5 Best Practices for Monitoring Call Center Agent Performance

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Call centers play a pivotal role in service organizations, serving as the frontline ambassadors of a business. Handling large call volumes daily, call center agents interact with customers or consumers daily. Hence, optimizing their performance is crucial to elevate the center from an expense center to a strategic asset. By following the below-mentioned best practices, setting clear call quality monitoring goals, and utilizing the right tools, call center managers can improve call center agent performance more constructively.

  1. Overhaul Your Existing Call Quality Monitoring Program

A basic call center quality monitoring program involves reviewing customer-agent calls and providing feedback to improve agent performance. However, an advanced quality assurance (QA) monitoring program goes further by addressing the root causes of inefficient conversations and enhancing call center agent productivity for better performance.

A common challenge with basic programs is their labor-intensive nature, limiting the number of calls that can be monitored. To bridge this gap, businesses can incorporate advanced speech analytics like ICAP that systematically analyzes calls for specific patterns, words, phrases, and tones. Speech analytics enable comprehensive analysis of all agent-handled calls, identifying shortcomings and recurring issues. A speech analytics platform that comes with business intelligence capabilities can even analyze data from call recordings, transcripts, and agent performance reports to gain valuable insights.

  1. Pick Your Agent Performance Metrics More Thoughtfully

Select key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter most to your business. Some of the standard call center KPIs include First Call Resolution (FCR), Average Abandonment Rate, Average Handle Time (AHT), Average Speed of Answer, Average Time in The Queue, and Agent Turnover Rate.

However, picking standard metrics can sometimes be counterproductive. For instance, AHT as an agent productivity metric can be misleading for a collections-focused call center. Replacing AHT with metrics like ‘agent utilization rate’ can instead be the best way to capture agent productivity more accurately.

  1. Rethink Your Performance Evaluation Criteria

Call center monitoring involves tracking various aspects of interactions between agents and customers or consumers. This process should be constantly optimized (and revisited) because it helps identify issues, bottlenecks, and areas for improvement for call center agents, ultimately leading to positive call outcomes. Make sure you evaluate calls based on:

  • Agent handling of calls (call quality score)
  • Adherence to client procedures (internal compliance)
  • Adherence to industry regulations (external compliance)
  • Tone and manner of communication (sentiment analysis)

Pro Tip: Create a standardized script for agents to maintain consistency in evaluation and easily detect issues during calls.

  1. Try Closing the Feedback Loop Proactively

Ask team leads to proactively take performance issues with new and existing agents. It is best to offer feedback on monitored calls weekly rather than waiting for monthly reviews. A week’s time window will help you know if an issue is an honest mistake committed by an agent or a performance trend.

Interesting Fact: A speech platform that comes with BI capabilities can help you understand what impact agent performance has on your overall business output. By linking agent KPIs with business metrics, the platform can help you visualize the cause and effect of agent performance and business output.

  1. Involve Agents in the Evaluation Process

Ensure that agents are aware of the metrics and targets by which they will be assessed. Through speech analytics, they should have access to their scores/scorecards in the form of performance dashboards for self-monitoring and improvement. It also makes sense to give agents time to evaluate their own calls each week. Self-critique often leads to improvement. So, encourage them to listen to their interactions, identify mistakes, and work on improving their communication skills. It is the responsibility of managers or team leaders to foster open communication with agents to discuss their progress, issues, and suggestions.