Monitoring the Customer and Agent Experience


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It’s happened to everyone—that bad experience with customer service that you shared with all your friends. The call where you had to wait “on hold” forever. The call where the agent wasn’t very helpful in addressing your issue and even he was frustrated by the tools he had to work with. The call that made you think, “Maybe I should take my business elsewhere.”

Now imagine that contact center is part of your company.

Companies are feeling the pain of today’s lackluster economy, which usually shows itself within their contact centers. Contact centers are being downsized, relocated and even closing, which unavoidably impacts the customer service a company is capable of delivering. Even with a limited budget, organizations should never lose sight of the fact that contact centers play a significant role in determining what customers think of a company. It is easier and more cost-effective to keep a customer than it is to secure a new one.

Monitoring real customer and agent experiences enables a company to gain a clear understanding of their customers’ perceptions.

A national provider of satellite video and audio became highly aware of this fact. Despite the company’s best attempts to provide a good customer experience, its agents were frustrated by system issues, and their frustration was projected to callers, resulting in a less than ideal customer experience. Recognizing the need for change, the company decided to test and monitor the call center technologies to ensure the quality and performance of the company’s systems. When the system was tested, the company realized there were some inconsistencies in agent screen pop response times. Additionally, upon performing failover testing of the agent-facing technology (which essentially means ensuring back-up systems perform when the primary systems go down), the company found that certain systems did not failover as expected. Agents were not notified from their respective desktop applications; information about the caller, such as the customer’s name, etc., was not appearing on the screen as it should.

In order to accurately test the systems, the company temporarily disabled the primary systems so the backup technology would serve as the primary. The backup system was then tested to determine if its performance matched that of the primary system. As a result of the outcome of the testing, the company started rolling out a proactive customer- and agent-focused solution that will measure the quality of experience while also capturing any abnormal behavior from both perspectives.

Experience Monitoring

Monitoring real customer and agent experiences enables a company to gain a clear understanding of their customers’ perceptions, and to learn more about the customer experience through the contact center. Customer experience monitoring, combined with the collection of operating metrics throughout the infrastructure, allows the company to improve the customers’ experience and minimize costs.

There are a number of tools available in order to collect this type of data from a contact center, but many are so complex that they require a true expert to use them, correctly and efficiently. Despite the availability of the various tools, it is not always a wise decision to siphon money from already stretched budgets in order to pay for a consultant—especially when the consultant comes with a learning curve, costing additional money for the needed time to accurately learn how the contact center fits into the overall business plan or how it works with other operational areas.

An alternate approach to understanding the customer and agent experience is to portray a real customer by dialing-in to see what happens. Working through the call menus throughout different times of the day and recording the experience can prove to be an extremely effective approach. This method, if it is performed manually, can be time consuming and would require additional resources to hire individuals that can perform these tasks.


The most cost- and time-effective solution is to use a combination of an automated monitoring system and a virtual agent simulator.

An automated monitoring system collects data about the contact center and reports it back to decision makers. Sophisticated systems conduct monitoring and provide reports that illustrate the way all parts of a contact center operate together.

An ideal testing and monitoring solution for contact centers should utilize a tool that dials-in on a regular schedule, exercises menus and records the results. Beyond getting people to call-in and monitor service quality, a tool like this enables a company to compare failed calls with a reference script and generate alerts on failures, which can be done with the tool that specifically indicates the exact location of where the script failed. The tool also provides the ability to record the complete call so an agent is capable of hearing what a customer would hear. The tool should also simulate high call volumes during non-peak periods and help the company detect failures before they go into production.

In addition to monitoring the contact center infrastructure, a company should use a virtual agent simulator in order to monitor the agents’ experience. This will assist in improving agent outlook, efficiency and the way they interact with customers. Virtual agent simulators enable the operations team to know what agents see and hear, and when they see and hear it, so issues can be quickly identified and solved.

Combining experience monitoring with the collection of operating metrics throughout the contact center infrastructure enables a company to improve the customer experience and lower expenses.

Combining experience monitoring with the collection of operating metrics throughout the contact center infrastructure enables a company to improve the customer experience and lower expenses.

The satellite video and audio provider company referenced above also concluded that investing in an automated contact center improvement tool was the way to go. Rather than rely on assumptions about its customers and agents from data collected by their existing solution, it invested in an automated solution that allowed it to determine what was truly occurring within the contact center.

Data collected is only useful if it is used to implement improvements throughout the customer experience. Therefore, data should be compiled into useful reports to allow the operations and marketing teams can easily understand the customer experience, making the contact center more proactive and strategic.

Happy Contact Center Agents = Happy Customers

With the right solution, a company can reduce caller frustration, improve the customers’ quality of experience and make the operations team confident that problems are identified before customers are affected. The proof of the value of the contact center monitoring investment is in the resulting satisfaction of a company’s agents and customer retention.

In fact, as a result of its investment in an automated contact center customer experience monitoring system, the satellite video and audio provider was able to increase agent productivity by streamlining its contact center technologies. In addition, the automated monitoring solution provided information that helped agents increase operational awareness, improve application performance metrics and reduce troubleshooting time. The agents, in turn, were able to increase customer satisfaction by handling calls in a professional and knowledgeable way, while also completing calls in a timely manner.

Sue Andersen
Empirix Inc.
Sue Andersen is the director of product marketing at Empirix. With over 25 years of business & marketing experience within the telecommunications industry, her expertise includes developing and executing marketing programs for the Contact Center area. Andersen earned her bachelor's in business administration from Providence College and her master's in information systems from Boston University.


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