Management Strategies

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Call Center quality management typically includes the following activities and tools: Call recording, playback and assessment, quality monitoring, call quality scoring, evaluation questionnaires and detailed reporting. The following outlines a few call center quality management strategies and practices to consider:

Automate agent evaluation and spend more time on coaching and training Monitor your customer interactions and use data intelligence to make better decisions on service delivery and quality. Establish call evaluation standards that focus on agent behaviors and activities, allowing managers to identify positive agent activities as well as specific areas needing improvement. Reviews calls together with the agent and discuss actual examples from the call to illustrate key learning points. Enable agents to self-monitor and evaluate their own performance.

Use evaluation questionnaires for deeper insights into customer interactions
Enhance and verify your insights from quality monitoring with customer evaluation questionnaires. Assess calls based on the perspective of customers and discover trends, opportunities and issues that might lead to longer calls, repeat calls, or other problems that impact service quality and productivity. 

Leverage automated screen capturing for liability protection, compliance & quality assurance
Capture and securely store video and audio transactions to minimize risk & liability, ensure compliance, and control costs from sales, service, claims, collections and other business disputes. 

Measure results over time and across multiple agents Identify patterns and analyze metrics at various levels for training and quality assurance purposes and establish quality standards and best practices. In addition, try to combine quantitative and qualitative information from various sources (call recording, quality management, scheduling, adherence and performance management) for a complete assessment of contact center performance.


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Top 5 call center forecasting & scheduling articles for first half of 2012

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We have seen tremendous interest in our Call Center Workforce Management blog over the last 6 months. We just compiled a list of our top blog posts based on page views. We also noticed that there was a lot of interest in "schedule adherence". This still seems to be one of the key challenges for call centers. Here is the top 5 list in case you missed some of the articles:

  1. What is schedule adherence and why is it important for a call center?
  2. Call forecasting and call center scheduling spreadsheets? A few considerations.
  3. Contact Center scheduling and call forecasting overview
  4. Important call center metrics: Service Level
  5. Workforce Management: How to move from "reactive" to "pro-active" call center performance management

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Improving Compliance with Call Recording Software

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The practice of call center call recording is regulated by a number of organizations to encourage best practices and reduce instances of data breach. Different call centers may fall under the auspices of different agencies and regulations. To improve compliance with call recording software, these are some of the guidelines to understand.

PCI
Version 2.0 of PCI DSS went into effect on January 1, 2011. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) addresses telephone credit card transactions. The PCI DSS requires file encryption, secure storage and the deletion of certain information, such as the credit card security code. Data considered non-sensitive, and thus safe to archive, includes call date/time, customer ID, agent ID, sale or collection amount and hold time.

HIPAA
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) includes regulations and restrictions on patient records to protect privacy. While conversations between patients and healthcare providers can be recorded, they must also be protected. There is also a training requirement to HIPAA that is made easier by the use of call recording software. Saved calls can be used to train staff on the accepted practices at a call facility.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act
The purpose of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is to compel businesses to maintain complete electronic records of all business processes and transactions. Call recording software captures and stores all phone calls to insure compliance with this accounting reform bill, and expedites the discovery and auditing process should an issue arise.

FIPS
Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) apply to US government agencies and supporting contractors. Requirements here are very specific, and demand a high level of security and encryption to protect sensitive information in computer and telecommunication systems. If there is a government component to your call center call recording system, make certain it performs at the required security level.

For more detailed information and the latest updates and changes to the respective laws and regulations, please consult the official sources and publications.



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Call center schedule tips

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We have created a list of seven practical tips for call center scheduling to not only keep your call center running efficiently, but also maintain high service levels, and keep costs under control. We would like to share these tips with you and hope it proves to be useful in your daily call center operations.

You can download the whitepaper by clicking this link 7 Tips for more effective call center scheduling. If you are also interested in schedule adherence, you can also download our whitepaper with the topic: Practical strategies for improving call center schedule adherence.


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Using Call Recording for Call Center Quality Management

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Call recording can play an integral role in a call center’s quality management strategy. For most businesses, the main components of quality management are quality control, quality assurance and quality improvement. With call center call recording, each of these goals can be better achieved. 

