Call Center Monitoring Software

Agent churn: It’s not you, it’s your employee engagement strategy

Jeff Gallino, CTO and founder of CallMiner

It’s no secret that contact centers are infamous for their high turnover rates, which average 45 percent year-over-year—more than double the average for all U.S. occupations. What most companies don’t realize, however, is that this doesn’t have to be the status quo. Identifying the signs an agent is about to check out and having solutions in place to change the outcome can dramatically reduce agent churn well before they decide to give their notice.

If retention isn’t motivation enough, research shows that an astonishing 77 percent of employees worldwide are not engaged, which, according to Gallup, can cost upwards of $605 billion in lost productivity per year. There’s incredible value in spotting non-engagement signs and addressing the lack of productivity that often lead to agent turnover early. This can ensure strong employee engagement and stop the turnover cycle. Not only will it save billions in lost revenue, it will promote better customer experiences through an organization’s No. 1 advocate—its employees.

Warning Sign 1: They go into silent mode

One of the primary indicators of an unengaged employee is silence. Silence is commonly caused by a lack of agent training, but this isn’t only applicable immediately after onboarding. Agents require extensive knowledge of your company’s products and services; however, many employees miss out on new product information because organizations neglect to offer continual education programs.

Employee silence can also happen outside of customer interactions, as managers of unengaged agents tend to notice an increase in the amount of time between each call. Although this doesn’t usually stem from a lack of company knowledge, it’s a telltale sign an employee is experiencing a lack of motivation. Distant employees are comfortable with doing the bare minimum to get by and will likely keep their heads down, and calls quietly recording, to purposely limit the number of customers they interact with.

Warning Sign 2: Under (but not terrible) performance

Decreased performance in areas such as average handle time (AHT), call volume, and following a script could all point to a lack of engagement that, if not fairly addressed, can lead to lower NPS scores, turnover, and even compliance risks.

Sometimes, however, quantifiable performance metrics aren’t the sole indicator of an agent’s performance—as agents aren’t at-fault for many of the disruptions that happen during the call. Companies need to take training, tools and technical factors into consideration when it comes to gaps in an agent’s performance and use contextualized scoring methods to accurately and thoroughly understand where performance issues are occurring and the root cause.
Warning Sign 3: Inconsistent feedback on their work

According to research by Gallup, less than 21 percent of employees strongly agree their employee implements fair evaluation processes. Contact center agents handle dozens of calls per day, but many outbound surveys and manual quality management reviews only account for three to five percent of an agent’s interactions—leading to ill-informed assessments of their overall performance.

In addition to being inaccurate and irregular, many legacy feedback systems are impersonal. Call center feedback usually only involves reprimanding, despite the employee’s desire to be recognized for exceptional service. The lack of effort put into celebrating successes usually causes agents to feel unappreciated and less likely to advocate for the business.

How to Stop the Cycle

Proper training—during and after onboarding: Before sending your agent out on their own, how do you know you’ve given them the proper training to handle the influx of problems they’ll face out on the floor? To keep up with the fast-paced environment of the contact center, they need to stay informed, especially if your products and services are constantly evolving. Each one of your employees is unique and despite what’s suggested by legacy employee education programs—their training processes should be as well. Speech analytics data can help managers offer personalized training programs in accordance with agents’ specific needs, even after onboarding.

Tools to optimize performance: Aside from training, contact center operators need to ask themselves whether their agents have the resources they need to succeed. While two-thirds of customers dial in with a problem, some caused by lack of self-serving options on other channels, they expect your agent to be able to solve, lack of resources is one of the biggest factors leading to job-related stress. It’s impossible to guide each of your representatives through every single interaction—but tools and customer engagement analytics software can take information in real time and apply historical data to provide your agent with better insight and guide them through the call based on the context of the conversation.

Real-time feedback: Agents should always know where they stand when it comes to their performance. A discussion a week, a month, or a year later about a specific interaction with a customer will not help anyone succeed. Having an analytics tool removes any sense of unfairness that’s usually associated with random selection by providing an inclusive and holistic view of your caller engagement data, ensuring a stronger voice of your employee. It also helps with coaching by automatically scoring 100 percent of your agents’ customer interactions to pinpoint the exact areas they need to both improve customer experiences in real-time and add business value in the long run.

