The contact center industry’s transition to flexible work arrangements has introduced new complexities for frontline managers. With agents working from home, full or part time, it can be difficult to monitor their interactions with customers, track their productivity, provide timely feedback and coaching, and do so in real time. Managers have found it difficult to assess and improve work quality as it happens, rather than relying on post-work reports or summaries.
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This is where analytics comes in. Analytics provides continuous visibility into your team’s performance, whether they are working on-site or from home. It has proven more effective than traditional methods like direct supervision or “walking the floor.” Why? Contact center analytics offer comprehensive data analysis and real-time performance monitoring, enabling managers to promptly identify agents who are struggling or out of compliance, and proactively address potential conflicts to prevent them from escalating.
It begins with access to the appropriate data.
Traditional KPIs are just part of the picture
Collecting relevant data is the first step toward understanding remote agent performance. Contact center key performance indicators (KPIs) such as average handle time, hold time, and customer satisfaction offer valuable insights into how well agents handle customer inquiries. However, these provide only a partial view and do not address the specific challenges of a remote environment.
To accurately evaluate your work-from-home team, it is vital to go beyond the traditional metrics and address the typical concerns that arise when managers lack visibility into their agents’ activities, such as: Are they at their workstations available to handle transactions when scheduled? Are they struggling to find information or resources? Do they know how to efficiently and effectively navigate systems? Are they maintaining the appropriate tone and manner when interacting with customers?
Here are some strategies to address these types of remote management issues.
- Schedule adherence: Agents must stick to their scheduled hours and breaks to ensure optimal efficiency and resource utilization. However, management often struggles to monitor and maintain adherence in a remote setting where it’s easier for team members to get distracted, and agents can easily lose track of time. Not being able to visually confirm if agents are at their workstations or returning from breaks on time adds to this concern.
- Silence percentage: The amount of silence on a call indicates when an agent faces challenges finding information, experiences technical difficulties, or lacks engagement with the customer. A higher percentage of silence can suggest that an agent needs additional training or resources to effectively handle the customer’s inquiries.
- Quality: Managers can use interaction analytics to automatically score interactions based on predefined criteria, such as adherence to script guidelines or tone of voice. This provides a more objective and consistent way to track the quality of remote agent interactions, which can be difficult to assess without proper tools.
- Desktop activity: Capturing and monitoring agents’ desktop activity is valuable for assessing their familiarity with contact center applications, adherence to procedures, and proficiency in navigating internal systems. Monitoring desktop activity also helps identify training gaps and inefficiencies in processes and workflows.
- Customer sentiment: Sentiment analysis provides a quick way to evaluate interaction quality and detect any issues that might affect the customer experience in real-time. For instance, if a significant number of calls handled by an agent in the past hour reflect negative customer sentiment, the manager can promptly notify the agent and investigate potential causes, such as a faulty microphone or internet problems at home.
Analytics tools to enhance remote performance
From tracking productivity and communication to measuring engagement and performance, analytics tools offer deeper insights into behaviors, patterns, and knowledge gaps. The following tools are particularly useful for monitoring and optimizing performance when teams are distributed.
- Real-time monitoring: Providing managers with immediate visibility into agents’ activities allows them to quickly identify and address potential issues before they can escalate. A proactive approach prevents negative impacts on customer experience and ensures optimal agent performance.
- Automated alerts: Analytics can generate automated alerts when it identifies anomalies or potential performance issues with remote agents, such as deviations from schedules or negative customer sentiment. By doing so, managers are empowered to promptly address and resolve these concerns, preventing them from escalating and ensuring uninterrupted customer service.
- Speech analytics: Speech analytics improves remote agent performance by enabling real-time feedback, facilitating targeted training, pinpointing process and operational issues, utilizing machine learning for real-time sentiment analysis, and enhancing customer experience by identifying and addressing their needs proactively.
- Predictive analytics: By analyzing historical data and behavioral patterns, predictive analytics enhances remote agent performance in several ways: forecasting call volumes for efficient staffing, providing data-driven feedback through speech analytics, identifying patterns to prepare agents for customer interactions, and analyzing past trends to strategize for future improvements.
