2017 Call Recording Checklist

Posted by Kevin B. Levi on Jan 3, 2017 12:31:18 PM

With the ringing in of the new year, it is a good time to take stock of your assets so you can effectively plan for potential needs you might have throughout the year. This inventory can and should include your call recording system and all the features and functions it provides. To help you accomplish this task, here are 7 things to check for when determining if your call recording system is up to the task, or whether it might need to be replaced.New_Product_Introduction_Checklist.png

1.  Scalability - Does your system scale up to thousands of users in the event you achieve accelerated growth?

2. Interoperability - Does your system feature an open API so you can easily and quickly integrate it with new systems, applications, etc.?

3. Analytics - Does your system contain advanced analytics capabilities (i.e. speech analytics or desktop analytics), and can it easily pull data from third party sources - CRM, SFA, etc.?

4. Cloud - Is your system cloud based, or does your provider at least offer cloud recording so you can consider a migration this year to save money, time and resources?

5. Quality monitoring - Does your vendor offer quality monitoring capabilities which you can easily integrate and start benefitting from (ensure high agent performance and customer service levels)?

6. Mobile recording - Does your vendor offer mobile-phone recording which you can easily turn on to start capturing calls your employees make on their company-issued mobile phones?

7. Mask/mute - Are you able to mask or mute calls containing sensitive information, such as during a credit card transaction?

These are just some of the many variables to consider when weighing the viability of your existing call recording system. 

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6 Strategies to Optimize Call Center Quality Assurance

Posted by Kevin Levi on Nov 1, 2016 1:40:55 PM

By Jim Lyoob

Quality assurance involves maintaining a desired level of quality and it is crucial for your call center to be aware of the ways to do this. In order to optimize call center quality assurance, take advantage of these six strategies. 

1. Focus on quality as a behavior  

One strategy to utilize is to evaluate the quality of your agents during training. Keeping them informed about the call selection process and telling them how well they are doing will keep them more engaged with the calls and more willing to improve. QA evaluations also allow you to measure the performance of your agents. 

2. Use analytics 

Another strategy is to use analytics to your advantage to find higher value calls. A few examples of higher value calls include calls that were tagged by an agent, called that were placed multiple times, calls which involved transfers, calls that were extremely long or short and calls that were directed to specific numbers within a small time frame. When you are able to pinpoint high value calls, you can detect issues you’re having and correct them accordingly.  Read the full article.



Associations and Institutions Need Call Recording Too

Posted by Kevin B. Levi on Oct 14, 2016 10:29:33 AM

When you hear the word “nonprofit,” it’s easy to imagine a charitable foundation or some other such well-meaning organization aimed at making the world a better place. Yet entities that operate as nonprofits fall into two very broad categories: community-serving organizations, which include charitable enterprises, aid and development programs, educational institutions, healthcare facilities, and the like; and member-serving organizations, such as professional or industry associations, trade and credit unions, sports clubs, and more. What both kinds of nonprofits have in common, however, is that they are in the business of meeting the needs of their “customers” – that is, their students, patients, target population, or members. And, they typically must do this under strict financial constraints and with an eye towards good fiscal stewardship.Nonprofit.jpg

For nonprofits seeking to meet their member-serving or community-serving goals, call recording software can provide valuable insight. By recording calls that come into your organization, you can gain:  

  • C-level Insight – Leverage the actual voice of the “customer” to keep senior-level volunteers and staff in touch with the needs and challenges of your patients, students, members, and more.
  • Information to Kick off Volunteer or Employee Meetings – Replay select calls at the start of meetings so that your staff can hear best practice calls and discuss what could have been done better with under-performing calls.
  • A Chance for Everyone to Learn – Consider sharing two or three carefully selected calls with every employee or volunteer on a monthly basis. This way, everyone in the organization has a direct connection to the customer and his/her wants/needs.

These recorded calls can also help your organization acquire other insights, such as:

  • Ideas for new services
  • Intelligence about other organizations that operate in your field
  • Ways that your organization is meeting (or failing to meet) the needs of your constituents, and perhaps even discover suggestions for improvement

The issue of cost is an important one for most nonprofits. Although call recording software may seem like a luxury for only for-profit entities with plenty of cash to spare, the reality is that these types of systems are growing more affordable than ever. If you’re looking at a call recording system for your nonprofit and are sensitive about costs and the use of your personnel and other resources, here are some questions to ask before selecting a provider:

  • Is it expensive? Certain systems can cost you as little as $5 per month per user.
  • Does it require costly hardware? Look for an open-architecture, software-only solution that can run on standard industry hardware; or consider a hosted/cloud-based system.
  • Is it easy to install or maintain? Some systems can be installed in about 30 minutes and require no maintenance, provided you select the right solution.
  • Is it difficult to learn and use? Pick a system that your staff can learn to use quickly – for some, in as little as one hour.

