monitoring agents on predictive dialer

Monitoring Agents: Are Your Agents Performing? Are They Even Trying To?

Someone was having trouble monitoring agents. Supervisors couldn’t listen to their agents. It was a simple issue to fix, and the tech logged in to make sure that listening to live calls worked. Let’s call this tech Bill.

The first agent Bill attached to was not in a live call. She engaged in chit-chat with someone nearby. A beep played, indicating a connected call. The agent went silent.

What???

This site did predictive dialing. An agent would connect to the system, and the dialer would dial leads, connecting calls to agents as people answered. The predictive part was the dialer took the length of time that current dials had been ringing, the hit rate, and the number of waiting agents to decide the right number of calls that it should initiate at any given moment.

With predictive dialing, the call center can go through expensive leads quickly. Monitoring agents is hugely important.

The beep of a new call meant it was “go time”. Someone had answered their phone. A successful call requires a quick response from the agent. But in this case, the agent remained silent.

The customer said “Hello?”

The agent did not reply.

Twice more, “Hello?”

Nothing from the agent side.

A click signalled the end of the call. The agent resumed chatting. She didn’t sound like she was surprised that the call had not gone well. There was no talk of audio problems, or ghost calls, or anything like that at all.

Assuming there must have been some sort of glitch Bill had missed, he waited for the next call.

Beep.

“Hello? Hello?!”

Click.

Silence from the agent when it mattered, conversation when there was no customer to talk to.

Bill switched to another agent. That agent was in a call with a client. Then the call was over.

Not surprisingly, the second agent also mentioned something to someone nearby. A beep interrupted her. No sooner had the customer said “Hello” than the agent started to speak to the customer.

Bill dropped off that call and listened to a few more agents. Everything was working well. Finally, he returned to the original agent. He sat there, listening with his jaw hanging down, for 15 minutes. Not once did this agent speak to a customer.

Bill reported that the system was working, and mentioned that they might want to monitor the agent he had listened to.

The following week, Bill was closing everything down related to that ticket, and logged in again to make sure everything was still good.

He checked one or two agents and found things to be in order. Curious about what he had heard the previous week, he connected to the agent who didn’t speak to customers.

A week had made no difference to her behaviour. She was talkative until she was connected to a live call. It’s like the beep and the disembodied voice on the line shocked her into silence, and only the end of the call could put her back in the right frame of mind to speak with others.

So …

There was an agent, taking time and resources, receiving pay, and doing nothing other than aggravating customers. Well, there’s also the possibility she was making agents around her less efficient as she gossiped with them.

Someone like that is nothing but a drain on your operation.

How can you prevent this from happening?

Monitoring Agents

This agent probably answered calls as supervisors strolled her way. Listening to live calls makes that sort of behaviour clear.

But you don’t need to catch them in the act.

If you’re doing call recordings, those work just as well. If you find a bunch of 30-second recordings which consist only of some poor soul saying “Hello? Hello?”, then you have someone worth monitoring. Maybe firing. At some point, they can’t say they were having audio issues if they haven’t complained about them.

Most agent issues aren’t as blatant. Listening live or to recordings offers a lot of material for coaching agents. The Indosoft “Listen to Live Calls” page offers the ability to enter “Whisper” mode, where the supervisor can speak directly to the agent without the customer overhearing.

Monitoring agents, agent reports, call disposition reports, and other reports allow you to discover how well your call center is doing as a whole, or simply how well your agents are performing.

How does listening to agents work?

The admin pages offer a “Listen to agents” page, with three options selectable. Listen, Whisper, and Record. In Listen mode, you’re just there to hear the call. Neither party can hear you.

In Whisper mode, you can talk to the agent if you want, without the other party hearing you. That allows you to coach the agent while while monitoring agents.

There’s also a dialplan component you can use. Agents can be assigned a Listen ID. The dialplan takes the Listen ID and maps it to an agent session. This allows supervisors to connect to agents via their phones instead of using the screen. Some users also set up a DID so their own clients can monitor calls to their campaigns.

The “Listen” component is campaign-safe so you can let clients listen to their calls while blocking them from hearing calls on other campaigns. This also addresses the privacy issues that arise from being able to listen to agent conversations outside calls (like in the story that began this article).