Quality Control
The objective here is to maintain a service standard for your customers. What better way to do this than by using call recording software to analyze customer interaction? Call recording can be used to monitor individual calls, and to determine patterns over a period of time that illuminate what the call center is doing right, and where there might be room for improvement. 

Quality Assurance
Consistency is the objective here, but it can be a challenge as each interaction between a call center agent and customer is a new opportunity for success or failure. With the data generated by call monitoring software, managers are able to review any changes that are not beneficial, and help to assure that every customer encounter is a positive one. 

Quality Improvement
There are two ways to improve call center performance – through an upgrade in technology, and through an upgrade in employee performance. Call recording software utilizes real-time reports on performance metrics. By reviewing the records and reports compiled by call center call recording software, a manager can increase the effectiveness of his training and reduce supervision time. 

Likewise, personnel performance can also be improved with coaching and training, which is made easier by reviewing customer-agent interaction through recorded calls. 


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How call recording software works - video demonstration

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We just launched a new demo video of our cloud-based call recording software. Please take a moment and watch the short demo video if you are interested in learning more about call recording and seeing it in action. This is a list of the functionality and capabilities that will be covered:

  • On-Demand Recording
  • Live Monitoring
  • Search and Retrieval
  • Call Playback
  • Selective Recording
  • Look-Back Call Recording
  • Multi-Site Call Recording
  • Call Tagging/Exporting
  • Audit Trail
  • PCI Compliant
  • Secure Access
  • Auto-delete
  • File Management/archiving
  • Metrics and Reporting
  • Administration and Management

If you are in the process of selecting call monitoring software, please also read our post about call recording software evaluation. It provides some guidelines on what to look for regarding implementation, functionality and cost.


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Seven Tips for Effective Call Recording

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All call recording solutions are not created equal, and due diligence should be performed before adding call recording software, or changing call monitoring systems. For more effective call recording, here are seven tips covering important areas of consideration before, during and after software implementation. 

1.  All or Nothing
Call recording software must meet the demands of your business. Some systems just record select calls. But to get a true picture of how the call center is performing, it is vital to record every call, and use the software to analyze the data for patterns (call wait time, content, issue resolution, etc.). Full-time recording capability was traditionally available only in the nation’s largest call centers, but costs have become more reasonable in recent years. 

2. Get What You Need the First Time
Technology upgrades are beneficial. Repeatedly upgrading the same technology to keep up with your call center’s needs is not. Call recording software should have the flexibility to grow with your business. Review all features listings and compare them with the features most important to your call center. 

3. Ease Transition Issues
The sooner a call center begins to benefit from call recording software, the sooner it will justify the technology investment. Choose a call center recording system that eases the transition from any previous technology, allows for easy customization as needed, and generates reports that provide the necessary data in a clear and concise manner. There will also be a transition effort involving call center staff. Make them a part of the process beyond the initial briefing and training stage, and help them to realize that the goal is not to look over their shoulder, but to improve everyone’s performance and protect the call center from liability. 

4. Resolve Legal Issues
First, make sure all callers understand that their call may be recorded. And choose call recording software that complies with PCI regulations and other industry-specific laws that govern telephone communication. 

5. Find What You Need Quickly
The data stored on call monitoring software won’t be as useful if it takes forever to find it. Effective call recording also means effective call retrieval from the server to the system, from any location. Deleting calls and adding comments to records should also be an efficient process. 

6. Security is Not An Option
Call monitoring introduces a number of internal and external security issues. Effective call recording should always be safe, and implemented with the proper restrictions regarding employee access. Make sure data collected is secure, encrypted if necessary and protected from hackers and other threats. 

7. Take Action
Call recording software will provide an abundance of data on the day-to-day operations of a call center. But while this data can illuminate areas of concern, it cannot correct them. If an issue is discovered, don’t let it persist for weeks or even days – take whatever action is necessary, whether that’s speaking to agents or initiating a change in corporate procedure.