In many ways, the mission of a nonprofit resembles that of their for-profit counterpart – to keep customers happy and to use resources wisely. Let call recording software help your nonprofit accomplish both of those goals.

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Using Call Recording to Survive the High Demands of High Tech

Posted by Kevin B. Levi on Oct 4, 2016 11:09:35 AM

The technology industry is always evolving: new products and services come to market at a rapid-fire pace, and expectations from customers are constantly accelerating. Your customers want things better, faster, and easier than ever before – their demands are high, and you need to deliver.Chasm_image.jpg

For companies in the technology sector, where competition can be brutal and only the strongest survive, top customer service marks can often mean the difference between an enterprise’s success or its demise. To ensure that their call center agents are delivering the best possible service, today’s top technology companies use call recording software to:

  • Assess call center agent performance by evaluating the work of individual agents and identifying specific areas that need improvement.
  • Capture call center best practices such as examples of outstanding customer service interactions, which can be shared and analyzed at regular team meetings. This way, employees can be prepared to handle future, similar situations.
  • Glean product or service information, because customers often reach out to a contact center when they have a problem. These calls can prove valuable to your sales, marketing, and product development teams. Product-specific calls can be shared with these teams so that they can hear what customers are saying – both the positive and the negative – about your products or services.

But let’s take call recording software one step further – beyond the call center and into the offices of your telesales staff. Recoding the calls of these employees can go a long way in helping to boost your team’s sales conversion success. How? When your telesales staff has a particularly successful or challenging call, you can share these recorded calls with the rest of the team during your weekly or monthly team gatherings. This way, your sales staff can learn from one another – about pitfalls to avoid and strategies that deliver excellent results. Specifically, recorded calls can help your sales team to:

  • Motivate underperforming sales staff
  • Develop new training programs
  • Identify opportunities to up-sell or cross-sell
  • Recognize unique sales situations and learn ways to deal with them

Survival of the fittest – it’s especially true in the technology sector. Be a survivor – use call recording.

Manufacturing Your Success with Call Recording

Posted by Kevin B. Levi on Sep 19, 2016 11:00:42 AM

Manufacturing companies make widgets – widgets that, in a perfect world, work properly and, with any luck, last a lifetime. That ideal doesn’t always occur: products break, are defective, require maintenance, or become obsolete. When these things happen, one of the first places that companies hear about it is through their contact centers.manufacturing.gif

For manufacturing companies, call recording software can capture critical information that can be used throughout the enterprise to make important business decisions and deliver prompt, responsive customer service. Consider these various contact center interactions and what can be done about them:

  • “I heard about your new product but can’t seem to find it in stores” – send this call to the product marketing or sales department.
  • “I noticed a really bad flaw in your product” – send this call to the product development department.
  • “I want to take advantage of a special offer I saw advertised” – send this call to the marketing department.
  • "I got hurt when I used your product" - send call to customer care and legal teams.

In addition to monitoring calls that come into your contact center, call recording software can be used for proactive sales and marketing campaigns. For example, say you decide to offer free maintenance to customers who renew their annual service contract for your products. Agents can dial out to existing customers to make the offer. You can then:

  • Run a report from the contact center, which can show how many customers were offered the free maintenance contract and how many accepted the offer and renewed.
  • Use the report to assess the campaign’s effectiveness.
  • Analyze the report to see which geographic regions or types of customers are more likely to take advantage of the offer. This information can then be used to structure future campaigns.
  • Consider holding two promotions at the same time; then, you can run reports to determine which promotion performs better.

Recorded calls can also be used to train sales agents to help improve their skills and ensure that they are communicating the appropriate messages and adhering to excellent standards of service quality. They can also be used to determine if there are cross-selling or up-selling opportunities that are being missed.

Call recording software can help you manufacture success, particularly if you’re a manufacturing concern.

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Survey Results: Top 3 Challenges

Posted by Kevin B. Levi on Sep 8, 2016 11:32:59 AM

We asked dozens of call center and customer service professionals to indicate what their top challenges are. Here are the results.


