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DSC Tech Library

Call Center Technology

call centers technology solutions This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to Call Center technology and Best Practices plus software and products. Since the Company's inception in 1978, DSC has specialized in the development of communications software and systems. Beginning with our CRM and call center applications, DSC has developed computer telephony integration software and PC based phone systems. These products have been developed to run on a wide variety of telecom computer systems and environments.

The following article presents product or service information relating to call centers and customer service help desks.

Call Monitoring - Improving Agent Productivity

A Tutorial Report from Prosci Research

The goal of this tutorial series is to present Prosci's Quality Monitoring Lifecycle and to explain the role call monitoring plays in improving agent productivity. Quality monitoring is an essential part of call center operations, but many times the real benefits of call monitoring are not realized - the monitoring takes place for the sake of agent scoring alone. The first module in this series presents the Quality Monitoring Lifecycle. The second module describes the monitoring step in this lifecycle process. The third module examines the critical feedback component. The fourth module examines the final steps of the process - coaching and training. This module examines how to make the most of a quality monitoring program and the key lessons and improvements your program can produce. All modules come from the Quality Monitoring Toolkit.

Quality Monitoring Lifecycle Review

Prosci's Quality Monitoring Lifecycle (pictured above) is a holistic approach to monitoring your agents performance. Some call centers have fallen into the trap of monitoring for the sake of monitoring or simply providing agent scores. They recognize that monitoring is a necessary part of managing a call center, but only use the results of monitoring on an individual basis. When problems arise with a single agent, the monitoring process is used to validate that there is a problem.

Unfortunately, this represents a very small return on monitoring investments. By using Prosci's Quality Monitoring Lifecycle, call centers can improve the ROI (return on investment) of their quality monitoring programs. You will be able to improve the integration of ordinary call monitoring with the other key functions in the call center including hiring, training and IT (systems development). A call center that uses this lifecycle can improve overall performance through:

  • improved hiring and screening criteria
  • revised training curriculum
  • "best of best" examples
  • coaching skills and supervisor training
  • improved agent skills
  • process and system improvements
  • Preparing Agents
The results and data from your monitoring program can help you better prepare your CSRs. By using Prosci's Lifecycle approach, you can identify the skills and abilities that your CSRs need and integrate them into your hiring process. The cost of bringing a new agent into a call center is extremely high. If this person does not have the skills and abilities your center needs, you may have to go through this expensive process again. Data from the Quality Monitoring Lifecycle can help you refine your hiring criteria and help bring in the right person the first time - eliminating cost and reducing turnover.

Likewise, the data from quality monitoring can be used to develop or revise your training curriculum so that new agents are given the right training on the right topics, decreasing the time it takes a new person to become an active and successful agent. Specific examples (both good and bad) captured through call monitoring can be used to enhance your training programs.

Improving Agent Performance

Once an agent has started handling calls, monitoring will be used to track their performance. By using the Quality Monitoring Lifecycle, you can do more than just tell if the agent is doing well or not by providing "scores." Data can be used to develop specific training programs and coaching strategies for agents that are having problems with a specific area. Quality monitoring data can also be used to help your coaches and supervisors improve their own skills in delivering feedback and supporting agent development.

Process and System Improvements

Process and system improvements may be the biggest missed opportunity for most call centers. Quality monitoring shows how an individual is handing contacts, but the trends that emerge by looking at data from a group of agents is invaluable.

For example, Agent Joe may have had problems on the closing of a particular call. With a ordinary monitoring program, you may focus attention on helping Joe with particular communication skills. However, if you are using the Quality Monitoring Lifecycle to track trends and patterns, you may notice that Joe was not the only agent that was having problems with that closing. This would prompt you to review the script of the call and improve your process. The entire call center becomes more efficient as a result, improving customer service and reducing call backs.

Process and system improvements can produce tremendous returns on investment when the Quality Monitoring Lifecycle is used.

Improving Your Quality Monitoring Program

A quality monitoring program is not a static system that you introduce into your call center like a piece of hardware. It is constantly changing and providing important data that you can use to improve your contact quality as well as your call center performance.

To improve your quality monitoring program, you must pay attention to the trends that emerge.

  • Listen to the monitors themselves for their perception of the program. Are they getting an accurate view of the customer/agent interaction?
  • Ask agents how they like the new program. Do they feel that they are able to improve their own performance or do they feel that it is simply a scoring and evaluation system?
  • Measure your performance improvement and make the results visible.
Ask yourself on an ongoing basis:
  • Are we using the results of our quality monitoring program to improve coaching and training of existing agents?
  • Are we improving training for new agents based on the quality monitoring program and the data it returns?
  • How has the quality monitoring program and its results impacted hiring practices and training programs?
  • Can we revise our script and call handling processes based on monitoring data?
  • Do our systems and software adequately support our agents?
  • Can our agents use the systems effectively?
  • What common problems are customers having?
  • How can these be better addressed?

How to implement the Quality Monitoring Lifecycle: Prosci's Quality Monitoring Toolkit is the basis for this tutorial series and is the most comprehensive guide available for quality monitoring and implementing this lifecycle program. Whether you are just starting a new program for monitoring contacts or need to overhaul your current call monitoring process, this toolkit provides definitive guidelines and templates for both phone and multi-media contact monitoring. Using research data from more than 400 call centers, the toolkit includes benchmarking results that will make your quality monitoring program a success.