While employee turnover is one of the biggest problems companies face today, employee engagement is just as impactful to your business’s bottom line, as those with highly-engaged workforces outperform their peers by nearly 150 percent. All problems associated with the warning signs of an unengaged employee point to a similar source—the company’s inability to fully understand the needs of their employees from both a personal and professional perspective. Similar to how analytics and artificial intelligence work to strengthen customer loyalty, these tools and concepts can help personalize your organization’s approach to agent management—offering a fully-developed employee engagement strategy that involves critical coaching and feedback procedures. In doing so, companies can foster a positive work culture and keep employees from feeling as though they are ‘just another number’.

4 Essential Components of Your Workforce Optimization Software

Delivering a positive customer experience is no small feat ­– there are a lot of moving parts that have to work together, with workforce optimization (WFO) being a major component. When considering which WFO suite to go with, keep the following four must-haves in mind.

  1. Integration with Existing Systems

The WFO system you use should be compatible with the rest of your contact center. Cloud WFO solutions are typically the easiest to integrate ­– they can be custom-fitted to your contact center, prepped and tested before going live, and even run along with your current WFO solution as you make the switch so there’s no downtime.

  1. Creation of Reliable and Adaptive Schedules

With the right WFO solution, scheduling becomes much easier. Your WFO software should generate schedules with enough agents to cover daily shifts, accounting for agent requests like certain days or times off, flex shifts, or work-from-home shifts. At the same time, your software should review shift data to accommodate for high and low patterns, which will affect things like breaks and training sessions. Your WFO solution should also be flexible enough to adapt when something unforeseen occurs that requires a quick change in the workforce.

  1. Real-Time Schedule Adherence

In order for management to know if an agent’s daily activity is in line with contact center objectives, you’ll need to see reports about schedule adherence. Your WFO solution should monitor and record real-time adherence, tracking log in and log out times, plus lunch breaks and other types of breaks. For contact centers that have out-of-the-box needs, like after-hours coverage, your WFO solution should let you create custom guidelines.

  1. Accurate and Robust Reporting

WFO (and just about everything else at your contact center) revolves around reports ­– otherwise, it’s very difficult to know what’s going on in your business. Even the best managers can’t be everywhere all the time, which is why they rely on reporting. The data that’s gathered will help you figure out where changes need to be made and what type of training needs to occur moving forward. Comprehensive reports will help you make the right workforce decisions.

The philosophy of WFO ­– shifting the workforce for the sake of optimal productivity ­– has been around for a long time, but actually embracing this philosophy by seeking out the tools to achieve it is still new for many contact centers.

Important Business Intelligence Tools for the Contact Center

In order for the contact center to meet (and exceed) performance goals, the right business intelligence (BI) tools and technologies have to be in place. BI tools help contact centers improve and optimize their processes in order to heighten their success rate. BI digs deeper into the data you’re already collecting to find ways to relate your findings to the customer experience and, in turn, improve customer retention.

Aggregate Analytics

Aggregate analytics, also referred to as big data, deliver information about the contact center’s overall performance. Both structured and unstructured data is organized and delivered via an “at a glance” dashboard, or something similar. The key is to have only relevant data included so that supervisors don’t have to wade through inapplicable data.

Call Recording Tools

Speech analytics tools – a long-time staple of the modern contact center – accurately transcribe conversation audio to ensure that agents are adhering to a script or guidelines when speaking with a customer. In industries that have strict rules about what can and cannot be mentioned (like collections, for example), speech analytics are even more important than usual. Certain advanced call recording tools will allow for Voice of Customer considerations, too. Real-time feedback, call coaching and customer surveys enable supervisors to make decisions that can improve the customer experience in-the-moment.

Predictive Voice Analytics

Predictive voice programs not only record agent-customer conversations, but also use them to make predictions about how both parties will respond. Emotional changes in the agent’s vocal features can determine if the agent is speaking in an appropriate way to the customer, while emotional changes in the customer’s voice can determine a variety of outcomes, like if they’re likely to become a regular customer.

Selling Recommendations

BI tools can increase revenue by recommending up-sell and cross-sell opportunities to the agent in real-time. By considering the customer’s purchase history and buyer persona, combined with predictive voice analytics, the dashboard can alert the agent when a selling opportunity presents itself. Not only is it easier to sell to customers with a strong purchase history, but BI tools can also determine which products and services will be of most interest to the customer.

The contact center is generating helpful information every single minute. Data is regularly being collected, sometimes passively. With BI tools, supervisors can gather and review all pertinent data to see where improvements can be made.

3 Speech Analytics Myths You Should Stop Believing

The number of misconceptions about speech analytics (SA) are surprising, especially considering that even people who currently use SA technology believe the myths. While the learning curve for SA is steep, understanding that the following notions are false will be a big help. When you know how SA does and does not work, you’ll be able to better utilize to its potential.

