How well are your call center agents performing? Are they meeting your call center metrics? Are they meeting the clients’ expectations?
For that matter, how do you determine the success of your agents? How do you measure their aptitude for the job vs how well they adapt and learn during their employment? What determines whether they are successful or not?
The most common method of evaluating an agent’s performance is to randomly spot-check a set number of their calls, per week or per day. However, random spot checking only provides a restricted sample size giving you limited insight into an agent’s true capabilities. It can be hard to determine if your agent was just having a bad day, if they were faced with an exceptionally difficult customer, or if there’s a negative tend emerging in performance. Basic call center metrics can help to shed some light on performance, but the question remains, how do you measure quality and establish trends?
Using Voice Analytics to Understand Agent Performance
Now call centers are able to capture real-time records of each agent’s daily calls, and store them for future reference. Behind the scenes, every call is subject to voice analysis. If an agent is having a particularly bad day, it will become obvious without the need for random call sampling or the agent upsetting a customer.
We can now look in detail at how each agent conducts their calls. There are three important call center metrics to look at when establishing agent trends.
1 – Silence
One important call center metric you should focus on is the length of silence in a call. There will always be some short breaks in a conversation, but if there is silence in the call for too long you know this is a potential problem area.
Why is there silence in a call? Is it because a client has exposed a knowledge gap in the agent? If so, then we need to improve our agent training. It might be a case of an agent being unable to answer an obscure question posed by a client. That is not a disaster if the agent has a method to quickly find and communicate the requested information. But if you find that an agent repeatedly pauses on calls, there is evidence of a larger problem.
In some cases, periods of silence in a call can be a result of an agent opting to work at a slow pace. The longer the gaps between questions, the fewer calls that the agent can make in an hour.
Silence could also be a sign that the agent is not listening to the client and is unaware that they have finish speaking. While they may happen to any agent once on a bad day, it is not one-off situations that cause concern. It is when there are patterns and regular trends of unexplained silence that you need to follow up.
2 – Talk-Over
Another area to focus your attention is talk-over when both parties in a call talk at the same time. By definition, if both the client and the agent are talking together then neither is listening to what the other is saying. How can your agent be doing their job if they are not listening to the client? Of course, in real life, this can be difficult to avoid during a phone conversation. Look for unusual patterns here, particularly if there is consistent talk-over by an agent when conversing with many clients.
3 – Emotional Intelligence
The third call center metric you should focus your agent appraisal on is emotional data. In particular, you want to see repeated patterns of agent sarcasm or regular evidence of an agent being quick to anger.
Of course, some call center positions are easier than others. An agent conducting product surveys for a client is likely to face fewer angry situations than a call center operator working the complaints desk for a poorly performing company.
Agents need training so they can restrain their emotions when dealing with customers even in the most testing of situations.
By adding a predictive voice analytics solution to your call center’s quality assurance practices, you’ll be able to easily identify individual agent trends. Thus allowing you to deeply understand if your agents are really doing well, or if they’re just working the system. By using this new data, management will have a new set of call center metrics they can use prescribe the necessary actions to ensure 100% of your phone agents are doing well.