Top Ten Reasons to Record Agent Screen Activity

Author: Kevin B. Levi, November 19, 2018

Call recording systems have been around for decades and their utility is proven. The same goes for agent screen recording systems, although you may not know it. Many organizations which have deployed call recording have yet to deploy screen recording, and in not doing so, they are really only capturing half of the customer interaction, as much of the agent activity happens on screen.

Since your call center agents are on the front lines in terms of interacting with your customers, you want to be able to monitor how well your agents are servicing their needs. When your agents are on the phone with your customers, they should be serving their needs quickly and effectively, by swiftly and accurately navigating the necessary screens on their desktop to access and input customer data, find product/service information, etc. Sometimes, however, these screens or workflows can be interrupted by navigational problems (by the agent or the system) or application glitches (not the agent’s fault). Other times, unfortunately, agents may engage in unauthorized or even illegal activity on their screens. With screen recording software, you can monitor these workflows and actions to identify any system or agent issues and remedy them at once. These remedies can translate into substantial time and cost savings as well as risk mitigation for your contact center and enterprise.

Here are the top 10 reasons to record agent screen activity during customer interactions:

  1. Identify application or system breakdowns that affect agent screen navigation and overall performance and productivity
  2. Discover areas to improve agent efficiency through additional skills training (for example, increasing proficiency with certain applications or workflows)
  3. Uncover unauthorized personal activity by agents (for example, checking their own Facebook or playing Solitaire during a customer interaction)
  4. Identify PCI, HIPAA or GDPR compliance issues upon data entry (such as the agent’s screen erroneously displaying the credit card information upon entry when it’s supposed to be masked).
  5. Record best-practice agent screen performance to share with under-performing agents
  6. Record worst-practice agent screen performance to share with newer agents to help them avoid similar mistakes
  7. Gain a comprehensive view of customer interactions as they occurred
  8. Prove compliance to regulators by sharing the full interaction – audio and screen video – in order to avoid costly penalties
  9. Identify any fraudulent behavior by an agent
  10. See all of the promises and/or commitments agents make to customers

Agent screen recording solutions today can capture full motion video of the agent’s desktop throughout the entire customer interaction. This recording synchronized upon playback with the corresponding agent and customer audio recording) gives supervisors and managers a clear, 360-degree view of exactly what transpired during a given customer interaction.

For ease of retrieval, recordings (screen and audio) can be identified and accessed by date, user name, agent, phone number, and so on. These same recordings can be shared and viewed in industry-standard MPEG4 format and played or viewed on any desktop or capable mobile device.

You Don’t Build a Church for Easter Sunday: A Good Lesson for Contact Center Capacity Planning

At the time of the Easter holiday, I happen to be working on forecasting and workforce planning and site planning for a new contact center operation and am reminded of a favorite quote from a former client. We were going through an exercise similar to my current project at the time and some of the client’s own staff felt that we were planning on building too small to accommodate their peak season, which is a very short annual window.  “You don’t build a church for Easter Sunday,” she told them.  While I had never heard that before, it fit the situation perfectly.   Just because you have overflowing church parking lots and standing room only Easter services, you don’t overbuild the size of your church. Likewise, you don’t always build your contact center to accommodate your periods of peak volume over time.  This is especially true if those peaks are for short periods of time or represent extreme spikes (double or more) relative to your normal volumes.  While it is important remember peak period needs, it is equally important to consider the cost of space, equipment, and staff that will remain idle under normal operating conditions.

Spring and summer are the times when many customer contact operations experience peak volumes.  The April tax filing deadline means many customers are receiving their refunds, often driving sales of big ticket items like automobiles and home electronics.  The summer travel season typically drives peak volumes for many hospitality providers.