For more information about this topic or a demo about call recording software please visit our website. 


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Call center schedule adherence best practices summary

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One of the most challenging jobs related to managing any call center, is ensuring there is the right number of staff with the right skills available at the right times of the day. Over the last 12 months we haven written a few articles about schedule adherence and received a lot of interest about this topic. Therefore, we thought it would be a good idea to create a summary of the top articles about schedule adherence:

We hope you find these articles useful, and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about call center scheduling, forecasting or adherence.


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Call Recording and Monitoring Software: The Three Top Benefits

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We have described the numerous benefits of call center call recording software in previous blogs and throughout the content of our website. But for those who prefer reading the executive summary to the full report, here, in brief, are the three most significant benefits provided by call recording software. 

1. Training
There is no better way to help call center agents review their job performance and improve customer interaction than analyzing recorded calls. While a manager could certainly monitor an agent’s performance in person, there’s no way of knowing whether those customer interactions are conducted the same way when no one else is looking. Each recorded call is an opportunity to discuss what was done right, and what could be improved upon. 

2. Liability Protection
When a dispute arises, having a recording of every phone call provides specific information on what was said by each party, severely reducing the likelihood of false claims or misunderstandings.

3. Boost the Bottom Line
Improving efficiency is important – and so is improving profits. Call recording software can do both. The reports generated by a call monitoring system review such vital metrics as average revenue per call, which can be analyzed by managers and agents for ideas on how to increase that average. Customer service issues can be acknowledged and addressed more quickly, thus reducing any business loss from unhappy encounters. Likewise, improvements in customer interaction procedures can also be rapidly instituted to maximize benefits.

For more information, please watch a short video of our call recording software on our website. 


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Workforce management and optimization in the cloud

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The Cloud-based model for workforce management software uses a new multi-tenant and scalable architecture that was designed to efficiently and securely deliver web-based applications at the lowest possible cost. It focuses on fast set up, low operating costs through shared services, high security for web-based deployment and high performance and scalability through instant and seamless scaling of computer resources (also called "elastic cloud computing").  

  • Lower operating costs: With the Cloud provider managing the IT infrastructure, costs are lowered by securely sharing IT infrastructure and resources, avoiding "hidden costs" for hardware replacements, upgrades, and IT operation resources that are typical for premise-based software.
  • Ease of use: The new web-based user interface of Cloud-computing solutions focus strongly on usability, ensuring an easy to use software. This helps to drive fast user adoption within your organization.

For more information, please download our cloud-based workforce management whitepaper.


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5 Reasons to Add Quality Management to Your Call Center

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Quality in a call center relies upon a number of factors, all of which can be monitored, reviewed and improved based on performance. The objectives of increased efficiency and outstanding customer service are achieved not just through efforts that improve individual agent performance, but also the overall operation of the entire business. The analytics capabilities of call center quality management solutions address both of these areas of concern. 

Here are 5 reasons why quality management results in a quality call center. 

1. In-depth Analysis
Reviewing individual calls is important; recognizing patterns across the customer interaction spectrum, as well as the performance indicators that set the standard for the entire business, is crucial to short- and long-term success. A quality management solution measures these indicators, so it’s easy to see where goals are being met, and where improvement is needed. 

2. Root Cause Analysis
Identifying an issue is the first step to addressing it. The next is to determine why the issue exists. Call center quality management uncovers the causes of problems so they can be resolved more quickly. 

3. Consistent Reporting
People are not machines, and cannot be expected to perform the exact same way every day, every month, every year. Call center quality monitoring provides real-time reports on a regular schedule, so managers receive consistent measurement on any changes that occur, and relevant data that will help evaluate the situation and take action if needed. 

4. Coaching and Training
The metrics created by a quality management solution provide a basis for the training of agents and supervisors. There’s no faster way to improve service delivery and quality. 

5. Improve Customer Loyalty
When a customer has a quality call center experience, he or she is more likely to remain a customer. However, one negative experience can end a professional relationship. A quality management solution plays a key role in addressing and solving agent issues, so that negative experiences are reduced or, ideally, eliminated.


