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Coordinated Systems, Inc. Offers Advice on Improving Agent Training


TMCnews Featured Article

August 08, 2008

Coordinated Systems, Inc. Offers Advice on Improving Agent Training

By Tim Gray, TMCnet Web Editor

As the Call Center industry continues to evolve companies are continually looking for ways to better and more efficiently train agents.
Coordinated Systems, Inc., a call recording and quality monitoring leader, says it has the answer: the “Top Ten Ways Virtual Observer Creates Better Trained Agents.”
The tips provide a unique  overview of how the Virtual Observer call center quality monitoring suite is capable of  improving the performance of a company’s call center team, according to Rich Marcia, marketing director of Coordinated Systems, Inc.

For starters, says Marcia, Virtual Observer provides the ability for agents to hear themselves speak. “Even the best agents make mistakes. Most don’t even realize when they’re making them. Playing back recorded interactions will enlighten them. When an agent first hears themselves going “Uhmmmm…” you can see the funny look on their face as they think, “that’s what I sound like?” Chances are after they realize that there IS room for improvement, they will embrace the opportunity to do just that,” he said.
Another advantage is Virtual Observer’s screen capture functionality allows for greater understanding of how agents use their applications.
Although the technology is certainly capable of nabbing solitaire players or Web surfers during business hours, its capabilities extend beyond that can also be used to watch an agent navigate through a CRM while helping a customer on the phone.
This time- saving process can be made after observing CRM usage with screen capture, and especially video- mode screen capture where every on screen movement is captured, not just stills, can have a huge impact on ROI.
Jason Phillipson, director of Planning for Customer Operations at Harry&David, says implementing CSI’s services immediately helped streamline company operations.
"One of the immediate benefits was our ability to monitor that large influx of new associates we have at our season,” said Phillipson. “Being able to give them feedback on their performance quickly and correct areas where they are having trouble has lower our attrition, during that critical period, and saved us money."
In addition, the evaluation functionalities speed up the learning curve. Before the evaluation process was automated, supervisors had to sit side-by-side with employees, take notes, fill out spreadsheets, develop training material and provide feedback to employees and compile reports for management.
“If this process took three hours, the automated process takes three minutes. That’s not an exact calculation, of course, but you get the picture. Even worse, recording calls without an evaluation element keeps you from improving at the rapid pace that is available to you,” said Marcia.
Now, the Virtual Observer reports make it easy for company’s to identify employee strengths and weaknesses, and also to identify where agents need training. It also comes pre-loaded with agent performance reports that can identify where employees are struggling, even where entire groups falter across the board. “This is key in developing relevant training materials that focus on specific problems,” said Marcia.
The E-learning features allow supervisors to send targeted training materials to agents and once you’ve completed some evaluations and identified where employees need training, you then will have to set out to work on the areas they need help on.
John Patterson, a Call Center manager with Maverik, provided a real-world example of how Virtual Observer helped his company.
“VO helped solve an internal dispute between a store and a CSR (News - Alert) over perceived ‘rudeness.’ A store manager had called in for help from a customer service rep. The manager claimed the service person was "extremely rude,” said Patterson.

After reviewing the recorded call, Maverik was able to clearly make a ruling on the dispute and clear the rep of misconduct, he added.
That means after creating training materials, deployment of the appropriate content to the specific employee can be automated via “E-Learning” functionality. Confirmation of completion is then sent back to the supervisor after the employee has viewed his training material.
The much talked about Virtual Observer’s “packaging” features enable companies  to create a "greatest hits" list of the best and worst call examples and provides the ability to grab recorded events and organize them together for training purposes. Users can then publish their package to the Web, a shared network drive or burned to CD. They can also create a group of events related to a similar training theme, or even a “greatest hits” collection of stellar service calls sure to impress the executives.
Perhaps one of the beigest benefits from Virtual Observer is it can reduce turnover and stagnation by providing a measurable means of improvement.
“A good quality monitoring system such as Virtual Observer can provide managers with the ability to focus in on skill areas where employees need help,” said Marcia. “Implemented properly, a Virtual Observer can provide a continuous improvement of agent performance. Agents will grow less frustrated and stagnant. As their skills improve, so will their ability to get to the next level.”
A successful quality monitoring implementation enables teams to work toward common goals and expectations and should not be implemented without first having everyone on board with both the concept and the goals.
Indeed, both management and employees should have common goals, expectations and metrics – the momentum of a cohesive team effort will often empower the ability to exceed those goals.
Marcia says the Virtual Observer can affect your entire organization. Customized reports can allow you to determine if training needs are for individuals, teams, or the entire organization
“Having the ability to focus in on training requirements for individual agents is one benefit of a solid reporting mechanism, but quality monitoring reports should also allow you to examine your teams’ deficiencies, and organizational problems across the board. This will allow you to deploy individual, team and company-wide training programs and improve overall call center performance,” said Marcia.
In the end, Virtual Observer can rapidly deliver a return on investment and once a quality monitoring program has been implemented, the return on investment can be realized very quickly. This translates to the bottom line via more upsells, saves and new sales, less turnover, faster training cycle time for new hires, and much more.

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Tim Gray is a Web Editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Tim’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

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