In order to provide good customer service, it is important for any business to be prepared to handle these peak periods.  For a sales operation, it is even more critical because the competition is often just a quick phone call or click away.   Below are nine tips to help you flex up your operation to effectively manage peak periods without wasting cost on over capacity year round:

  1. If your operation has work-at-home capabilities for your agents, consider increasing the number of work-at-home agents and/or expand work-at-home hours and rules during peak periods to provide more seat capacity in your facilities.
  2. Provided you can easily identify call type and route accordingly, hire and train temporary staff to handle the simplest calls.
  3. Offer overtime to your staff.  While it can be costly, it generally costs less than overstaffing year round.
  4. Take advantage of spaces, such as your training rooms, conference rooms or any vacant offices/cubicles, in your site to add extra staff.
  5. Offer customers as many self-service channel options (website, interactive voice response, and any mobile applications) as possible for as many transaction/inquiry types as possible. Be sure to promote channel availability via on-hold message and web and application banners/pop-ups, etc.
  6. If you still have some potential slower or idle time during your peak periods within a given day, offer an automated call back option through your phone system for those customers who prefer the return call over waiting on hold.
  7. Configure your phone system to automatically communicate hold/queue times to your customers on hold, with regular status updates, allowing customers the convenience of planning other productive activities during the hold time.
  8. If your operation does not use assigned seating, consider implementing “hot-seating,” where available agents can take the seat of a agent who is at lunch or on break.  Be sure to thoroughly communicate this arrangement to the staff so as to avoid confusion. Also, ensure there is a mechanism/process in place for returning agents to quickly locate the first available seat so you don’t lose as much capacity as you’re saving.
  9. Consider partnering with an outsource vendor to support overflow during your peak times/seasons.  This is best accomplished by identifying specific contact types for which an agent can be easily trained and the call easily routed.


Saving the Sale

Call me a sucker, but I saw an internet advertisement for a free sample of a dietary supplement that I wanted to try and I went for it…knowing that I had to give my credit card number and if I didn’t call them to cancel, they were going to start sending me a new supply of the product every month, and charge me for it.  I usually avoid things like this, but this was an interesting concept.  It was a pre-workout supplement that came in the form of a tablet, rather than a powder that had to be mixed with water.  I got my trial sample and of course, forgot to cancel before the first non-free one arrived.  I actually liked the product, but it was significantly more expensive than the powder alternatives.  Admittedly, however, I had found that the product was great for when I was traveling and didn’t want to have to mix something with water.  I actually kept it going for a few months to save some supply just for that purpose.  Once I had a couple months’ worth, I was ready to cancel.  Their phone number appeared on my credit card statement, so it was easy to find.  When I called, the agent on the phone asked me why I was cancelling.  I gave her my exact reasons.  I liked the product, especially for traveling, but I thought it was too expensive and even if it wasn’t too expensive, I was getting more of it than I could use.  She actually listened and obviously the management of this service center had ensured that they were prepared for these kinds of “objections” to continued purchase of their product.   First, she offered to lower the price of the product by 25% for me.  I told her that would help some, but that I didn’t need to get a 30 day supply every month…in fact that I already had two months’ supply saved up.  She suggested that they go ahead and take me off the monthly subscription.  This might be perceived as a failure, however, there was no way that they were going to convince me to continue that, so it was really good customer service.  However, she also secured my next order for another 30 day supply two months down the road.  We agreed on a date, she said I’d get it automatically at the discounted price, and from then on, I could just order it whenever I wanted.  So, they may have lost me as a subscription customer, but they got at least one more ordered…and I am pretty sure I will be ordering again, based on the way the whole thing was handled.

Preparing your agents for whatever objections or reasons for cancelling a service is critical to customer retention, but that’s only part of it.  Equipping them with the right tools and giving them the leverage to use them according to their best judgment is the best way to leverage those opportunities to keep customers, at least in some capacity.  Finally, ensuring that they are trained to listen and provide good customer service along the way will help them seal the deal whenever a customer or sale is still able to be saved.

Usually when I write about an experience like this that’s entirely positive, I like to mention the name of the company.  In this case I won’t, at least for now, because I’m not sure if they want all their customers to call them asking for a 25% discount!

Effective Call Routing Equals Faster Service for Customers and Lower Costs for Companies.

