Contact Center Monitoring: A Comprehensive Guide

Learn all about contact center monitoring, its implementation and best practices in 2024.

Bhavna Gupta
February 14, 2024
8 min read

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What is contact center monitoring?

Contact center monitoring is the continuous oversight of contact center operations to ensure quality, efficiency and compliance with set standards. It covers a spectrum of activities, including call recording, quality assurance, performance measurement and compliance adherence to achieve and exceed pre-defined contact center metrics.

Contact center monitoring facilitates improved customer service for greater customer satisfaction (CSAT), operational efficiency and training enhancements. It ensures regulatory requirements are met, and the highest service quality standards are always maintained.

Why is contact center monitoring important?

Monitoring is an integral component of contact center management, helping organizations with:

  1. Quality management: By tracking customer interactions, contact centers can find performance gaps and improvement opportunities, which uplifts the overall customer experience. Learn more: Unlocking the Power of Contact Center Quality Management

  2. Compliance adherence: Monitoring contact center operations with a hawk eye keeps teams on the right side of the law, ensuring all industry and federal norms are followed.

  3. Training and development: Contact center monitoring reveals granular insights about the performance of each contact center agent, enabling individualized agent training and coaching programs.
    Interesting read: Top 8 Skills Contact Center Agents Need in 2024 & Beyond

  4. Operational efficiency: Monitoring identifies bottlenecks, streamlines processes and optimizes resource allocation, contributing to overall operational efficiency.

  5. Risk mitigation: With rigorous contact center monitoring, you can mitigate risks associated with non-compliance, operational inefficiencies and poor customer satisfaction.

  6. Data-driven decision-making: You get mission-critical contact center analytics that enables the leadership to make strategic decisions for continuous improvement.

With multiple benefits, contact center monitoring ensures fulfillment of service level agreements (SLA), brand voice guidelines and customer expectations, making it a surefire success strategy. If you are behind the curve, get started with your contact center monitoring with the stepwise approach outlined below.

How to set up contact center monitoring

Contact center monitoring is more than listening to call recordings and checking the tone of agent emails. It is a holistic process that measures, analyzes and helps optimize the quality and efficiency of customer service delivered by your contact center, and it can be implemented via six simple steps:

Step 1: Set up a dedicated quality assurance team.

Build a QA team that upholds the standards of customer service you aspire to deliver. Typically, your team should comprise high-performing agents, managers/supervisors and quality analysts, and they should be well-versed in: 

While recruiting for QA, look out for these technical and soft skills:

Analytics skills to handle customer interaction analytics and divulge actionable insights from raw data. Data management is also a non-negotiable skill for QAs.

Quality assurance knowledge includes principles, best practices, compliance laws and industry standards. The ability to build and implement evaluation processes is a must.

Training and coaching skills that facilitate effective feedback communication, custom training plans and continuous improvement in your workforce.

Ethical judgment to detect off-brand voice, profanity, bias, abuse and negative emotion in conversations objectively.

Technical proficiency in using popular customer service software, analytics tools, contact center CRM,  ticketing software and collaboration platforms like JIRA, Slack and Skype.

Once the team is onboard, set a cadence and escalation matrix to facilitate easy collaboration between them.

Step 2: Determine your quality benchmarks.

Look into industry benchmarks for contact center performance using industry reports and association whitepapers. Determining industry benchmarks for all critical KPIs will help with goal-setting and policymaking.

Need real-time competitive insights?

Consider using an AI-powered competitive benchmarking tool that generates real-time dashboards comparing and benchmarking your care strategy and “voice of customer” against competitors. It compares how your average handle time (AHT) and response rate stack up on different contact center channels. If you are behind, overhaul your process and people, improving your responsiveness and maintaining your competitive edge.

Learn more: An A-Z Guide to Competitive Benchmarking

Step 3: Focus on the right metrics.

When developing a comprehensive set of contact center metrics, it's essential to strike a balance between performance, customer experience and operational efficiency. A collective approach will ensure effective contact center operations, improved customer satisfaction and real business outcomes. While the list of metrics is exhaustive, here are some categories that yield holistic results:

I. Customer Satisfaction Metrics

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): Measures customer satisfaction based on a post-interaction survey.

Net Promoter Score (NPS): Assesses the likelihood of customers recommending the company to others.

II. Operational Efficiency Metrics

Average Handling Time (AHT): Measures the average time an agent spends on handling a customer interaction.

Service Level: Indicates the percentage of calls answered within a specified time frame.

III. Quality and Performance Metrics

First Contact Resolution (FCR): Measures the percentage of customer issues resolved on the first interaction.

Quality Assurance (QA) Score: Assesses agent performance based on pre-defined quality criteria.

IV. Workforce Management Metrics 

Agent Occupancy Rate: Measures the time agents spend actively engaged in customer interactions.

Adherence to Schedule: Evaluates how well agents stick to their assigned work schedules. 

Level up:  Learn All About Contact Center Workforce Optimization

V. Customer Experience Metrics

Call Abandonment Rate: Measures the percentage of calls abandoned by customers before speaking to an agent.

Customer Effort Score (CES): Evaluates the ease with which customers can get their issues resolved.

Get the full list of metrics here: Customer Experience Metrics for Smart Brands

VI. Accessibility and Responsiveness Metrics

First Response Time: Measures the time it takes for an initial response to a customer inquiry.

Channel Availability: Assesses the availability and responsiveness across various communication channels (e.g., chat, email).

Be a pro: Use AI to Reduce Your Customer Service Response Time

VII. Cost-Related Metrics

Cost per Contact: Evaluates the cost incurred for each customer interaction.

