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Web-Based System Improves Agent Monitoring

A Web-based quality assurance monitoring system that gathers the input of management, clients, partners, call center personnel and others into one centralized database, has helped American Homeowners Association modify training programs and improve accountability for monitoring agent performance.

The system, SamePage from TBC Consulting, Atlanta, was among the first Web-based call monitoring systems, allowing parties at different companies on different computer networks to log into the system and have their comments and ratings of teleservice representative performance stored in a unified database.

“We telemarket to financial services institutions so there are some people monitoring from a quality customer service perspective. There are others monitoring from a legal perspective,” said David Ginsburg, director of membership retention at American Homeowners Association, Stamford, CT. “Because it’s Internet-based, everyone has input and everyone is accountable. There is no longer the excuse, ‘well I’m not over there.'”

The system’s ability to assemble comments from representatives of different companies and locations into one program has been one of the major benefits for AHA, which began using the system about six months ago.

“Every perspective is taking part in unity, and we had no idea how many different perspectives there were,” Ginsburg said.

The association has used the system to better calibrate agents’ scores, putting more weight on certain criteria and on comments from certain people.

American Homeowners Association has shown the results both to agents in training, to help them understand which factors are most important in their phone conversations, and to prospective clients to demonstrate the care with which the agents are monitored and evaluated.

Because the association had not previously used monitoring software, use of SamePage has also helped AHA increase the amount of monitoring and improve accountability among managers.

“Before, basically we would monitor people on conference calls, and if there was a problem, someone would say ‘I’ll take care of it’ and that was the end of it. Then, sometimes five months would go by and we’d monitor again and find out the situation still existed,” said Ginsburg.

“Now we can see when people were monitored, how often, who monitored them, and if there was a problem, we can see who monitored last and if there was a follow up. It increases accountability and it increases responsibility.”

The program was developed after executives at TBC Consulting visited a client that had its database on the Web.

“We found that often different parties would monitor the same three representatives. There was no centralized database as to who was monitored, how often, and by whom,” said Dan Berman, president of TBC Consulting. “We had several ideas such as dialing in to a server, but after seeing how a client used the Web, we decided to see how this could work.”

The company, has often worked on telemarketing programs that involve several parties, such as a bank whose customers are being called, a teleservices agency, a marketing company such as Memberworks, and an affinity partner.

The company devised the Web-based system with several degrees of access, so different players could tap into the program while maintaining the security of proprietary data. So, for example, if a call center was handling several campaigns, the client would only be able add and review comment related to telemarketers on its campaign. Meanwhile, if a company was using several call centers for a campaign, company officials could review agents at all call centers, while a call center manager would only have access to agents at his center.

Speed and security of data were two of TBC’s greatest challenges in redeveloping the desktop quality assurance monitoring program into a more extensive Web version. To save time on downloads, the company reduced the graphics in the Web-based monitoring program, and all programs are password protected as a security measure.

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