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Quality Management

Practical information about call center recording software, call monitoring and quality assurance for contact centers

Call Playback Hints, Tips & Best Practices

When it comes to call playback, faster and easier is always better.

Speed should be a significant factor when choosing a call recording and monitoring system. Recorded calls will not serve their desired purpose if searching for them becomes a long and frustrating process. Fast and easy retrieval of any specific call or subset of calls is necessary from any location.

The following blogs and articles offer more information on call playback. Still have questions? Search for answers here. Or, contact us for more information on Monet call recording solutions that simplify call playback.

How ACD Improves the Impact of Call Recording

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There are many reasons why call recording should be standard operating procedure at any contact center. These include ensuring compliance, agent training and for protection against he-said-she-said customer disputes. 

But one of the biggest benefits of call recording is visibility. You have a 100% accurate record of exactly what each caller said and how your agent responded. And one way to leverage that visibility is with the addition of automatic call distribution (ACD) reporting. Now you can distribute calls to the agent most qualified to handle that customer’s inquiry. 

Both systems complement each other. With call recording you’ll discover very quickly which agents are adept at calming angry customers, which show more patience with seniors who may need some extra moments to provide information, and which are good at explaining technical information to those who don’t have a technology background.

When these agent profiles are assembled, the ACD provides information on call types through graphical screens that make routing faster and easier. 

Best of all, this happens without the caller’s awareness. For all he or she knows, they were just lucky enough to have their call picked up by an agent who knew exactly how to solve their problem. 

In this business we all recognize the importance of first call resolution (FCR) as a metric for tracking efficiency. It’s one of the best indicators of a well-run contact center, and one of the stats most closely associated with customer satisfaction scores. In fact, according to a study by The Ascent Group, FCR is listed as one of the five most important metrics tracked by call centers. Organizations that have low FCR rates also tend to have low employee satisfaction and high turnover rates.

So what better way to boost FCR than by using call recording paired with ACD to deliver fast service and optimal customer interaction? 


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Speech Analytics and Compliance

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Compliance is – let’s be honest – a pretty dull topic. 

But in our continuing quest to avoid what is boring, we cannot neglect the laws and regulations now in place that help to keep business transactions stable and secure. This can also be a costly topic to ignore, given the penalties that may be imposed on businesses that do not keep accurate, up-to-date records of telephone transactions. 

Recorded call records must be kept accessible for a minimum of six months, and that timeframe may increase with new legislation on its way. 

Is your contact center keeping up? Do you have transactions saved across multiple platforms? 

Speech Analytics Can Help

In addition to its many other benefits in customer service and cost savings, speech analytics also play an important role in your compliance effort. 

Should you ever need to demonstrate how your contact center is meeting established criteria for keeping credit card information safe, speech analytics can quickly search through thousands of calls and highlight any in question by locating the precise language used in each call. Even single words can be flagged and calls brought up for review. 

Having ready access to calls subject to compliance not only saves time, it reduces risk of exposure, as it now becomes easier for managers to check compliance during internal reviews. Doing so regularly can help your contact center avoid fines and negative publicity, at a time when the public remains concerned about secure transactions. 



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The Connection Between Technology and Agent Training

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Customers aren’t thinking about your technology or your management or your coaching when they call your contact center. Their happiness or displeasure with your business will be determined to a great extent by the agent who takes their call. 

But while managers recognize the importance of front-line employees, they still contend with ongoing issues related to agent engagement and retention. 

According to Everest Group Research, the approximate financial loss for a 500-person contact center due to agent loss and recruiting can reach $2 million in one year. What do agents want and need to bring their ‘A’ game to work every day, and to stay with the company for years instead of months? 

One poll, conducted by Ventana Research, suggests they are not getting the personal attention and individualized training they desire. Just 37% of respondents reported that their contact centers have set targets for the amount of coaching time each agent should receive. 

Yes, it’s an investment, but when the agent knows you are investing in his or her success, it motivates them to better performance. 

Still hesitant? Consider also that this allocation of additional time and money is also an investment in improving the customer experience, and that’s what it’s all about. 

A renewed focus on training should also take into account the role that technology can play in making coaching sessions more effective. For instance, the optimal time to schedule training sessions is when agents are on-shift but may be idle due to lower call volume. By some estimates, if all of those idle minutes were added up, an agent spends five weeks out of every year between phone calls. 

The innovative contact center will treat that situation not as a problem but as an opportunity. An automated, real-time workforce management solution collects forecasting, scheduling and adherence data and delivers insight into moments where training can be safely scheduled without impacting customer service, as well as optimization opportunities to avoid overstaffing or understaffing. 

And when WFM is acquired via the cloud, the result is a better customer experience at a lower cost to the contact center. 


