April 2, 2021

Call Center Monitoring…Should you use Live Calls or Recorded Calls for Quality Management?

There is a minor debate in the call center and quality management circles on whether it is best to use live calls or recorded calls when evaluating call center associates in a center.  We have many clients that have differing views on this so we have been using both models for many years and layer them on top of one another to create an overarching QA plan that takes into account the associate and program health.

Being a high school basketball coach, my work team sometimes gets annoyed at me for using sports references time and time again, but I think in this case it will really help make sense of what we do when evaluating live calls compared to recorded calls.

Live Calls help you Win the Game Today

Recorded Calls help you Have a Great Season

Bottom line…You need both


Live monitoring from your supervisors and/or your QA areas is like in-game coaching.  You are looking to make the adjustments to win the game at the moment.  If an associate is not using a proper greeting, disclosure, upsell, or close we need to fix that right away.  Many times, we all will look at certain stats or metrics like real-time SLA, AHT, Conversion, or Sales data; we look to see who is out of the norm, listen to them and make “game time” corrections to help is get back to the winning score, AKA getting the KPI’s where they need to be!

Live monitoring, in my opinion, must be done to correct issues on the fly and make sure the day stays on track.  Now if we are seeing trends or issues with the tone in certain reps, we are certainly going to look to address this but for the most part, we use live monitoring to make sure we are doing what we should and hitting the proper KPI’s and surpassing quality metrics.

One of the AWESOME tools that have come along to help us has been advanced speech analytics.  We now can “listen” to every call that comes into our center and judge the agent sentiment (positive, neutral, or negative), and then hop on the line if we see any negative or neutral trends from our agents.  It has allowed us to really drill down more “in-game” to make any quick technique corrections.  In my opinion, it is the best QA tool to come out in years.

While being an in-game coach is important, we also must review past “game film” to correct trends. This is where listening to recorded calls comes into play…


When you are evaluating and scoring recorded calls a different mindset should be taking place with your monitoring team.  This is where everyone should be getting evaluated not just the associates outside of specific KPIs like the real-time monitoring seems to be focused on.

While live monitoring should be focused on winning the day.  Recorded calls should be listened to, with the thought of raising the overall quality of the program, adding to your training, and making sure any customer trends are being noticed (if you are not using analytics).

It’s like when I will watch a film after a game.  I don’t care about the score and I am not just looking at what adjustments need to be made during the game, I am looking at the bigger picture of what we can do to be better for the long term, our next 10-15 games out.

For every client we have, we give one hour of non-billed weekly education.  We use the recorded calls as great tools in these training sessions.  We find trends, scripting issues, bad or good rebuttals to use, all things that help with the overall health of the program.  These help all the associates succeed.

I think you get a feel for your team when you take a step back with recorded calls.  Do you need to work on the tone of the team, are there things we need to retrain?  Score the call, score the individual but after that think about the program as a whole from what you are hearing.

We are still pulling associates here with any issues we find or just as importantly any GREAT calls we find as well but as a rule, we use the recorded calls more for big-picture issues that an associate or a program may be having.

Using both live and recorded calls in your call center monitoring gives you the best chance to create the best call center team possible!

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