How call monitoring can protect and improve your business
With today’s emphasis on service and the customer-centric transaction, the impression you make when communicating with a client or supplier can be the make-or-break factor. For many organisations, the first point of contact remains the telephone – so it’s essential to optimise the way these encounters are handled. One way of doing this – and of ensuring several other benefits for your business – is through call monitoring.
The Need for Monitoring
Even if you don’t operate a full-blown call centre, it’s helpful to have some way of tracking and evaluating the nature, duration, and content of calls on the various phone extensions within your enterprise. Call monitoring allows you to capture and record events and usage patterns for your business telephone, so you can be aware of why, when, and how calls are being placed or received.
This not only forms a vital link in the overall chain of business communications (comprising phone, email, Instant Messaging, social media, etc.) that’s expanding the business premise or call centre into a “contact centre” – it also has tangible benefits for the enterprise as a whole.
From a financial and operational perspective, call monitoring equates to “call accounting” – an information resource that yields data on call duration and destinations for billing and auditing purposes.
Call detail record or CDR data reveals which numbers were dialled, the extensions being used to make calls, the origins of incoming communications, and the lengths of each conversation. So by searching and analysing phone usage data, it’s easy to allocate costs back to their respective departments or individuals of origin.
With web-based call monitoring, businesses can establish whether their voice and data networks are being used to peak, optimum, or over-capacity. From waiting times, abandoned calls and other statistics, it’s possible to allocate resources and plan for the future based on verifiable data. And as call accounting on the web can take place on a device-independent platform, call data may easily be pulled in or accessed from any device or operating system.
For employers, one of the greatest strengths of call monitoring lies in its ability to provide a searchable archive of interactions with real-world customers, suppliers, or partners. Audio, text, and in some cases video transcripts of actual phone calls can indicate which questions or problems are eliciting the most enquiries – and how those queries are actually being dealt with.
It’s easy to use call recordings as a basis for assessing how well or otherwise workers are performing on the phones, which sales pitches or call scripts are meeting with positive or negative responses, and how long it’s taking for issues to reach resolution.
By combining call recordings with speech analysis software and algorithms, it’s possible to delve deeper into these archives to identify those telephone techniques and personnel that stand out as examples of the kind of empathy, courtesy, patience, speed, or customer satisfaction that should be held up as a standard for the organisation.
Knowing how it should be done (and identifying and rewarding those who do it best) are key to promoting a uniformly high standard for your telephone operations.
Providing workers with access to call or video transcripts (“How It’s Done”, and “How Not To Do It”) can provide them with a useful primer for the kind of conduct that’s expected of them in their interactions with the public. So too can training for those who may not quite have got the knack – and with effective call monitoring it’s possible to schedule these training sessions to coincide with the idle time that workers spend between calls or assignments.
Accountability & Transparency
In the event of disputes or conflict resolution, call monitoring records can provide tangible proof of what was said in a given encounter – and furnish the vital legal element of non-deniability that can spell the difference between a lawsuit or negative feedback in the press or social media, and confirmation of your business as one that advocates transparency and accountability in its dealings with others.
Call recordings can also provide essential material for compliance audits, under regulatory regimes that may require businesses to hold a certain number of hours of transcripts at a given time.
As well as providing a look into usage patterns and expenditure on long distance or international calls (a hedge against billing fraud), call monitoring can also highlight unusual patterns of network usage which might indicate an imminent or ongoing attack or security threat.