Keeping the “Hospitable” in the Hospitality Industry

Posted by Kevin Levi on Sep 7, 2016 12:03:26 PM

It’s called the “hospitality” industry for a reason. Because when customers deal with a large hotel chain or other leisure-focused enterprise, they expect the very best in service – to be treated courteously, with great respect for their personal time and comfort, and with a can-do attitude towards problem solving.

hospitable.jpgFor many customers, their first encounter with a hospitality enterprise is over the phone, through a call center. These call centers handle everything from family vacation reservations and inquiries to group sales and conference scheduling for multinational companies. For these call centers, two metrics are especially important:

  • High first call resolution (FCR): meaning that a customer’s issue, problem, or request is addressed on the initial call, rather than requiring the customer to call back at another time or be referred to another party; and
  • Low average handle time (AHT): meaning the duration of time a customer must remain on the phone line to get their question answered or problem solved.

Call center managers can monitor these two key metrics by using call recording software. Call recording software can provide detailed, up-to-the-minute information through automatic reports delivered directly to a call center manager’s desktop. These reports, which can be monitored weekly, monthly, or even hourly, can reveal:

  • Real-time information about the call center’s FCR and AHT rates to ensure that targets are being met and to provide alerts when they are not.
  • Insight into agent performance by seeing a report of how agents are doing with respect to high FCR and low AHT; the manager can learn immediately how agents are measuring up to pre-set performance thresholds.
  • Details about high volume times: in particular, which days and/or times of the day might require more (or fewer) agents.

Also, when analyzed on a long-term basis, these reports can reveal geographic data about where the highest volume of callers come from and offer insights into the effectiveness of advertising and marketing campaigns.

In addition to these real-time reports, recorded customer calls – which can be listened to at a later time – can provide valuable information for future training, both of individual agents and for entire groups of agents.

In the dictionary, “hospitality” is defined as the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. Make sure your call center measures up to those words.

Results from 5 OrecX Call Center Surveys!!!

The Agent Attrition Mission

Posted by Scott Bakken on Aug 25, 2016 10:38:24 AM

By Scott Bakken, CEO, MainTrax; and Chris Lawson, Managing Partner, Lawson Concepts

This article appeared previously in the June edition of Contact Center Pipeline.

How Speech Analytics Can Help You Retain Agents and Boost Profits

Baptism by fire. That pretty much sums up the experience of new contact center agents. From day one, agents are expected to understand a wide array of products and services. They’re asked to produce measurable results in an increasingly diverse market, all with little guidance.

The pressure is even greater for contact center managers tasked with keeping frustrated agents from yanking off their headsets and heading for the nearest exit. Despite managers’ best efforts, a high percentage of agents don’t even last 90 days on the job.

In early 2016, a special report published by Strategic Contact titled Contact Center Challenges & Priorities, revealed that more than 24 percent of survey respondents ranked agent attrition as their top challenge. In a related blog post, the company noted that “attrition is an age-old problem in contact centers and may be getting worse as the economy improves and the unemployment rate goes down.”

Cause and Effect

Before you can reduce attrition you first have to understand what causes it. Clearly, lack of agent knowledge and training are primary contributors. Consider what a new hire has to contend with:

  • Digging through the information landfill

With corporate information piling up every year, contact center agents struggle to keep up. In our speech analytics work, we’ve come across PATs (panicked agent timeouts) in hundreds of call screen recordings — either there’s a long silence on the part of the agent or the caller is placed on hold while the agent searches frantically for a particular document in the “information landfill.”

Agents are typically expected to memorize where a number of documents that can answer customer inquiries and solve problems are stored. If the question is A, then search on this web site. If the question is B, try searching the SharePoint site. If you don’t find it there, search the shared network folders. Add an avalanche of emails from the operations staff into the mix, and you end up with an epidemic of information overload that’s crippling contact centers.

  • Saddled with outdated technology and applications

Contact centers often run as many as seven agent desktop applications simultaneously. A number of centers deploy 20 or more applications. Many of these applications are run on legacy systems that were developed more than 30 years ago in a vastly different transaction-based world, whereas today’s environment calls for event-driven applications.

These systems continue to run but haven’t kept up with a high-speed environment. The cost to make significant interface changes can be staggering, so many centers just learn to live with inefficient, out-of-date systems. Settling for old technology comes with a significant cost — it takes a toll on agents, which negatively impacts the customer experience.