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7 Tips for Effective Call Center Quality Assurance

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Call center quality assurance can pay significant dividends in enhancing customer service, and exposing and correcting weaknesses before they result in loss of business. There are a number of solutions available, but how should you choose the one that’s right for you? And once the solution has been implemented, what should be done next? Here are 7 tips for effective call center quality assurance. 

1. List Your Objectives
What do you hope to achieve from quality assurance? Overall call center quality improvement? Better training? Cutting down the time per call? Make a list of objectives and find the call center quality assurance solution that best addresses them. 

2. Ease of Transition
There’s a learning curve with any new technology, but some are more user-friendly than others. Choose a quality assurance solution that can be integrated with your current technology and implemented quickly.

3. Cost
Sometimes the highest priced system won’t be the one that best fits your needs. However, most call centers these days would certainly benefit from a solution that does not require a large upfront investment. 

4. Maximize the System’s Potential
Most companies access only a fraction of the capabilities that technology affords. Quality assurance can touch upon every facet of a call center’s daily operations and should be fully integrated into the day-to-day operations of the company. From training and coaching to evaluation metrics that measure trends, opportunities and issues, leverage every applicable tool for maximum contact center quality. 

5. Emphasize Teamwork
Do not allow a quality assurance solution to be perceived as a means to “check up on” agents and employees to make sure they are doing their jobs right. Make sure that every employee knows that they are a significant part of the quality improvement process, and their best performance benefits them as well as the company. While a teamwork environment is important, individual achievement should also be recognized, whether it is through a bonus, a mention in a newsletter, or a special award. 

6. Show, Don’t Tell
If a manager stresses courtesy to call center agents, then treats them rudely, the message can be lost. Let employees know that their work is valued, even when correction is necessary for quality assurance purposes. It is much easier to convert an average employee into an outstanding achiever, than to replace that employee and start over. 

7. Encourage Self-Evaluation
The recording capabilities of quality assurance solutions allow agents to analyze their own performances, and adjust habits accordingly. Such self-evaluation should be encouraged, as it not only allows every agent to improve without supervision, it frees up managers to address other issues. 

If you would like to learn more, please read our new whitepaper 7 Strategies for more Effective Quality Assurance in your Call Center. The paper provides some guidance on how to develop a strategic approach to contact center quality assurance.


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Call center recording software tips and resources - part 2

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This is part two of our series "call center recording tips and resources" with strategies, practical tips, and best practices on how to use call recording effectively and efficiently in our call center. In this post we will talk about evaluation and selection criteria when shopping for call center recording software:

If you have any other questions, please download our Call Center Management Success Kit with whitepapers, checklists and brochures about call recording, quality management, workforce management and performance management.


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The Benefits of Hosted VOIP Call Recording Software

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When VOIP call recording was first introduced, it was utilized almost exclusively by the largest corporations and call centers. However, as technology has improved with the introduction of cloud-based solutions, and costs have decreased, VOIP recording software is now an affordable business application for call centers of every size. 

Why should a call center consider using hosted VOIP recording

  • Easy Installation: The addition of or transition to cloud-based VOIP call recording can be implemented quickly and easily, especially compared to the original installation of a PBX call recording solution.
  • Save Money: A VOIP recorder can save as much as 50% over a PBX recording system. Maintenance costs are also reduced, as any moves, adds or changes can be implemented without cable rewiring, punch downs or cross connects.
  • Centralized Deployment: With a VOIP recording deployment, the cost of adding remote sites is minimal. It’s a more efficient use of recording resources.
  • Scalability: VOIP recording software is easily scalable, unlike PBX systems that are limited by the installed servers.
  • Easy Maintenance: VOIP call recording is easily managed via point and click software.

Questions about VOIP recording? Please contact us today.


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What is VOIP Call Recording?

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VOIP is short for “Voice Over Internet Protocol,” and refers to the hardware and software that enables call recording centers to use the Internet as the transmission medium for telephone calls. 

