Maximize ROI From Call Monitoring Systems

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Call monitoring systems are among the most desirable contact center products. It seems everybody wants one, and it's understandable. The ability to observe in real time or record the voice portion of the customer interaction and the data screens that the agent is accessing helps in evaluating the service that agents are providing.

Everyone talks about the functionality of the systems, but few people educate us on what we need to think about from the people side of the business when we deploy one of these products. Like any other piece of technology, it is only as effective as the knowledge of the people running the system.

So what should you think about before you make this kind of purchase?

IT and contact center management must join forces. Your IT department may be charged with finding and installing the right call monitoring system, but contact center management should spend time making process and procedural decisions to help IT.

Put your processes in motion before the installation. Once you answer the questions that will help determine which system will best meet your immediate and long-term needs, begin implementing the necessary processes before the product is installed. Remember that you are changing the way you manage performance by implementing a call monitoring system. It is by answering these questions that you will reap your return on investment.

Daily management of this system should not be an IT function. You as the end user should handle this function. Depending on your organization's structure, this may be the place to handle the maintenance of your call monitoring system as well. Your system administrator needs to be someone relatively technical in nature but who also understands the people side of performance management.

Even if you monitor phone calls today, the deployment of a call monitoring system changes the way your agents are communicated with and managed. View this system as a performance management tool, not just a monitoring tool. The message you send to your organization about monitoring should be clear, focused to performance recognition and positively understood by everyone in the company. This can be no easy task, and one that should not be taken lightly.

When a call monitoring system is implemented, it is immediately seen as a way to make monitoring more efficient. You may have been able to monitor only two to three calls per hour, and now you can monitor twice as many. Though the immediate reaction is to raise the goal for number of monitored calls per month, it once again is important to remember that this is a performance management system, not a monitoring system. Spending that extra time coaching and communicating with your agents directly affects their performance.

Don't get hung up with the novelty of the system. The tendency might be to sit behind your terminal all day and watch one agent after another. Don't get distracted by the "wow" factor, as you will wind up creating a "Big Brother" culture and lose productivity.

Performance is about people, not technology. Call monitoring technology is an incredible tool for a contact center. Yet the power rests not in the technology itself, but in the skills, knowledge and implementation processes of your people. Taking the time to think about the people factor will drive the technological advances that you hope you gain. n

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