It was that time of year…I received the annual “escrow analysis statement” from my mortgage company. For customers in many states who choose to have their real-estate taxes impounded and paid by their mortgage company, this is the statement that shows their forecast of disbursements from these impound accounts, for taxes and/or insurance, along with the associated minimum balances and expected “low” points. They often communicate the resulting change in the monthly mortgage payment based on any adjustments to the monthly impound account contributions required. Sometimes customers have the option of increasing their payment, or paying a lump sum that will cover any projected shortage so their payment can remain the same. The projected tax amounts on mine didn’t look right to me, so I placed a call to the customer service number, which was listed on the statement. I chose what seemed to be the most appropriate selection from the voice prompts and after a few minutes of waiting, I was routed to an agent. The agent indicated that I needed to talk to someone different, so she transferred me. I waited another few minutes, and the agent that I was transferred to told me that there was a separate group handling inquiries about these escrow analysis statements, and transferred me again. After another couple of minutes, I got to another agent, who was able to resolve my inquiry pretty quickly and seemingly without any difficulty.

This wasn’t a bad experience for me, although the various transfers and conversations did turn result in a total of more than 15 minutes on the phone, when it could have been significantly less. My inquiry was resolved, so I was satisfied. However, this was a much costlier interaction for the company than it had to be because it actually turned into three calls (one each with three different agents) instead of just one. The annual mailing of these statements is most likely one that generates a lot of calls. Presumably these go out to a large portion of their customers, at least within certain states. According to the last agent that transfers me, these statements generate enough call volume that they have set up a special group to handle the calls. This can be a smart step on the part of the company because if they have a large customer service staff, it can save them a lot of training costs by only training a portion of them. However, that savings can only be realized if they are able to get the calls to that specialized group efficiently. In this case, given that the majority of these calls happen over a short period of time, a company should consider adding a special option in the voice response menu specifically for callers inquiring about those statements. This could catch a significant number of these callers, provide them with faster service, and help to ensure that the training dollars they save aren’t offset by the handling of misdirected calls. Making a temporary change like this to the menu can often be done relatively quickly and easily.


Welcome to my customer experience blog. Here I write about the kind of experiences we all have as customers every day. Some of them are good, some are bad. Regardless of that, there’s always a lesson to be learned…either from what an organization did that resulted in a good experience, or what they could have done to prevent a bad one. This can be a good source of tips for a customer service or contact center manager, or just something fun to read. Feel free to comment on the posts or even post your own customer service stories and I can respond with some “lessons learned” from those. Give as many details as you want…but please keep in mind that as a rule, I only publish the company name if the story is positive. However, in the case of negative stories, it’s helpful for me to know who the company is. I always try to alert customer service managers in those companies of the stories so they can be aware of what their customers are saying. Brian Golden, Contact Center 411

Everybody Wins When You Offer Customers a Choice

On a recent trip to the Boston area, I was lucky enough to get a low rate to stay at the Le Meridién hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As I was settling into the room, I noticed a card advertising a program they’re offering. The program offered me the option of not having the regular daily housekeeping service for my room and, in exchange, they were offering a $5 voucher that could be used in the hotel restaurant or bar. Furthermore, if I didn’t want or wasn’t able to use that, I had the option of redeeming any of my vouchers at the end of my stay for 500 bonus points in their guest rewards program. As a loyal Starwood Preferred Guest program member, I was very excited about this. I knew I’d barely be using the room other than for sleeping and showering. I was only there for a two night stay and I often opt to not have my sheets or towels washed anyway. I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal at all for me to simply make the bed myself if I wanted it made, and the rest didn’t really matter. Besides that, at three points per dollar, I would be earning fewer than 500 points per night based on my nightly rate. It seemed like a great bonus and I jumped on the opportunity. I found myself hoping that the hotel that I’ve been staying in regularly for work on a client project would start offering the same thing.

This is a great example of how offering choices to a customer can really enhance customer loyalty and repeat buying. Because of this program, this will be the first hotel I look into the next time I travel to Boston. Interestingly enough, the $5 restaurant voucher or the 500 points probably even have a much lower cost to the hotel than that of daily housekeeping service for a room, especially when you take into account the housekeeping labor, laundry costs, and supplies. This is a great lesson that what something may cost an organization doesn’t necessarily translate dollar for dollar in terms of value to a customer. By offering customers a choice, you not only increase their satisfaction by giving them something that’s of value or important to them, sometimes you can actually save money because some customers will choose an option that has a lower cost than the standard service.