The Skinny on Call Monitoring

Managers typically monitor their agents’ performance in responding to telephone calls, e-mail, etc. for purposes of quality control and training. Research shows that best-practice contact centers monitor 5 to 10 calls per agent per month.

The monitoring process can be either manual or automated. It can occur in real-time (as the agent is performing the task) or the performance of the task can be recorded for review at a later time. Monitoring can be performed on the audio as well as the data portion of a transaction.

The most common types of monitoring include side-by-side, silent, conference, and coach monitoring. Side-by-side monitoring occurs when the supervisor, or quality professional, physically sits next to or near the agent and either plugs a second headset into the agent’s telephone set or utilizes a cordless headset to listen to the agent’s call.

Silent monitoring is typically performed remotely, and may or may not include a tone indication to the agent that the call is being monitored. Conference monitoring is a three-way connection between the caller, agent, and supervisor/quality professional. Coach monitoring is a one-way connection between the agent and supervisor/quality professional (coach) that enables the coach to “guide” the agent through the call without the caller hearing the voice of the coach.

Newer technology allows supervisors and coaches to record agents randomly with no intervention. These systems can be scheduled for any agent, at any time, and for any number of calls. All calls are recorded and stored for later review. Some systems even include the ability to score the calls using your corporate call monitoring form, and record the agent’s score with the call.

Kathryn Jackson, Ph.D is president of Ocean City, NJ-based contact center consultancy Response Design Corp.

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