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Call Recording - What to Do Before and After System Installation

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While many call centers have enjoyed the benefits of call recording for decades, there are always businesses preparing to add this functionality for the first time. What the technology does is obvious – where first-time users sometimes err is in making sure that agents make the most of its potential. 

For contact centers preparing for call monitoring system implementation, here are five best practice tips before and after installation. 

Before the System is Installed

1. Don’t spring this on the team. Announce the decision to add call recording software in advance and clarify the reasons for the implementation. An agent’s first response might be concern over how every word they say will now be part of the company’s permanent record. Reassure them that this isn’t a “Big Brother” spying technique, but a way to improve performance for both managers and agents. Schedule time to listen to any feedback, questions or issues. 

2. Now that you’ll have the data from recordings, what do you want to do first? Create a priority list of which areas will receive the most attention. Explore how this information will impact how you presently determine quality standards and customer satisfaction. There’s a good chance the old guidelines will have to be updated, or replaced. 

3. There are legal issues that impact call recording. Clarify how recordings will be logged and saved, who will have access to this stored data, and whether the call monitoring software is compliant with the Federal Communication Commission and other government and industry organizations. 


After the System is Installed

1. Call monitoring will have a huge impact on your agent training. Live monitoring of agent calls does not always tell the full story of any employee’s skills. Take advantage of the access you now have to every agent-customer conversation, and create a system for how to incorporate recorded calls into training sessions. Many supervisors break calls into sections and review each one, along with the time it takes to interact with each customer, and how each agent fulfills the procedures established at the time of his/her hiring. Schedule regular reviews to maintain consistency. 

2. Use the data and reports generated by a call monitoring system to review scheduling of agents, whether at one or multiple call centers. Make adjustments accordingly to reduce the wait time on incoming calls, or any situations where agents are sitting at their phones with extended periods of non-activity. Finding the right formula to avoid either overworked or idle employees can have significant impact on the call center’s efficiency and its bottom line. 

 


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Top 3 Call Center Quality Assurance Best Practices

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We’ve devoted several previous blogs to the importance of Quality Assurance (QA). If you have already introduced a QA program into your contact center, here are three ideas related to best practices that can improve its impact on efficiency and customer services. 

1. Focus on High Value Calls

While every customer is important, some customer calls are more valuable than others when it comes to quality assurance. Focus on those that expose potential issues with new products or marketing campaigns, or those from the type of customers that are vital to your company’s success. Desktop analytics software can make it easier to locate these calls. 


2. Include the Customer in the Process

Serving your customers better is the reason to introduce QA – so it makes sense to include their feedback instead of just assuming what they want from your business. Review customer satisfaction scores against QA results, and address any gaps or discrepancies. Update customer surveys frequently. 


3. Refine Coaching and Training

Make certain new agent hires are on board with QA from day one. Give them the skills they need to prioritize the goals of the program, and make sure they have the technology that makes it easier for them to deliver a positive customer experience. Quality assurance should also be part of ongoing coaching efforts for all agents. A Gallup poll found that targeted coaching programs improve customer loyalty by more than 50%, and achieve 27% greater profitability, in part by cutting average handle time in half. 


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The Power of Positive Language

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Can changing a word or two in the script your agents use, or in the IVR, have a significant impact on contact center performance? 

Sometimes, the little things can indeed make a big difference. If you have not reviewed your script or IVR in a while, take the opportunity to do so with these three tips in mind. 

1. Be Informal

Formal business language sounds scripted and impersonal. Try a more conversational tone within shorter sentences that get to the point. The faster callers know what to do, especially with an IVR, the faster they can conclude their business and you can boost average handle time. 

2. Choose Words Carefully

Many customers, faced with the prospect of corresponding with an IVR, will simply wait until the ‘speak to an agent’ option is presented. But by using more effective words and offering more specific options, some of these call transfers can be avoided. However, you have to give the script a chance to work. If the caller hears “talk” or “speak” too early in the engagement, he or she is more likely to wait out the system rather than try to get results before that. 

3. Website Promotion

Many questions that prompt customer calls can be answered instead with a visit to the company’s website. If your script or IVR tries to encourage this transition, don’t just provide the URL – offer a reason for customers to try it. Words like ‘fast’ and ‘convenient’ and ‘instant’ can sway people toward trying an online channel. Emphasize the benefit, not just the option.  



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What to Do if a Negative Customer Engagement Goes Viral?

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Last summer, a man called his cable television provider to cancel his service, and was subjected to a 20-minute unwanted conversation* in which the company’s call center agent repeatedly badgered him like a district attorney trying to get a murder conviction. 

Unfortunately for the cable company, the beleaguered customer recorded the conversation and released it on social media, where it quickly went viral. 

Situations like this may become more common, as contact centers are certainly not the only ones capable of recording calls, and with social media providing an easy and instant platform for an angry customer to exact revenge. The question is, how should the contact center respond?