With VOIP recording software, voice data is sent in packets using IP rather than PSTN (public switched telephone network) or traditional circuits. Calls are received from traditional networks, often through a T-1 interface, and the VOIP gateway converts them and routes them to an appropriate receiving device.

There are three basic types of call recording – trunk side, station side and random sampling. Selecting which type to use will depend upon the business environment, and how a call center’s needs are most efficiently met. 

As office systems become more integrated, VOIP can be a logical choice for call centers looking to interconnect VOIP phone within a single building (through a Local Area Network), between multiple locations (using a backbone network), and with regular telephones. It can also be a lower cost alternative, as telephone calls over the Internet are free beyond the cost of Internet access. 

When choosing VOIP call recording software, here are two other terms to know:

Softswitch: The softswitch, or IP switch, coordinates all call control functions, including call setup, termination, routing and conferencing. In some VOIP call recorder systems, the softswitch function is contained within the gateway. 

Port Mirroring: This is the capability of a VOIP system to copy data packets from one port on the switch to another destination on the network. 

As with traditional call recording systems, VOIP recording offers a number of advantages to a call center, from industry regulation compliance and legal protection to training and performance reviews, data verification and sharing, and improved customer satisfaction. 


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Workforce management: How to move from "reactive" to "proactive" call center performance management?

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Performance management is a critical part of managing call centers and is essential to help you align your people, processes and systems to your goals and objectives, such as customer satisfaction, cost control and revenue goals. Many call centers lack the means to measure and track their key performance indicators (KPI) necessary to improve forecasting, staffing, scheduling and adherence. There is a trend of transforming call center performance management from a reactive to a more proactive approach. Scorecards, key performance indicators, real-time alerts, agent analytics, dashboards, and customizable reports deliver a constant stream of actionable intelligence helping managers and supervisors make more informed decisions faster, resulting in higher customer satisfaction, more cost control and better utilization of resources. Here are just a few benefits:

  • Better decisions through actionable intelligence and flexible real-time dashboards: Gives management a unified view to monitor and analyze key performance metrics, such as agent adherence, service levels, labor costs and staffing resulting in more informed decisions.
  • Improved productivity and agent motivation through scorecard capabilities:Motivates agents to self-manage their performance and take action with coaches and supervisors based on real data and KPI’s (key performance indicators) to meet business objectives, creating a culture of accountability and self-motivation.
  • Easy and fast access to key performance indicators: Frees up time for supervisors and managers to focus on working with agents, coaching, training and planning, instead of collecting and analyzing data.

To learn more about agent analytics and performance management please take a look at our website or download our Monet Metrics brochure as part of the WFM Success Kit. 


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Call recording software tips and resources - part 1

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This is part one of our series "call center recording tips and resources" with links to articles about strategies, practical tips, and best practices on how to use call recording effectively and efficiently in our call center. Today, we start with some fundamental questions about call recording:
In part 2, we will list some useful blog posts about call recording software evaluation and selection tips.

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What is PCI Compliance Call Recording?

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The federal government and industry organizations have passed a variety of rules requiring companies to secure their data, from customer and employee social security numbers, to credit card numbers, to internal documents. And yet, 81% of companies breached were not compliant with PCI data security standards at the time of a data loss incident, according to a National Retail Foundation study. 

A call recorder system must be compliant with PCI processing guidelines. This entails the removal of certain information such as credit card security codes from recorded calls. Data considered non-sensitive, and thus safe to archive, includes call date/time, customer ID, agent ID, sale or collection amount and hold time. 

When considering a call monitoring system, make certain that there are safeguards in place to adhere to PCI compliance. In the area of privacy, this would include the capability (automatic or manual) by a call center employee to pause a recording when sensitive customer information is revealed, and resume recording thereafter. 

Encryption is another key element of PCI protection. All sensitive data should be encrypted at the time of its collection, and remain so during the storage, transfer and archival process. 

As part of an overall workforce management strategy, the call recorder program should also provide security audits that specify when a call recording database has been accessed, and by which employee or manager. Passwords should be in place to protect against unauthorized access. 