Myth #1: It’s Not Necessary to Listen to Actual Calls

It’s not possible to simply guess at the voice of the customer and you won’t be able to set useful SA settings if you don’t first listen to real recorded calls. The only way to figure out which business intelligence will be most useful to your company is to listen to a random selection of recordings from a specific queue. As you dissect recordings, you should do the following:

  • Map call types for specific objectives.
  • Listen to how things are said, not just what is said.
  • Create a ranking of keyword categories.
  • Identify issues that could cause trouble with the software (transfers, hold music, pre-recorded messages).
  • Interpret dialects, accents and colloquialisms.

While listening to numerous calls from beginning to end is tedious, it’s the best way to figure out which words and phrases are most meaningful when it comes to customer intent and outcomes.

Myth #2: Speech Analytics Are a Set-and-Forget Solution

SA make it easy to locate keywords and phrases, but that ability alone isn’t going to give you valuable insight. SA software has to be optimized in order to provide useful and actionable intelligence, taking into account things like the relationship between content and context or specialized language for certain industries. Furthermore, the data you glean from SA won’t be helpful if it isn’t accurate. In order to make sure that the software is at its optimal level of accuracy detection, the speech engine has to be calibrated, tested and tuned until perfect. To do this, search results have to be audited several times over until the speech engine is in harmony with your business objectives. The setup and interpretation phases may be time-consuming and even challenging, but they’re necessary.

Myth #3: Anybody Can Manage Speech Analytics

SA may run automatically, but the software has to be managed on a regular basis, too. There are a range of tasks that must be completed in order to keep SA performing well. While you may have a staff member who’s qualified to take on this role, it’s important to know what’s expected of the person in charge:

  • Software setup
  • Server and database management
  • Compilation, analysis and delivery of key findings
  • Content review

One or more people can take on this role. Since the various steps call for different skill sets, some companies opt to split up the role into three parts

  1. Administrator for setup and management.
  2. Business Analyst for choosing and delivering key findings.
  3. Interactions Monitoring Analyst to review content.

Whoever is in charge of SA has to analyze and communicate the findings, explaining why and how changes should be made.

In order to get the most out of SA, it’s important to control your expectations. SA software doesn’t rely on omniscience. Instead, it’s a smart, calibrated filter that shows you the parts of calls that relate to your specific business issues. SA software provides the tools you need to uncover actionable business intelligence. Without it, it would be nearly impossible to find these subtle points of a conversation. With it, you can apply sophisticated strategies to work toward your business objective.

How Speech Analytics Benefit the Contact Center

Speech analytics tools help companies understand more about their customers so that contact center agents can act on unstructured customer data collected during interactions. Today, speech analytics software goes beyond quality assurance to measure deeper, undisclosed customer information. When used correctly, speech analytics can give companies a competitive edge.

Identifying Customer Emotions with Speech Analytics

There’s a bright side to negative emotions like frustration and anger. When someone contacts customer service, something positive can result from the interaction, whether it’s improved customer satisfaction or insight from a difficult call. Speech analytics tools search unstructured data from customer conversations to detect emotion and stress levels by analyzing things like word choice and speech tempo. Conversations are analyzed in real-time to deliver data about calls from the start of the conversation through resolution.

4 Benefits of Speech Analytics

Speech analytics can improve a customer’s experience, inform contact center agent training, increase revenue and limit customer attrition.

1. Improving the Customer Experience

Improving the customer experience is one of the main reasons why companies use speech analytics. The software analyzes customer interactions to find reasons for the call that may be vague. Mentions of company products and competitor names and products can also be detected. Contact center agents are able to quickly understand what the customer needs so that they can start meeting those needs.

2. Managing Contact Center Agents

Speech analytics software helps to coach and monitor contact center agents. By tracking performance issues via speech analytics software, management can figure out where service quality needs to be improved. This influences both agent coaching and process updating, and is especially useful for lowering call volume and improving first call resolution. Managers are able to track things like how well calls adhere to scripts, call length, agent politeness and if regulations were met.

3. Increasing Revenue

Up-sell and cross-sell opportunities can be identified thanks to speech analytics software, which can lead to more sales. The software can also be used to learn how up- and cross-sell attempts affect customer satisfaction based on certain demographics.

4. Reduce Customer Loss

Customer attrition rates often go down after a company implements speech analytics. The software can determine when a customer is about to leave and then the agent can take the opportunity to personalize the service in an effort to get the customer to stay.