What to listen to in sample call recordings from a BPO?

Reviewing call sample quality is more than just taking recordings and analyzing random calls.

May 2023

According to Forbes, 96% of customers will leave if they receive poor service. While most are willing to endure a few less-than-ideal interactions, they won’t keep doing business if the service is consistently subpar. This blog will go over some of the key things to listen to when evaluating call samples from your current, or potential BPO partners.

“”Customer service isn’t just about ensuring satisfaction, de-escalating tense situations or giving away freebies. While we know these things are important, customer care solutions are intended to take things further. Call centers should strive to make emotional connections so customers feel valued—that’s what brand loyalty is all about.””

Forbes Business Council

To measure call quality, you’ll want to monitor and analyze strategic customer service calls and scrutinize their efficiency and effectiveness, with the constant goal of turning every caller into a satisfied customer.

You need to develop a checklist of what you (and, by proxy, your customers) are going to place value on. And while the critical factors can vary for each contact center, there are several elements that will consistently show up in the structure of a high-quality voice interaction:

Greetings and Tonality of the agent

  • Everyone’s tone naturally changes depending on how their day is going and who they are talking to.
  • The important thing to listen to is if agents use a tone that matches the caller.
  • A proper tone helps create empathy and helps to move the conversation along. Look for a confident and upbeat tone.

Speech cadence / A normal speaking speed

  • As tempting as it can be, agents should avoid either talking slowly to be better understood or quickly to get the interaction over. In either case, it’s not what you want to hear in a call. The wrong cadence can make the customer feel talked down to. instead, listen for agents speaking as normally as possible—not too slowly or too quickly. Speaking normally can also help your agents listen better.
  • They should also not be afraid to change their speed based on the caller they are dealing with (listening skills); for example, the default language might not be their primary language, or they might have hearing issues, so a slower speed might actually be appropriate here.

Building and maintaining rapport with the caller

  • Establishing a connection with the caller is something they desire, to feel that they are being cared for and that your agent wants to help solve their problem. Developing this during the call creates respect and understanding and is crucial to a successful call.
  • There are a few tips for building rapport and fostering this connection:
    • ice breaking – the first few moments of any call set the mood; listen for agents doing this and disarm the caller.
    • Careful Listening – this is covered in the next section.
    • mirroring – listen for a demonstration of empathy, duplicate their tone, and show that the caller and agent are on the same page.

Listening and asking the right questions

  • Ensure that the questions being asked by the agent are meaningful to the purpose of the call.
  • There are three main types of questions and their role in helping both the caller and the agent:
    • open: Questions that get conversations going and help identify the prime reason for the contact quickly while developing rapport and showing empathy.
    • Probing: This type of agent enables to dig deeper into the answers the caller is giving and obtaining more specific details as to why they are calling.
    • Closed: Yes or no questions to confirm that the agent understands the caller and is addressing the issues effectively.

Using the right type of language/vocabulary for the call

  • The words themselves are not always important. Are the agents blindly, reading a script dully, or are they developing skills to inject a bit of their own and the company’s personality into the call? Listen to see if they are being themselves, building rapport with the caller by being more personable, and helping alleviate any frustration the caller may be dealing with.

Account/Contact Information Verification

  • Are your agents being provided or verifying up front the caller’s information to avoid a repeated collection of data?
  • Listen to see if the agent has to obtain caller data more than once showing improper data collection, longer call times, and frustration on the caller’s side.

Demonstrating empathy and emotional intelligence

  • Listen for agents who can anticipate customer requests and deliver clear explanations and justifications (educating the caller).
  • Showing empathy and offering personal information to the caller to develop and maintain rapport with the caller.

Management of caller expectations

  • Callers chose this channel due to a desire for a fast resolution. You should listen to agents showing an understanding of the caller’s expectations and priorities.
  • Expectations can evolve or change over time, and so will customers’ needs and ever-changing issues with what the program is supporting.

Scripting and where to go off-script

  • As mentioned above, you want to hear agents injecting a little personality, not making calls that feel like a student reading a story out loud in class. Listen for agents who know how to deviate slightly comfortably and intelligently from the script when the conditions call or allow.
  • Listen to ensure that callers are not being subjected to a strict scriptthis will damage the relationship, making the caller feel like they are not being listened to and are just another stat.

Call Center Etiquette

  • Is there a consistency among interactions?
  • Listen to a few calls on the same program, and see to make sure that every customer receives the consistent level of care a well-run program fosters.

Solid close-out of the call and follow-up

  • Did the agent follow the appropriate procedures to try and achieve a first call resolution
  • Did they provide the caller with clear explanations/instructions/follow-up as needed?
  • Was the call resolved?
  • Did they ask if the caller had any other need of help/questions, or if they were satisfied?
  • Did they thank the caller and then wait for the caller to hang up first?

On average, customers who have a high-quality experience are 2.7 times more likely to keep doing business with a brand than customers who have a low-quality experience.

“The ROI of Customer Experience Transformation” by Forrester; The Importance of a Business Case

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