- Intraday analytics: In the fast-paced contact center environment, every second counts. With access to a constant data flow, managers can quickly detect errors and identify distinctive customer behaviors. This empowers them to manage risks, make real-time schedule adjustments based on call volumes, enhance overall contact center efficiency, and balance workload to achieve optimal service levels.
Practical application: Active performance management is essential for efficient contact center operations whether agents are remote or on-site. LiveVox’s Work Queue is a comprehensive solution that allows managers to track various tasks from start to finish, including scheduling, eLearning, coaching, and acknowledgment tasks. The Work Queue Performance Report provides detailed insights into all tasks, such as their status and assignment, aiding in thorough performance evaluation. In addition, integration with the Workforce Engagement Management solution allows supervisors to send alerts directly to the agent’s Work Queue, fostering a proactive approach to performance management.
Making data more digestible
There’s no denying that applying analytics to contact center and performance data yields valuable insights. Yet, the real challenge is making this information easy to understand. This is where data visualization tools come into play, simplifying complex data sets into clear and digestible graphs and charts. These tools help managers to quickly identify trends and patterns, saving time and enabling clear and actionable communication of performance metrics to agents.
Embedded dashboards, for example, refer to data visualization tools that are seamlessly integrated into pre-existing software applications. They simplify the process of interpreting analytics, making it more efficient and user-friendly. These dashboards increase efficiency by allowing users to access and interact with data within their working environment, eliminating the need to switch between applications.
By providing the most critical data at a glance, dashboards enable quicker, more informed decision-making. Customizable to fit specific user needs and workflows, they simplify the user interface for better navigation and understanding of data. Additionally, embedded dashboards democratize data, making it more accessible to non-technical users and fostering a data-driven culture across the organization.
Real-time reporting dashboards are another helpful tool, particularly in a remote or hybrid work environment. These interactive data visualization platforms offer immediate access to KPIs as they occur, providing a comprehensive view of agent performance, call handling time, service level, and customer sentiment scores. The benefit of these dashboards lies in their ability to enable swift identification of trends and potential issues, allowing managers to take prompt action. They also enhance agent performance by offering immediate feedback and actionable insights. By consolidating various data points into one platform, these dashboards simplify the overview of call center operations, improving customer service and operational efficiency.
Integrated platforms can overlay other key data, such as customer information from CRM systems, ticketing data, quality management, and business intelligence, providing a holistic understanding of overall performance and customer experience.
Alongside various information viewing and access methods, automated alerts and alerting tools are essential in making data more digestible. These real-time notification systems, triggered by predefined criteria related to call center operations, simplify the process of monitoring key performance metrics. By highlighting potential issues as they occur and automating monitoring tasks, these tools enable swift problem resolution and free up managers’ time for other responsibilities, thereby enhancing overall call center efficiency and customer service quality.
Alerting tools are also essential for surfacing important data and instantly delivering it across the organization. For example, if there is a sudden increase in inquiries about a potential data breach, an alert can be promptly dispatched to the appropriate team for investigation. This ensures that the relevant departments do not overlook vital information and allows for prompt action to be taken.
In essence, making data digestible isn’t just about simplifying it. It involves leveraging dashboards, reporting, and alerting tools to make the data more impactful and drive results. You can optimize your remote agent performance and improve overall business operations by transforming your contact center data into strategic insights.
What’s next for agent performance analytics?
As flexible work arrangements become the norm, contact centers must adapt their analytics strategies to monitor and manage remote and hybrid team performance effectively. AI and machine learning can provide even deeper insights, allowing predictive analytics to identify potential issues before they arise. Additionally, integrating collaboration tools and communication platforms with analytics data can provide a more comprehensive view of agent performance.
Leveraging analytics in contact centers is not just about measuring KPIs but also about using the data to drive better performance and improve customer satisfaction. By empowering agents with insights into their performance and adapting to the distributed work environment, contact centers can continue to thrive in this evolving industry.
Ready to elevate remote agent performance? Our advanced data analytics solutions are just a click away. Contact us today and discover how you can empower your remote agents with the insights they need to excel.
By Nick Morris, Senior Director of Data Analytics, LiveVox