Improve the customer experience with call monitoring

Ensure the customer experience with call monitoring.

A guide to call monitoring software and its benefits

For customer service, live chat, messaging, and chatbots are the new and fastest-growing service channels. But there’s a reason phone support isn’t growing as much—it already dominates. According to our data, voice is still one of the most popular service channels available.

But just because call centers are well-established doesn’t mean they’re not evolving. A case in point is call monitoring software, which enables agents and supervisors to listen to and learn from past customer conversations, guide new agents in real-time, and take over when a support call has gone astray.

On this page, we’ll dive deep into the world of call monitoring software.

What is call monitoring?

Call monitoring is recording technology that creates an audio recording of phone conversations between customers and support agents. Generally speaking, customer service departments record calls to facilitate training for new agents and collect customer feedback. In addition to creating recordings, call monitoring can allow other employees (like a supervisor) to listen in real-time to a support call without alerting customers or agents.

How does call monitoring software work?

Call monitoring software works in two ways. It enables supervisors to listen in on agent conversations in real-time and it automatically records support conversations for on-demand listening. Most business phone software that you come across will include call monitoring features as a native functionality.

Who uses call monitoring software in a call center?

Service agents, supervisors, managers, and any other day-to-day employees of a call center may use call monitoring software. Supervisors and managers use the software in real-time and on-demand so they can provide feedback to agents on handling specific situations. Service agents may also use recordings from call monitoring software to give themselves a chance to listen to and learn from their previous calls.

Call center monitoring software features

Call listening, recording, and barge/takeover

Call listening, recording, and call takeover are three of the most fundamental features of a call monitoring system. Call recording records calls answered by an agent, calls transferred to an external number by an agent (which is an option that can be toggled off), and voicemails. While takeover/barge is the ability for a manager to join or take over calls when an agency needs to escalate.

Analytics and auditing

Call monitoring is all about gleaning additional information from support calls. So it’s key that your monitoring system has functions for exporting and analyzing call data in detail. That way, you can splice data based on length of call time, successful resolutions, and more. Some solutions also provide scorecards for supervisors to score agent performance in real-time or immediately after listening to the live call.

Informative call dashboards

Call software in general should have an intuitive call dashboard where managers and agents have all the information and functions they need at their fingertips. This is especially true when it comes to call monitoring software because managers are often coming into a call fresh with little to no information. Zendesk’s call monitoring, for example, includes:

  • All ongoing calls at a glance
  • Information about the call such as the agent’s name, their group, and any tickets related to the call.
  • Call type and duration
  • Functions to listen in on agent conversations, record calls, and/or take over the call.

What are the benefits of call monitoring?

Support new members of your team

Being an agent in a call center isn’t a piece of cake—it’s hard. Call center monitoring software is an essential tool for supporting new agents in real-time and in training sessions. Not only can supervisors provide real-time feedback, but newer agents can also learn from seasoned agents by listening to their calls or certain parts of their calls. In short, call monitoring makes it possible for supervisors, managers, and agents to support and learn from each other. And with the call listening feature in Zendesk, remote managers and agents can listen in on calls from anywhere they have internet access.

Focus on quality over quantity

As support teams scale and ticket volume explodes, it’s all too easy to take shortcuts. One of the most common shortcuts is not dedicating the proper time and resources to training and quality assurance. Call center monitoring software doubles as an invaluable quality assurance and training tool. Supervisors can spot-check agents from time to time by listening in on their calls and double-checking that agents are performing to company standards. That way, no matter how large your operation grows, you’ll always have your eye on quality over quantity.

Feedback from the source

Analytics, interviews, and surveys are a great way to collect information about your customers. But if you can layer in data from recordings of real customer conversations to your analysis, you’ll gain invaluable insights into what drives, inspires, frustrates, and delights your customers. This is especially valuable for managers who are often too busy supervising to have many customer interactions. With call monitoring, managers can jump onto a call and gain raw data straight from the source of customer and agent experience.

How to choose a call center monitoring system

Current and future fit

For better or worse, software purchases, including call monitoring systems, often come about as a result of a pressing need. So the purchaser often feels pressure to source software that solves the immediate need. But if at all possible, you always want to choose a call center monitoring system based on how it will serve your team in the future as well as the present. After all, teams, products, markets, and service strategies are always in a constant state of flux. Your call monitoring solution should be flexible enough to work for your team as it evolves.

Expected service quality improvements

Whether you explicitly ask yourself or not, we all have one question in mind when we make a purchase. That question is: “What’s in it for me?”

Purchasing a call center monitoring system is no different. Except that we can be a little more specific with the question. So the question becomes: “What service quality improvements are in it for me?” The answer will differ based on your organization and goals, but the most important thing is for it to be clear and specific.

Time-to-value (TTV)

A successful software purchase doesn’t just depend on the software’s capabilities and price. What’s just as important to a good purchase is finding software that your organization can and will deploy, use, and evolve with. And accomplishing that requires software that your colleagues can extract value from as quickly as possible.

That way, people can start to experience the value of your solution for themselves which will vastly accelerate adoption among your team, executives, and any other important stakeholders.

Frequently asked questions

What are the types of call monitoring?

The main types of call monitoring are:

  • Real-time call monitoring, also sometimes called “double listening”
  • On-demand call recording

Each type of call monitoring has its place, and many organizations use both at different times. On-demand call monitoring is ideal for going over and learning from past conversations. Real-time is best for managers who want to listen and instantly provide feedback on support calls.

What is real-time call monitoring?

Real-time call monitoring is a function that service agents and supervisors can use to listen in on support conversations as they’re happening. Rather than creating an on-demand call recording, real-time call monitoring enables a supervisor (or another agent) to listen in “real-time” to a call between an agent and a customer.

How much does call center monitoring software cost?

Generally speaking, call center monitoring software is available for purchase as a feature (or set of features) in a call center system with broader functionality. And, the direct cost of your call center system depends on the number of phone numbers, users, features, and the software delivery model.

Cloud-based call center phone systems are the most affordable, with plans that include call monitoring ranging from $20 to $150 per month per user with one-time development costs of a few thousand and usage fees of approximately $0.10 per minute and up.

Are monitored calls recorded?

Monitored calls may or may not be recorded. You can configure a call monitoring system to enable supervisors to monitor calls in real-time without creating a recording of the call. Or you can set the software up to record only certain calls. In short, whether monitored calls are also recorded depends completely on the configuration of the call monitoring system.

Try call center monitoring for free

Connecting with your customers is a prerequisite for sustained business success. And nothing gets you connected to your customers like using call monitoring software to listen to their needs, wants, and frustrations during support calls.

With Zendesk, you can get your service teams set up to monitor and learn from calls on-demand and in real-time, collaborate on live support calls without disrupting the flow of the conversation, and analyze historical call data to glean strategic insights for planning and training.

So what are you waiting for? Try Zendesk’s call monitoring solution today.