Return on Investment (ROI): Measures the financial return derived from contact center operations.

VIII. Technology and Infrastructure Metrics

Uptime and Availability: Assesses the reliability and availability of contact center technology.

Self-Service Utilization: Measures the percentage of customer interactions resolved through customer self-service.

IX. Compliance and Security Metrics

Compliance Adherence: Evaluates the contact center's adherence to industry regulations and internal policies.

Data Security Compliance: Measures the effectiveness of security measures in protecting customer data.

Suggested Read: Contact Center Compliance – A Checklist for 2024

X. Agent Engagement Metrics

Agent Satisfaction: Assesses the overall satisfaction and engagement levels of contact center agents.

Attrition Rate: Measures the rate at which agents leave the organization.

Learn More: Tips to Manage Your Workforce Engagement

Step 4: Get the right monitoring tools. 

Contact center monitoring is an ongoing process that relies heavily on tools for call recording, data gathering and analysis, agent performance measurement, feedback collection, training/coaching and customer journey analysis.

Instead of buying separate point solutions for each of these functions, invest in a unified customer service solution that integrates data from disparate channels and teams, giving you a helicopter view of your contact center and agent performance in real-time.

What’s more?

Opt for tools that leverage AI to not only process voluminous data accurately but also give intelligent, timely suggestions to improve your contact center’s performance. From individualized agent-level coaching plans to floor-level performance overviews, AI generates insights, dashboards and reports that can guide contact center leaders in strategic decision-making.

Step 5: Build performance scorecards.

With the tools and metrics sorted, you can graduate to the next step of building agent performance scorecards to evaluate performance, foster accountability, address training gaps and build a culture of continuous learning and improvement in your contact center.

Agent performance scorecard generated by Sprinklr for contact center monitoring

First, identify the agent performance metrics that align with your business goals. For instance, if responsiveness is a priority for your support teams, focus on KPIs like speed of answer and average hold time. Similarly, if building brand advocates is the end goal, metrics like net promoter score make more sense.

Second, devise a scoring system that overrules bias and subjectivity from the performance evaluation system. This is where AI can play a vital role by processing 100% of your agent-customer conversations to assess agents for parameters like opening/closing quality, intro, product knowledge, communication skills and customer empathy

Sprinklr AI+ removes ambiguity from agent scoring. 

Plain AI can assess conversations objectively, categorizing them as success or failure. It assigns weightage to score parameters based on their criticality and impact on CSAT, churn and other metrics.  

However, advanced AI solutions like Sprinklr AI+ allow Quality Managers to drill down into the phrases that trigger positive/negative sentiment or signal empathy, highlighting them with red/green colors. 

Sprinklr AI+ flags grammatically-unsound agent responses

This way, QAs can pinpoint exact areas for improvement and additional training for every customer service rep, leading to enhanced customer service and satisfaction in the long term. 

Impressive, right? 

Witness the power of Sprinklr AI+ with a personalized demo today! 

Go Pro: How to Use AI Scoring for Tailoring Agent Training Programs

Step 6: Streamline your processes.

Lastly, convert the findings into learnings and use them to optimize your contact center operations, agent training, feedback mechanism and workforce management. Contact center monitoring is not a one-time activity. Rather, it is perpetual as everything from customer expectations to service delivery methodology is constantly evolving. Moreover, your reps will encounter customer service scenarios that demand for new SOPs, resources and training.

Best practices for contact center monitoring

Just like every other process, contact center monitoring can be finetuned with certain best practices and hacks, such as:

1.Monitor 100% of your interactions.

It’s very important that you monitor 100% of customer interactions across all your customer service channels, arming quality managers with a holistic view. Random sampling should be discouraged to eliminate guesswork.

Pro Tip: Take the help of AI in processing mountains of inflowing interaction data, uncovering actionable insights at a scale that manual sampling just can’t reach. Algorithmic results are largely free of errors – a fact that plays a pivotal role during disputes and calibrations.

AI-led quality management is error-free and serves a evidential proof during disputes

2. Customize audit forms for different channels.

If manual quality management is your preferred mode, ensure that the audit forms are customized on the basis of your customer communication channels. For maximum accuracy, choose the right evaluation scale for your agents and the right feedback form questions.

Sprinklr Service allows customizing service audit forms to a granular level

3. Give real-time intervention. Instead of monthly review-feedback cycles, opt for real-time intervention during interactions to maximize effectiveness by implementing: 

  • Guided workflows: Stepwise guidance to rookie agents on solving routine cases. 

  • Barge-ins: Allowing supervisors or peers to barge in during calls as needed. 

  • Agent Nudges: Delivers the next best actions based on customer intent, keywords, etc. Also helps with promise and escalation management.

Simplify contact center monitoring with Sprinklr’s AI-led quality management

Modern contact centers are struggling to make sense of exploding customer data, call transcripts, recordings and performance metrics. On top of this, contact centers are constantly under scrutiny owing to stringent compliance norms from authorities and industry regulators.

An AI-powered quality management solution like Sprinklr Service can help your contact center battle these odds by processing 100% of your conversations while offering advanced capabilities like:

  • Compliance adherence across 30+ channels, including live chat, email, phone and social media 

  • Real-time alerts to flag violations and escalations 

  • Proprietary AI engine that collates and processes terabytes of data within seconds 

  • Granular, real-time reports on standard and curated contact center metrics 

  • AI recommendations on areas of opportunity and improvement 

Wait, there’s more. cDiscount used Sprinklr’s QM module to monitor their customer conversations and increase their CSAT by 150%. If you want similar results, register for a FREE 30-day trial today!

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