  • Excessive amount of mouse clicks

An average mouse click is approximately 225 milliseconds, but those quarter-of-a-second clicks adds up quickly. Plus, it creates a substantial amount of frustration and both physical and mental fatigue for agents who must perform the same procedure or transaction over and over.

A recent discovery session with a financial services client revealed that agents were navigating a 14-page procedural document containing about 1,000 words of text. All the necessary scrolling and switching of apps took an average of 50 clicks.

Helping the client streamline the process with the aid of guided navigation enabled them to reduce the procedure to two pages and the mouse clicks to 14, a savings of nine seconds in mouse clicks. The clients AHT for this call type dropped from 15 minutes to a little over three minutes. That adds up to countless hours saved each and every day, but there’s room for improvement.

Deer in the Headlights

Is it any wonder why new agents often look like a deer in the headlights? Compounding the problem, many new agents – those who are well qualified as well as those who aren’t -- are often rushed through a training process, leaving them to figure out their own best approach to helping customers.

No wonder so many contact centers have virtual revolving doors! Some organizations tell us they deal with annual agent churn rates in the 40 percent range. The tragedy is that many agents who quit are diamonds in the rough who simply needed more guidance. It’s one thing to be put into a live situation without enough training; it’s another thing to feel like you’re stranded on an information-deprived island, cut off from quick and meaningful feedback.

The Impact of High Attrition

The impact of agent attrition, often exacerbated by a lack of quality training and tools, ripples across the contact center, going far beyond the obvious costs of recruiting, hiring and training (up to 30 percent of salary in some cases). As Strategic Contact’s special report notes, “The top challenge of attrition stands out, and the top priorities of performance management/coaching and training align to help tackle that issue.”

We’ve applied our perspective to Strategic Contact’s survey results on challenges (See Figure 1) to identify some attrition symptoms like low first-call resolution, increased call volumes, high abandon rates and low performance scores. These symptoms will almost surely lead to even more critical outcomes like customer churn.


Chart courtesy of Strategic Contact

The results of this survey support what we’ve observed during our years of activity in the industry. It’s astonishing how often organizations do nothing to alleviate significant issues.

Executives need to justify the barriers that keep them from addressing these challenges. They may cite a lack of budget, but that’s difficult to rationalize when a $100,000 investment could save millions.

Reducing Agent Attrition with Speech Analytics

Are agents getting the coaching and training they need to feel confident in their abilities to resolve customers’ issues? Are they provided with the proper knowledge necessary to handle customers effectively? If they’re authorized to make modest script modifications or slightly modify customer handling techniques, how can they use analytics to monitor the results?

Lack of training and lack of knowledge will show up in a wide range of early warning signs. Speech analytics can identify high-value agent tweaks with quick performance results whether you’re coaching quality agents or identifying agents that aren’t a good fit.

Either way, pinpointing agent knowledge gaps and problematic behavior paves the way for coaching opportunities to improve performance, productivity and call-handling strategies. Everybody wins.

There’s no better time to begin analyzing a new agent’s performance than day one. Fortunately, speech analytics makes it possible to analyze all of a new agent’s interactions rather than just spot-checking as time allows.

The key is focusing on specific issues that will make the agent more productive and help resolve matters more efficiently, which eases the burden placed on new agents. Newbies are likely to achieve far greater job satisfaction when they receive quick, productive feedback. Without it, they’re fumbling in the dark.

Here’s a sampling of agent issues that can be monitored by speech analytics. Insights gained will help identify which agents needs extra target training and which might benefit from positive reinforcement. Layering on patterns and combinations of phrases spoken by the customer helps speech analytics deliver even greater context and value. 

  • Lack of Knowledge

Exposing an agent’s inability to solve a customer’s request. 

  • Complaint Handling

Identifying calls in which customers express frustration with a new agent. 

  • Unresolved Issues

Phrases often uttered near the end of a call that suggest the customer’s issue went unanswered. 

  • Unprofessionalism

Identifying slang phrases that may be construed as disrespectful. 

  • Escalation

Phrases uttered by agents who are prone to defer issues rather than owning a situation. 

  • Empathy

Our research shows that agent empathy and a willingness to help can temper the most volatile situation. Praising these agents will go a long way toward retaining them. 