While these measures are vital to protect the financial information of call center customers, they are equally vital to the call center, to protect from the liability and loss of customer confidence that would result from a data breach.


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Call recording software access security: Who’s Listening?

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The contents of conversations between call center employees and customers often contain sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, addresses and financial history data. As a result, every call center requires (or certainly should require) authorization for management and other personnel to access the call recording software and review the contents and data of each call. 

Unfortunately, data can be removed by accidental or malicious means, and when that happens the risk to the company can be substantial, from brand damage and loss of consumer confidence to fines and lawsuits. 

When choosing a call recorder program, it is vital to inquire about data access security. This is particularly important in an era where workers can access call information not only in the office but also from home or on the road, and where data may be transmitted between employees, partners and consultants. Whether recorded call data is in motion or at rest it can be at risk without the implementation of effective safeguards. 

There are a number of security questions to ask before adding a call monitoring system to a call center. Find out how it prevents information theft, and how access to information can be restricted to specific individuals or groups. Find out about encryption, and how it is handled across multiple users. Ask whether the call recording software can automatically obscure some sensitive data (by muting or bleeping) to comply with PCI regulations, and further protect this information during the recording process. 

Call recorder system security should never be overlooked, though many companies continue to do so. Smaller call centers with trusted employees would never expect anyone on staff to illegally access data, and in most cases their trust will be well-placed. But according to the Ponemon Institute, 76% of data breaches are caused by company insiders, and most are not the result of malicious intent, but merely a lapse in judgment. Call recording software should help avoid these incidents, regardless of intent.


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What is schedule adherence and why is it important in the call center?

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Schedule adherence is the degree to which agents stick to their schedules, measured as a percentage. Considering that staffing is the single biggest cost facing any call center – and that every minute counts when it comes to meeting customer service levels – it’s easy to see why call center managers are putting an increasing emphasis on improving it and are looking to their workforce management software for solutions.
 
If you run a small call center with 5 to 20 agents, you might think schedule adherence isn’t all that important. But if you take a closer look at all the different junctures throughout the day where agent time is “lost,” you’ll realize that it can add up to a serious loss of revenue over the course of a year.

Call center workforce management schedule adherence strategy whitepaper
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Schedule adherence is particularly important for ensuring smooth transitions between shifts. Call center schedules tend to be very complex – which means there can be a lot of junctures during a shift where an agent will go out of adherence. For example, an agent might show up for his shift five minutes late; log on to the ACD seven minutes late; show up for a training session eight minutes late; and go over their break time by 10 minutes - resulting in the agent being a total of 30 minutes out of adherence for that one shift. Multiply these “out of adherence” events across a center with dozens if not hundreds of agents - and then multiply that by the total number of shifts - and its easy to see how schedule adherence can quickly become a serious problem.

Keeping track of schedule adherence using manual systems such as spreadsheets can be incredibly time-consuming and challenging. This is where today’s web-based call center scheduling solutions are playing an increasingly crucial role. They track schedule adherence in real-time and and automatically send you alerts.

When implementing a new program for improving schedule adherence in your call center - perhaps through the deployment of a workforce management system - it’s a good idea to discuss those changes with your employees first. The one thing you don’t want is a negative backlash from your valued employees, who might not be all that thrilled to be working under the watchful eye of “Big Brother.”

In order to reduce any negative backlash from your agents when implementing a new program to improve schedule adherence, you must first “inform and educate.” Agents need to understand the relevance of schedule adherence, how a mere 10 minutes here and there impacts other agents and the entire call center performance.

Then you should “measure and manage:” Measure and track adherence using workforce management tools and solutions, tracking adherence in real-time and running reports. Share these adherence reports with your agents and discuss how they are doing. It is important to give regular feedback regarding adherence statistics.

Finally, you can provide “incentives.” Reward agents that adhere to their schedule (95 percent within adherence scores) through recognition within the team and tie bonuses to good scores. It is also critical that all agents are aware of the consequences for out-of-adherence behavior, as this establishes their responsibility towards the success of the call center.

For more information, please read our 5 Strategies for improved Schedule Adherence whitepaper.

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