Margin in QM solutions

The ‘real' margin opportunity in call recording is achieved through selling a broader range of solutions with recording at the core, according to Mike Murley, Sales Director at ASC Telecom UK.

Voice recording is now part of many dealer portfolios, but Quality Monitoring (QM) applications are a rarer breed, despite the significantly higher margin opportunities they offer. "One application that presents huge opportunities to the dealer is QM in the contact centre," stated Murley. "Organisations are focused on workforce optimisation, which means they need to be able to measure and improve the performance of their contact centre agents. Whereas the voice recorder is often a distress purchase to meet compliance, QM is a value add application which can be justified with a compelling RoI proposition. It can also attract a wide range of services, from training to bespoke integration services."

Although QM is not a new proposition, it is still used by a relatively small number of contact centres, noted Murley. The UK has over 6,000 contact centres of varying sizes, and just a small proportion currently use QM software. "Many call centres still use side-by-side coaching, or manually record and evaluate calls using paper-based systems," commented Murley. "Managers tasked with achieving quality goals using these techniques will regularly acknowledge that it is inefficient, and they could be much more effective and efficient if they had a QM software solution to help."

Murley explained that QM is a software application that works in conjunction with a voice recorder. A good QM product will allow recording to be scheduled to capture a certain profile of calls, perhaps three calls per agent per week. A user portal allows the call centre supervisors to replay their agents' calls and also have on their screen a score card or evaluation template which they will fill out as they listen to each call. The call and scorecard can then be saved and used for agent coaching or reporting on performance of groups or individuals.

Up-sell opportunities should not be ignored. "The basic QM solution includes voice recording and the evaluation package. But this original specification can be seriously upgraded. For example, contact centres are often heavily reliant on their IT, so include a recording of the agents screen activity in the evaluation is essential for some," said Murley. "Audio analytics is also becoming a major factor, providing the ability to spot keywords or emotion which trigger the need to evaluate the call. It allows the evaluation and coaching to be targeted to the areas most likely to require attention."

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is also creating additional opportunities where QM and recording systems are being used. "In summary, PCI DSS means that a contact centre should not voice record credit card data," said Murley. "The recording industry has offered encryption of the recorded call as a solution to PCI DSS, and encryption is available from most major recording vendors. However, the only watertight solution is not to voice record the vital card information at all."

Murley noted that this provides another opportunity for dealers with Professional Service skills, as some recorders can be configured to pause or stop recording during the gathering of card data. Dealers able to consult with the customer and deliver this added value will benefit from added revenues and margin, he said. "Quality monitoring software is changing rapidly," added Murley. "One major trend involves its convergence with other contact centre applications to provide a unique insight into all contact centre processes. These new systems are called Workforce Optimisation suites."

The transition to Workforce Optimisation is still incomplete, observes Murley. He stated that the whole contact centre industry is adopting a process-centric approach with nearly ‘unlimited potential'. "In the future, quality monitoring solutions will work in combination with strong speech analytic capabilities and with integrations to other data sources within the organisation to become a valuable data source for the entire enterprise," said Murley.

He added that any contact centre can take advantage of QM software, whether they are large or small and regardless of the type of operation. It's not just about making sales agents more effective. It can also be used to improve customer service, first time call resolution, reduce call handling time, speed up agent training, identify training needs, staff retention etc.

Dealers can sell QM into existing customers, or they can use the recording/QM portfolio as an introduction to new clients. "To sell QM solutions the reseller has to be ready to use their solution sales skills. The dealer can start the conversation simply by asking who is responsible for quality or training in the call centre," said Murley. "Finding out how they currently evaluate agents will enable the dealer to build the RoI model. Most dealers already have the skills required to sell QM solutions, as long as they choose the right QM vendor to work with. For a successful partnership the product proposition should be simple, a dealer demo package should be available and the QM vendor should be willing to assist with expert product advice."