  • Lack of Empathy

A lack of empathy — revealed by evidence that an agent may be confrontational — can be a quick indicator of an agent who might not be a good fit for the organization. 

  • Agent Frustration

Depending upon the type of contact center, an agent’s reactions and behavior may provide clues that they’re not a good fit for the job.

The High Cost of Silence

Organizations like to think of customer experience in their contact centers as a “linear point A to point B” transaction — but it rarely happens that way because of a multitude of variables.

No matter how you envisioned and designed the contact center customer experience, whatever the agent delivers becomes your true customer experience. And when an agent has to place the customer on hold to navigate a “spaghetti path” — toggle between multiple applications, search for information, call a supervisor for help, review data in a spreadsheet — the customer experience is inevitably eroded.

High effort by agents to complete customer inquiries or transactions due to poor desktop performance directly translates into high customer effort. Contact centers can no longer afford to live with poor tools and “spaghetti agent paths” because silence is as costly as it is deadly.

How can you decipher what’s going on while silence reigns so you can reduce the resulting costs? Two words: speech analytics. Many speech platforms provide insight to silence contained within calls — that is, agent silence. Customers focused on getting their issue resolved do most of the talking. But what’s not being said by your agents is just as important to both the enterprise and the customer.

Analytics layered onto audio and screen recordings can reveal how forcing customers to endure the “sounds of silence” for interminable lengths of time impacts the organization in a number of ways.

For starters, agent silence is not only killing your customer experience, it’s also sending your operational costs soaring and pummeling your performance metrics in AHT, FCR and cost per call.

What’s more, all that “dead air” time on the phone significantly contributes to employee attrition and all the associated costs for screening new employees, hiring, onboarding and training. How? Agents who are constantly scrambling to find information in inefficient and outdated systems can get frustrated and burn out quickly. High turnover becomes the norm.

Besides the hard costs, poor agent morale and fatigue takes its toll in other, more subtle ways. Watching their coworkers disappear one by one exacerbates poor morale and anxiety in remaining agents, who give up hope that circumstances will ever improve. As morale plunges, performance suffers.

All these factors point to one inescapable conclusion: there are significant savings to be reaped by using speech analytics to understand the total impact of agent silence.

The voiceprint shown in Figure 1 illustrates a typical customer service interaction with the sine wave clearly showing interaction between customer and agent.

voiceprint_image_for_maintrax_blog.png Figure 1 Typical agent/customer interaction voiceprint

The underlying speech analytics can provide insight into what’s transpiring in the conversation. But let’s compare this voiceprint with the one shown in Figure 2 of another customer interaction.


This call was 6 minutes and 40 seconds in length, but 28 percent of the phone call was silence on the agent’s part. Those four periods of silence equate to roughly 112 seconds for the customer to be on hold or hearing the agent tapping away on a keyboard. Let’s say your AHT is five minutes with a cost per call of $5. If this scenario is occurring on an ultra-conservative 3 percent of 25 million calls annually, you spent an additional $1.25 million for your customers to hear nothing.


Employee satisfaction measurements reflect the culture of your contact center. Understanding your new agents’ attitudes will help you understand their motives and ease their assimilation in even the most high-speed operational environment.

Of course, hiring the right people is the best formula for success. By tracking new hire performance, a business can improve its ongoing recruitment process and reduce early attrition. We’ve been told many times that employing empathetic agents is a great start. Analytics can quickly identify uncompassionate agents who may have slipped through the hiring process before their probationary period ends. At the same time, the personality traits of talented agents can be relayed to the recruiting department, enabling recruiters to identify future candidates who are most likely to succeed.

Understanding what agents are saying in their first days on the job can be a great way to retain the best people and cut your losses early. One executive told us that with today’s Human Resource challenges, the only way he can cut agents loose is if they steal something. We told him that speech analytics would help him find other plausible reasons for firing someone instead of banking on self-selection. It’s hard to dispute a case when you’ve got tangible evidence staring you in the face.

When you use speech tools to monitor your agents early on, the payback can be staggering. Strategic Contact’s compelling research clearly shows the extent of the agent attrition problem. Don’t perpetuate the cycle. Speech can help you build out an agent retention program that leads to more satisfied agents, happier customers and a much healthier bottom line.

My Agent Said What??

Believe it or not, the following statements were actually uttered by agents. You can look forward to more nuggets of agent bloopers at the end of every MainTrax column.

