It is fascinating to look back at the early days of telecommunications. Apparently, supervisors would lace up a pair of roller skates and glide around the telephone office in order to monitor switchboard operators efficiently. Much has changed since then. In today’s call centers, supervisors can’t just roll up behind an agent and plug a headset into the monitor jack to join the conversation – in many cases agents and supervisors may not be in the same room, city or even country.
The Challenge to Maintain Quality Control in Today’s Contact Centers
Call centers today are experiencing 49% annual agent turnover, costing up to 2X agent’s annual salary (Trossle). The geographic reality described above adds a real challenge for maintaining quality control in the contact center. If not addressed effectively, this can only exacerbate an already high turnover rate.
Supervisors who make good use of technology tools such as call recording and monitoring to help identify training needs, or review customer interactions reap benefits only after the fact. A huge step forward would be to provide guidance and support in real time - giving supervisors or mentors a virtual pair of roller skates so they can be where they’re needed, when they’re needed.
A Modern Solution For Agent Improvements
Incorporating real-time monitoring, mentoring, and support to the agent/customer engagement equation can generate a high return on investment. Benefits include higher first call resolution, lower call handling times, fewer management escalations, reduced attrition and lower onboarding costs. Through this technology, the mentor or supervisor is essentially sitting on an agent’s shoulder – hearing the conversation, seeing and co-browsing the agent’s screen, spotlighting areas on the screen to guide the agent’s steps, and providing live assistance to not only assure appropriate customer service, but also to enable the agent to learn-by-doing. Preliminary results show that a live coaching solution can reduce labor costs, which in turn represent up to 70% of overall contact center costs. You can check out the case study here.
Facilitating real-time corrective measures can make the difference between happy and unhappy customers. One of our customers, a large US-based financial services company, recently remarked that this technology would rekindle one-on-one mentoring that was so effective in the early days of contact centers – when they would literally stand behind agents– but with the added flexibility and efficiency needed for today’s complex and often distributed environments. And, giving agents the ability to ‘raise their hand’ and receive real-time guidance before things take a bad turn is certainly a plus.
This can change the conversation from “this is what you did wrong, and how you should handle it next time,” to “well done, now you can apply what you’ve learned to future calls.” A positive outcome for both agents and customers.
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