Updated – Use Mystery Calls to Boost Confidence in Your Call Center’s Performance

I updated this blog. Not because the content is outdated, but because I wanted to share three specific ways to use Mystery Calls to gain confidence in your center’s performance.

  1. Mock Training Calls – Ensuring your newly hired and trained agents are prepared for go-live is the most important step you can take in maintaining both the expected performance of your center and the long-term success of your agents. Agents who are not able to handle a full-length, real-life mock call using all of the available technology and content resources are not ready for the call floor. It’s best to find out before they reach the floor and individually coach for improvement.
  2. Important but rare – Use Mystery Calls to test calls that can’t be handled incorrectly. We tested a special program where the Medical Communications contact center agent was supposed to forward the call to the Field Based Medical Affairs representative for special VIP service.  After testing the process with Mystery Calls, the process simply didn’t work. It’s best to know if you can handle the critically important contacts correctly.
  3. Assess new vendors – If you’re considering making a change to your contact center vendor partner, be sure to compare the prospects contact handling to your incumbent. Mystery Calls are an easy and inexpensive way to determine if you should include the vendor in your RFP.

There are dozens of other uses for a strong Mystery Calling program. I hope you will share your ideas with us. If you have any questions about starting a program of your own, please call me at 317-797-2244 or email at pete@center-first.com.

 

Have you been looking for a way to give your call center Quality Monitoring (QM) program a boost?

How about adding Mystery Calling to your QM tool box!  Mystery Calling is seldom a stand-alone process for QM, but it is the best “add-on” program we know of for giving call center leaders more confidence in their center’s performance.

Mystery Calling is simply having someone trained in the objectives and processes of your call center place a “real-life,” scenario-based call into your center. The interaction is recorded and assessed like other calls, and used as a component of your QM program.

Here are a four lessons we’ve learned from the top Mystery Caller programs.

  • Qualified and Trained Mystery Callers. The Mystery Caller must be well-informed about the call center’s purpose and types of calls being received. Mystery Callers should train and practice the playing the part of a real caller.  Also, if your pharma call center handles Medical Information calls, it is best to have a healthcare professional develop and deliver the Mystery Calls. If your center is for patient support center, then being qualified simply means that the Mystery Caller  knows the details of how a patient might be challenged by the disease or therapy.
  • Don’t Wing It. The mystery calls must be based on real-life scenarios and have a purpose of testing a specific skill or knowledge area.  The scenarios should be thorough and planned out with a beginning, middle, and ending. The scenario need not be scripted, but should be followed in order to provide the most objective results.

o   For example, if the purpose of the Mystery Call is to test if the agent picks up on a rather subtle adverse event, the scenario phrasing might read, “Should I take this medication with food? I’ve done that once or twice and it upset my stomach.” The Mystery Caller should know the correct way for the agent to respond, and the caller should have options for continuing the call with either correct or incorrect agent performance

  • Stay in the Role. It is best for the Mystery Caller to stay in the role of a real caller throughout the interaction. While it’s fine for your agents to know that these test calls may occur from time to time, there’s no reason to disclose a mystery call until the very end of the call.  Disclosing that the call is a mystery call at the end of the call is the best practice for allowing agents to remove fictitious data or document the mystery call in the customer management system.
  • 10% Rule of Thumb. The number of mystery calls to perform depends on the complexity and risk of the interactions handled in your center. If you seldom get a Product Quality Complaint, but handling it correctly is critically important, then Mystery Calling is a great way to keep your agents sharp. We recommend 10% of the total QM call volume as a good starting point and you can adjust that percentage up or down depending on your initial results.

While it takes a little planning to set up an effective Mystery Caller program, there’s nothing that compares to its value as it QM booster. If you have any additional thoughts on Mystery Calling or want more information on our lessons learned, please drop me an email at pete@center-first.com or call me at 800-291-3379.