  • “Let me speak with a supervisor before my drugs kick in.”
  • "The policy is on our website somewhere. If you don't like it, call corporate."
  • “My name is spelled with an ‘L’ as in Led Zeppelin.”

About MainTrax

MainTrax is a leading provider of speech analytics managed services to end users and industry partners. Free of allegiance to any one solution or supplier, MainTrax has earned a reputation as an independent, unbiased resource for consulting expertise across a variety of products and providers.

About Lawson Concepts

Lawson Concepts focuses on improving the agent experience and helping contact centers understand their struggles to harness information. Through market-leading technology solutions and services for contact centers and back-office, centers are able to reduce agent fatigue and streamline customer-agent interaction. 



Skinny Dipping: Diving Into Analytics with Only the Bare Necessities

Posted by Scott Bakken on Aug 22, 2016 11:46:17 AM

As appeared in Feb. 2016 Contact Center Pipeline

By Scott Bakken, MainTrax Founder and Partner

While placing my order for a $2,000 fish-finding tool, I envisioned walleyes jumping into my boat faster than I could toss them in my cooler. After a few frustrating afternoons on the water, I realized I would have been just as well off with a simple $149 model. Shelling out two grand for a tool loaded with bells and whistles would make sense if I were deep-sea fishing for tarpon. But deploying it for walleye was like using a bazooka to kill a mosquito.121_30AUG.jpg

Depending on what information they’re looking to reel in, contact centers investing in “big data” may also experience buyer’s remorse. Big data is all the rage these days but for many organizations, big data is overkill. What it often produces is big expenses and big headaches.

Indeed, big data, which is engineered to optimize predictive analytics and other sophisticated methods for extracting value from unstructured information, requires a big, big effort. Collecting a critical mass of data and gaining clarity about how to massage it to achieve predetermined objectives is a big job in itself. The processing piece that comes next demands highly skilled analysts who know how to discern operational subtleties and find the proverbial needles in an endless supply of data-stuffed haystacks. That’s a tall order for organizations of any size, much less contact centers whose size and budget don’t allow them to even consider jumping on the big data bandwagon.

Go Lean

A better option? Skinny data. More specifically, skinny speech data. Unlike big data, which is essentially a collection of data sets so large and complex that they become awkward to work with using traditional database management tools, we can define skinny data as solving specific problems around targeted business issues with minimal supporting data.

A data source that’s particularly well suited for skinny data applications is speech analytics, which enables you to move from data creation to easy-to-interpret results to business decision faster than you can say, “I can’t believe how inexpensive this is.” In fact, valuable “skinny” bits of information are probably in the speech tool you’re already using.

Leveraging skinny speech data can help contact centers improve agent effectiveness, minimize compliance risk, capitalize on selling opportunities, identify complaint trends, reduce customer churn, decrease operational costs and mine rich new veins of business intelligence.

Conversations I had with data science executives from two large insurance companies demonstrate the folly of pursuing big data when skinny data can get the job done quickly and efficiently. The first executive told me he wanted to process large customer data sets to predict churn using voice, text, e-mail, demographics, tenure, surveys and other forms of data.

The second executive was confident he could leverage speech analytics to generate valuable insights about churn and other business issues. He told me, “We already have so much big data that we don’t know what levers to pull right now. I just need some basic information that’s aligned with our KPIs (key performance indicators).”

Bingo. Skinny data can help you cross the finish line while big data is still generating a multitude of reports that are just as likely to confuse as impress. The contrast is stark: why sink $1 million or more into an enterprise CRM when actionable targeted analytics can be achieved by simply combining customer interactions and sales data?

Granted, if you want your analysis to uncover issues that are currently unknown and unanticipated, that’s a job for big data. But skinny speech data is ideally suited to boost contact center profitability by applying basic but effective methodologies to issues like First Call Resolution (FCR), root cause of calls, uninformed or unprofessional agents and customer frustration.

Skinny Speech Studies

A speech analytics pilot study built around an important business issue can help you discern the why behind the what and serve as a catalyst for change. For instance, if your rate of repeat calls is trending upward, an exploratory study can help identify the root cause of the higher rate and provide the necessary insights to take corrective measures.

Start your study by identifying an issue that relates directly to your KPIs, then spend two or three weeks searching through agent-customer conversations to find calls that support the study’s objectives.

Next, fill a bucket with 75 to 100 relevant recordings to share with your company’s decision makers. Invite them to sit around a table and listen to selected calls. Actually hearing the voice of the customer is far more impactful than reading reports or interpreting a set of dashboards.

