News and views about the call center industry.
Monitoring Behavior in Real Time Improves Customer Service and Agent Behavior
From telemarketing to collections, providing customer satisfaction is at an all time high in the contact center industry. Check any top 10 list of call center complaints by customers and you’ll find rude or unprofessional agents somewhere on that list. Certainly there are opportunities to train agents, have them complete a diversity course, perhaps a class for proper phone etiquette and conflict management. However, without the right tools to monitor agents, natural behavior may slip agents back into the everyday grind, leaving freshly trained and practiced agents back to where they started. What’s next?
Monitoring agents is a big job. Contact centers rely upon leads, supervisors, floor walkers, quality assurance teams, trainers and other talent to ensure agents are treating customers with best in class levels of service and support on every call. How is this done? Usually the call is recorded and then reviewed by a trained specialist who then scores the call (customer treatment, suggestions/solutions, timely responses, managed call effectively, provided customer delight, etc.). What if a serious issue occurred (threat to go to the media, threat to retain an attorney or a threat to pull an account and go to a competitor)? What chance does a business have in rectifying the issue? Companies that rely upon listening to post call data run the risk of a delay in response to their customer (they may contact a customer after the call has concluded, perhaps hours or days later). They may monitor agents while customers are still live on the call. This indeed provides immediate analysis of the call, however, live monitoring by humans is time consuming and often costly. What are other options?
Real time voice analytics. What is it and how quickly may the data be useable by the business? From help desks to telesales, companies have the opportunity to employ technology allowing them insight into what is happening on the call NOW. No longer do quality assurance teams need to hunt and peck through thousands of calls to find opportunities to provide constructive criticism or reward agents for good quality call performance. Technology is now available that allows companies to view information while a call between the customer and an agent is commencing, be alerted as particular events are occurring, and have the opportunity to stop the call from escalating, or even losing the call, thus protecting customer loyalty, business and company brand integrity.
Companies can more deeply focus upon reducing customer complaints and business liability exposure by enlisting a behavior modification program that starts with what the agent looks at each and every day, their screen. Quite like speed limit signs reminding drivers to be cognizant of acceptable speeds, technology today offers businesses the opportunity to remind agents to moderate their emotions, talkover and provide customer disclosures successfully, in real time, while a customer is still on the call. Real time voice analysis brings tremendous value to any environment employing a customer service team, from help desks to addressing FAQs and troubleshooting. Additionally, for customers who prefer speaking with particular agents best suited to handle their business and personality, utilizing voice analysis for customer profiling is truly beneficial to contact centers.
What industries benefit the most from technology to monitor behavior? In the example of a collection agency environment, the client who has hired an agency to collect on their behalf can now listen to any call in real time. No longer does a bank’s quality assurance team have to wait for post-call analysis from its agency to measure the level of service provided to customers. Real time voice analysis provides the ability for the bank’s remote team to monitor business in real time and receive objective, consistent reporting, quickly and easily. Mixing in the ability to detect and analyze words and phrases in real time, a bank can be rest assured that agency management will be alerted when an agent has not provided mini miranda to a customer within so many seconds of the call’s start time, they may also be alerted as to when a customer says phrases like “lawsuit” or “going to media”. In these cases, management can intervene on the call and ensure correct steps are taken immediately to ensure call’s technical correctness.
Businesses can leverage this technology to assist in efforts of agent behavior modification whereby the agent learns to self-monitor. Agents feel empowered to improve their customer conversations through visual data being fed to their screens, allowing them the ability to better control the way they respond to their customers. Having insight into one’s own emotions and that of one’s customer will result in increased customer service levels, an overall morale boost, and a reduction in employee turnover.
Recently, a collection agency in Buffalo, NY installed a real-time voice analysis application, including emotion detection and analysis, as well as talkover detection. The agents’ initial reaction to their screens, which now show a small icon on the lower left hand area was, “Is this measuring the volume of my voice?” Once they were introduced to the application and its concept, they immediately utilized the technology to their advantage. One employee stated, “I didn’t realize how easy it is to talk over someone during a conversation. My customers seem not to mind when they speak as I’m speaking. Now, I’m more cognizant of when it’s happening, and I cease talking right away to ensure I’m listening to what my customer is saying.” Another employee shared, “At times I’m on the phone with a customer and right away I can see they are angry about something, even though they don’t sound that way. I’m able to respond more proactively to them and prepare my responses much easier knowing their emotion levels.”
Consistent and objective scoring is integral in delivering an accurate portrait of contact center performance. Technology available today includes immediate emotion and talkover analysis. Metrics are applied across the board to all agents, providing a level playing field. In addition, other metrics may be applied to particular agents either managing different/additional types of calls. On the flip side, management reviewing agent performance via reporting will see primary metric scores (consistent and objectively scored by the technology) but then also the additional metric reporting for the secondary assignments for particular agents. An example would be two agents on the floor both answering customer service inquiries for a software company, only agent B additionally answers calls for sales (up selling/cross-selling) opportunities. Both agents are scored against criteria relative to providing best in class customer service. Doing so ensures consistent, objective scoring for customer service calls. However, agent B is additionally scored for sales calls business, ensuring agents completing sales calls are objectively scored by the same criteria as agent B.
At the end of the day, businesses want to ensure they remain customer-centric in delivering the best service and support. Focusing on the prevention of poor customer service and limiting liability exposure, while capturing consistent and objective quality assurance measurements provides support toward encouraging the behavior modification necessary to remaining an industry best customer service business.