Call monitoring & call listening for better conversations

00:00 10 November in Telephony For Sales, Telephony For Support

Call listening not only helps train agents but also translates into customer satisfaction.

How should you keep track of your customer support quality? Or the quality of your sales calls? The answer is simple: you listen.

Sure, there are a lot of metrics that can help you figure out customer satisfaction and agent performance. But once you have the metrics, listening is how you begin improving those conversations.

So what are the telephony tools that can help you? Your cloud contact center offers a lot of call monitoring and call listening tools and features. This article uncovers a few.

What is call monitoring?

Call monitoring involves listening in on a call between your contact center agents and customers/prospects to check the quality of the conversation.

What’s the need for call monitoring?

Call monitoring is one of the most potent quality assurance tools. It is almost like conducting a survey about how satisfied your customer is but doing it real-time instead of in retrospect. When you listen to an agent talking to your customer as it happens, you understand the customer’s experience and your agents convincing skills.

Call monitoring serves several purposes:

  1. Analyze the real reason behind your metrics
    Your metrics such as AHT, FCR and CSAT can give you a good measure of call center performance. But to investigate what’s behind the metrics, you need to use call monitoring and call listening tools.
    For example, If an agent’s AHT(Average Handle Time) is higher, you can investigate why the agent took longer to close a call.
  2. Figure when your metrics don’t give you an accurate picture.
    Call monitoring can also tell when you need to be less rigid with your metrics. For example, a call that lasted longer than your AHT does not necessarily mean it wasn’t effective. It could mean the agent went the extra mile to resolve a customer’s query. Similarly, you may find an agent has deviated from the script only to ensure a customer is satisfied with the response or a solution. This way, call monitoring can also tell you when it is time for introspection.
  3. Better customer service:
    Whenever customer satisfaction scores are dropping, call monitoring lets you take instant steps to arrest the fall.
  4. Agent training:
    You can use recordings of well-handled and poorly-tackled calls as case studies when training contact center agents. You can also intervene during a call if you think it is not going in a positive direction and offer the agent constructive solutions.
  5. First call resolution:
    When an agent is aware that the call is being listened to, he or she will do their best to ensure the caller’s issue is resolved in the first call itself. This instills the kind of confidence in a customer that no paper warranty can.
  6. Timely intervention: When a manager is listening in on a call and notices that the agent is unable to solve a problem, he or she can intervene right then and advise the agent on what to do next. This saves the customer time otherwise spent being on hold while the agent is consulting the manager. It also saves the customer the trouble of calling back at a later time and going through the entire process all over again.

How to monitor calls?

You can monitor calls live or via recordings. Let us understand how each works:

Monitoring LIVE Calls
This allows a QA manager or Team Leader to listen to a call real-time or as they happen. Monitoring a live call can help closely monitor and guide agents as they attempt to resolve customer issues.

Live call monitoring can be done in three ways:

  • Barge-in: Though it sounds a bit rude, “barge-in” is really a helpful feature that allows a third party – usually a supervisor or team leader – to silently barge into or join a call between an agent and customer, while it is on. Neither the agent nor the customer can tell that someone else is privy to their conversation.
    Use this method when: As a less intimidating way of monitoring a calls because the agent is not conscious of the superior’s presence all the time.
  • Whisper: A team leader or manager listening to the call can speak to the agent in private without the customer hearing their conversation. It is the tech equivalent of a manager whispering into the agent’s ear. This is a one-way (uni-directional) communication from the manager to the agent, used when the manager feels the need to intervene and give the agent key inputs during the conversation.
    Use this method when: This method is effective when an agent is stuck mid-call for lack of understanding on how to proceed further or if a conversation gets heated. The manager can help the agent deal with the customer’s annoyance.
  • Snoop: This is a tripartite conversation – the manager or supervisor who has been silently listening in can join the call and communicate with both, the agent and the customer to address the query.
    Use this method when: This method helps in resolving the issue faster. Customers also end up feeling important when they know a senior has personally intervened and taken interest in their problem.

Call Barge In

Screen showing “barge in” on KOOKOO cloudagent.

Monitoring historical call recordings

Cloud contact centers generally enable call recordings. These can be used very effectively to monitor and improve performance as well as for training purposes. It also makes it possible to retrieve a particular call in case an issue resurfaces or a customer claims his or her problem was not resolved effectively by an agent.
These recordings can be made available against your CRM ticket if you have a CRM or ticketing integration with your contact center software. Even if you dont, the manager can access these recordings in a few clicks.

Correlating performance metrics and call recordings for effective monitoring

It isn’t possible to monitor all your calls or go through all the recordings. Use your reports to help you select which calls to monitor.

  1. CSAT: CSAT or customer satisfaction is often considered the most effective metric. CSAT can easily be taken at the end of each call by diverting your caller/customer to an IVR that collects feedback in the form of a score or a yes/no satisfaction survey. You can then filter CSAT by agent, and listen to the underperforming agents’ call recordings. you can also use high performing agents call recordings for training purposes.
  2. AHT, FCR: Average Handle Time tells you how fast an agent wrapped a call. A low AHT is desirable. So you can filter for calls that go above a certain AHT in real time, this way whenever a call exceeds a certain handle time, you can barge in to help/listen.

Advanced call monitoring tools to manage effective monitoring at scale

As your business grows, you need to scale up all your systems. So how do you monitor calls when your agents start growing from say 5 to 50 or even 500? An efficient agent could end up physically monitoring more than 150 calls a day. A two-minute call can take at least three minutes to analyze. At this rate, when call volumes are large, the QA team can monitor only 5 percent of the total calls. Conclusions drawn from this kind of sample may not be representative of the entire data mine you are sitting on.
Moreover, no matter how few calls you get, if you had more advanced tools, you could ensure that no call slips in quality with more effective monitoring tools.

Luckily, cloud telephony systems (like ours) offer advanced tools to monitor a large number of calls. Two such tools are Speech Analytics and Slack Integration:

Speech Analytics
Speech analytics gives you a ready reckoner on how your agents are performing on calls 15 times faster than manual monitoring. Iy can detect greeting, interruptions, and even sentiment during calls. If a call takes on a negative sentiment, it can alert managers in real time. Read more about how the Speech Analytics tool can help you here.

Cut the slacking
Often agents may digress from official duties and spend time chatting online or surfing the Internet for entertainment. By the time a floor manager, who sometimes handles upto 100 agents a day, zeroes in on the slacker valuable minutes are lost.
With Ozonetel’s Slack Integration tool (not to be confused with Slack, the app), the system tracks inactive agents and puts them on top of the list on the manager’s screen. This way, the manager can immediately identify who the slacker is and pull him or her up.
The Slack Integration tool in cloud telephony is not only a time-saver, it also improves productivity among agents by acting as a deterrent to shirkers.

By using the right tools and systems, you can also use call monitoring to help avert crises and improve resolutions in real time. Of course, every business has its own limitations and requirements. Speak to a contact center software provider to get the right tools to help your business today.