Presenting the study with a compelling narrative interspersed with skinny pieces of data—snippets of audio and nuggets of analysis—can build awareness, initiate discussion and move your team to action.



Unlike long, complex initiatives that take nine to twelve months and produce results that don’t always justify the expense of producing them, skinny speech projects can generate fast, low-cost wins in four weeks or less and demonstrate to key stakeholders that your speech software is generating a healthy ROI.


About MainTrax

MainTrax is a leading provider of speech analytics managed services to end users and industry partners. Free of allegiance to any one solution or supplier, MainTrax has earned a reputation as an independent, unbiased resource for consulting expertise across a variety of products and providers.

Call Center Analytics 101: Finding the Right Tool for the Job

Posted by Lorenzo Emilitri on Aug 5, 2016 11:52:52 AM

Running a call center takes more than just connecting a set of agents to your office Asterisk PBX. At the very moment you start working, you realize that you need a set of tools to make sense of what is going on. This is true not only for large call centers, but even when you start having one person answering the phone, it does make sense to ask questions like: are we doing what is expected from us? Are we living up to our standards of quality? And most importantly: are people happy about the interactions they have with us? Lorenzo_Emilitri_Loway_CEO.png

Because if they don’t, we are sooner or later in for an unpleasant surprise.

The big problem here is that you get no intuitive sense of what is going on in a room with agents talking on the phone; and so you need tools to augment your intuitive perception. And as things grow, or you start having agents working remotely, the problem gets even more serious.

At Loway, we believe that a tool to keep track of what is going on should have four main areas of concern:

  • A real-time view
  • A historical reporting mode
  • An agent’s page
  • A Quality Assessment module

The real-time view lets you see what is currently going on. It should be able to scale up and down at different levels of detail, in order to power wallboards and to communicate the current status of teams and of the call queues they serve to team leaders, so that they take corrective actions quickly. A defining feature here is the ability to use the real-time view as a communication platform to send feedback to agents, and to be able to “barge-in” to live calls in order to actively inspect problem situations as they unfold.

The historical reports are the bread and butter of call center analytics. What is important here is not so much the number of computed analyses, but the ease of making sense of what is going on, and the capabilities to drill down with searches in order to pinpoint specific issues. It is very important to be able to integrate with call recorders, so that the details of any specific call are just a click away; and to be able to retrieve different kinds of documents related to each call – e.g. video recordings, or chat transcripts, up to the CRM form.

The agent’s page (or agent toolbar) is a very important function that your call-center monitoring tools should provide. Even if this is not strictly speaking a monitoring function, using an agent’s page greatly facilitates feeding the monitoring backend; plus, an agent’s page allows a degree of interaction that would not be feasible using a phone’s limited numeric keyboard. For example, it is far easier for an agent to select a call outcome or a pause code out of a drop-down list than entering it as a numeric code, and this means you can have codes that are more specific. Also, when working on multiple queues, it is not easy joining / leaving them using a numeric keyboard. An important feature here is that the page should be web-based and will ideally include a soft-phone: it will act as a launching point for your CRM applications, and will reduce your TCO because agent workstations do not need additional software and can be blank, interchangeable workstations.

The Quality Assessment (QA) module is your secret weapon to effectively manage your call center. By reviewing call recordings, you can create a quality profile for each call; and by aggregating these call profiles you can understand the strengths and weaknesses of each individual agent, and of the service you offer. It is important to have a tool that is flexible enough to create scoring forms and rules that effectively match your business goals and targets; and it is also important that the calls to be reviewed are selected automatically based on both attributes of the call (e.g. the queue, the call outcome) and of the agent who processed it. An automated selection process is important to avoid any bias human reviewers may have towards “interesting” situations (calls that are long, or short, or are known issues) as they may not tell the whole store about what the agent is actually doing. The QA process is often used to analyze QA data gathered directly and automatically from callers, e.g. by using a post-call IVR, in order to directly measure perceived client satisfaction.

At Loway, we strongly believe that quality is the result of a continuous learning process powered by objective measurement. During the last 10 years, we have seen organizations learn and improve, turning this process into an asset to outperform the competition by simultaneously reducing costs and improving the service offered. Whatever the size of your Call Center, there is no excuse not to do it.

Article by Lorenzo Emilitri, founder of Loway.




Topics: asterisk, call recording, analytics