One of the main reasons is to ensure good communication. They must make sure team members are saying the right things to clients on the phone so that they get the information they need. Managers also need to know that team members taking calls are actively listening to callers, responding appropriately to given situations and taking the necessary initiative, all while keeping in line with the company’s culture and policies. In turn, to achieve their objectives, team members on the front “lines” need specific tools and training.
Many callers are not technically inclined, on top of being pressed for time. They can even be irritable for various reasons, such as having had to call back several times because previous responses were unsatisfactory.
They’re looking for precise, simple explanations, but most of all they want an immediate and lasting solution to their issue. If agents taking calls are not meeting the expectations of the company, or more importantly, of its clients, then it’s up to the manager to identify and fix the problem. What better way to do this than to know exactly what is said during all phone conversations coming through your company?
To help managers keep track of their team members' phone – and by extension, overall - performance, we’ll be going over 5 different essential tools to ensure successful teams:
1) Call recording
The ability to playback past calls is invaluable not only for training purposes but for improving the performance of team members. Recordings of agents with exceptional track records can be played for recruits so that they can hear how to best handle different types of calls. More challenging exchanges (for example, where a client turned argumentative during the call which can be hard work) can also be played back to allow current team members and new recruits alike to point out what went wrong, and thus understand best practices on how best to avoid such negative encounters and better resolve related problems in the future.
Legality is another reason why call recording is essential for any company. A company against which any compensation claim has been made must be able to provide proof if not responsible. Otherwise, it must be able to demonstrate the extent of its liability to avoid paying more damages than legally required.
2) Real-time call monitoring
Who’s on the phone right now? Who’s been on for an unusually long time? Who hasn’t picked up any calls today? Whose line is on hold?
With a real-time dashboard, managers can view and follow patterns in their team members' activities at a glance, saving time and effort for everyone. If the manager needs to follow up with Sharon, for example, but she’s currently on the line, they can see the exact moment she becomes available and avoid calling her extension repeatedly to check. If James has had a call on hold for the past half hour, the manager can send him a message asking what’s going on and if he needs help.
Being able to monitor all team members' phone activities is essential for giving managers an exact picture of the strong points and their team's success, as well as weak points in the sales or customer service being provided. This in turn allows them to address areas of concern with the team or individuals in order to brainstorm solutions, hear input from different team members, or make needed changes.
3) Listening in
There is no better way for a manager to quickly assess agent phone performance than to hear exactly what they are saying in calls, in real-time, during work hours. From making personal notes about agents who have been struggling to ensure that new products and services are being explained properly by the team in general, listening to calls as they happen provides a major advantage when it comes to managerial information gathering.
When agents are aware that they are not only being recorded but may be listened to at that very moment, they will be much more motivated to listen carefully to what callers are telling/asking them, express that they and the company care about both the client and the issue at hand, thoroughly explain possible solutions and next steps, make sure that the caller has understood all explanations, and, if applicable, take the opportunity to pitch product or service upgrades.
4) Call intervention
Sometimes a team member can get flustered during a heated discussion, or a recent hire draws a blank when asked a technical question. This is where call intervention, or “whisper mode,” can come to the rescue. With this feature, team leaders listening in on a call can give the agent advice, consult tech support or another source on their behalf, or tell them exactly what to say without the caller being aware.
They can also intervene in the call directly, with a statement such as “Hello, Mrs Smith, this is the Department Head speaking. I understand that your rep Michael has been working with to arrange some product repairs…”
5) Performance analysis
All companies need to keep track of exactly how they’ve been performing in all aspects of their activity. Without this vital information, they’ll never be able to grow to their potential, solve certain problems - or even be made aware that they have some of these problems, to begin with.
Our agent-based statistics let managers know who the highest and lowest performing team members are, providing such details as average call time, the average number of calls received, and average number of missed calls for a given period. Knowing exactly who is setting the benchmarks for certain criteria and who is lagging behind allows managers to better allocate training resources and dedicate time and energy where it is needed most.
If a manager is only as good as the number of tools at their disposal, why would they settle for less than the best? Whether you’re running a 5-person start-up or a major call centre, now that you’ve now got all of the essential tools for call monitoring at your fingertips, it’s time to whip your sales, customer service, and other phone-oriented teams into shape!
- Record your calls for training purposes and to stay ahead of legal headaches
- Keep an eye on your team’s call activities and stay aware of positive trends and potential problems
- Listen in on the calls of veteran agents and new hires alike and come to their rescue with the call whisper/intervention feature if needed
- Finally, track all call activity with advanced statistics so that your agents can be at their best during calls, and callers will have an optimal image of your company