In this case, the cable company issued a public apology, promising to investigate the situation. They also contacted the customer to offer a personal mea culpa. 

The more important question is,  how can such embarrassing moments be avoided in the first place?

Agents are almost certainly instructed to try and retain customers in cancellation calls, but there comes a point where the practice becomes abusive. These situations can be avoided with quality monitoring, in which calls are recorded and scored based on preset criteria (which should certainly include the attitude of the agent and adherence to a script). 

Where agents fall short in these disciplines, it creates the potential for a marketing disaster. Quality monitoring identifies these agents so retraining can take place. 

Speech analytics can also play a role in helping agents determine when a customer account might be maintained, and when all the resistance in the world will not make any difference. That will help agents decide which situations require more aggressive persuasion (within reasonable limits, of course), and which can be abandoned more quickly. 



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How Your Sales Team Benefits from Call Recording

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In previous blogs we’ve discussed the contributions call recording can make to contact center efficiency and agent training, among many other benefits. 

But there is another facet to this technology, as observed in this recent Orecx blog – the impact it has on sales intelligence. 

While there are numerous strategies for acquiring sales intelligence data, from professional consulting firms to enterprise systems that crunch numbers and deliver insight into markets and upsell opportunities, many of these methods require a significant investment. 

But if the contact center has call recording, especially if it is part of a workforce management solution, the company already has a means to engage with customers and collect valuable intelligence and get answers to such questions as:


How is my company perceived vs. my competitors’? 

During a call a customer may reference how another company has more product choices, or a lower price, or other special offers. Or, the caller may mention how he or she had tried the other company first, but was not impressed. 


Where do my customers live? 

Find out where people are more receptive to the company’s products and services, then target these areas for additional lead generation.


Is our marketing misleading?

What happens when customers think a company is offering a free product, only to discover later that a $100 purchase is first required? Usually, it leads to a lot of cancellations and complaints. Call recording can reveal whether a marketing message is effective, or is having the opposite of the desired effect. 





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Call Recording Retrieval: The Need for Speed

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Sometimes doing something faster doesn’t mean better, but that is not the case with call recording retrieval. 

Speed should be a significant determining factor when choosing a call recording and monitoring system. Fast and easy retrieval of any specific call or subset of calls is necessary to improve a call center’s service and performance. 

Effective and secure call retrieval from the server to the system should be achievable from any location. The recordings will not serve their desired purpose if they cannot be located, or if doing so becomes a long and frustrating process.

Choose a system that offers a wide range of criteria for call retrieval, so searches can be specific and will deliver the correct results the first time, every time. 

The system should have built-in call retrieval functionality based on whatever “tags” call center personnel attach to each specific customer engagement. These search criteria may include: 

  • Duration (find the shortest or longest calls from a given day or a specific agent)
  • Agent/Customer (filtering allows managers to locate all calls from one specific customer, or those handled by one agent or group of agents)
  • Monitored Calls (find all live-monitored calls based on date, group or agent)

Call centers will also want to track calls by phone numbers of the parties, dates of calls and types of calls (order, complaint, etc.). Other calls may be tagged for a specific purpose (coaching, script adherence, etc.) at the time they are completed, for later review by a manager. Call monitoring software should be able to locate these tags quickly and play them within a few seconds. For more about this topics, please check out the call recording whitepaper on our website.


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Retrieval and Playback of Call Center Recordings

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Fast and easy retrieval of call recordings is essential if call recording software is to improve quality and performance at a call center. If a manager needs to locate a specific call or series of calls, and the effort proves frustrating and time-consuming, the system is useless. 

Look for call recording systems that automatically stores call and user information (such as caller ID, customer reference numbers or case numbers) with the recording so that call retrieval is as simple as possible. 

The system should carry out this function based on any number of “tags” that can be affixed to a specific call. These tags are then used to locate calls for playback. 

Typical tags include:

•    Agent ID
•    Date
•    Time
•    Phone number

It should also be possible to combine these categories to return more specific results. If a manager wants to access all calls handled by Agent Smith on June 1, or all calls received from a specific phone number, the system should process these requests quickly and locate the requested subset of calls. 

Other search criteria are also possible. Perhaps a manager may want to search for all calls that lasted five minutes or more, to discover why some customer engagements cannot be resolved in less time, or collect all of the calls that reference a specific product (perhaps to gauge complaints) – these types of searches should also be not only possible, but return results just as swiftly. However, doing so may require more specific tagging by the call center beyond the standard date-time-agent information. 

By tagging subject matter – “Sale,” “Complaint,” “Question,” etc. the call recording software can store calls in categories as well, and retrieve them accordingly when required. 

With the right call recording software, retrieval and playback should be carried out with a few clicks of the mouse, and without lengthy delays.


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