Should your boss be listening to your calls?

Call Supervision or Call Spying?

I’m really not sure.

On one side I am excited by the productivity gains from uncovering flaws in the way my reps engage with current + potential clients. On the other side – I’m scared constant monitoring of all calls within an organization can lead to a degeneration in culture, undermining the trust I am looking to build with employees.

The Context

In a data driven world – privacy is constantly being sacrificed for the greater good. We allow Apple to assume our payment details, fingerprint and even data around our body temperature, movement and usage patterns without batting an eye.

Similarly – Microsoft 10 now openly is collecting user data to “personalize” the user experience not only on your main device but cross platform by forcing you to sign in to Microsoft products with a common account. The corporates argue that these insights deliver more in-depth user experiences, I tend to argue that these motivations are second to the desire to increase sales and LTV of all accounts particularly by delivering more targeted advertising.

microsoft

Back to the issue of calls – I think there are arguments on both sides which justify use of technology in this area.

Employee & Employer Perspectives

On the side of the employer – managers argue that there are two main benefits to monitoring calls. The first is that we are able to uncover potential flaws in manner, content and approach which may be costing relationships. Particularly in sales & customer support; mastery of the product is essential and organisations are driven to remove unwanted material from talk tracks.

Secondly – organisations may argue that the successful tendencies of particular reps should be uncovered and shared in order to boost group productivity levels. In a sales environment which is highly competitive – reps may not willing give up their ‘tricks of the trade’ so forcibly understanding the way in which people engage can often lead to new insights.

On the employee side – most individuals may feel a certain performance anxiety around being constantly monitored. Furthermore, in the enterprise when such roles often involve egos and a high level of education; employees may feel they have earned a relative level of anonymity. This is often countered through use of the ‘fly on the wall effect’ which describes the way in which humans grow accustomed to involvement of foreign entities over time and thus performance may be reduced at the start but improve over time. An example of this is the way in which reality TV shows operate. They often force individuals to experience 24/7 camera involvement weeks prior to the commencement of the show. That way, by the time they find themselves on a live program they are act in a manner which is completely indifferent to the film crew being present. The same can be said about call monitoring

Evolving Technology

Technologies like Chorus, NoteNinja and Gong are being introduced into sales teams to allow managers to have full transparency over the way in which calls are being conducted and to help managers automatically find areas which require improvement. Given also the AI focus of these products – they also aim to shift the monitoring model from reactive to predictive – giving leaders insight into ways to mitigate potential behaviors and foster positive ones even before real time events occur. Furthemore these technologies make commonplace tasks like transcription a thing of the past.

The Role of the Mobile Device

Often many employees may argue that the mobile device is their personal domain, with most organisations adopting a BYO policy. It is interesting to see solutions like Aircall and Dialpad exploring the concept of installing a mobile app which allows users to make business calls using an alternative number without having to compromise the personal nature of their own device. I argue that this may be a great way for employers and employees to find an appropriate bridge in communications policy – with the added benefit of having a work focused number to avoid those pesky cold calls (I’m sorry if I have reached out to you)

Further Considerations

In the current age – I think that when you work at a large company you sign some part of your soul away. As part of that process, it is now common place to expect that your work communications will be monitored – with security being a major concern. Furthermore, the way in which privacy laws are being overturned or bent by large organisations is also setting a dangerous precedent for further reductions in employee rights – a ‘slippery slope’ effect.

Based on working with over 100 firms in this space and building two large call centre teams myself I own up to the fact that I have found listening to the calls of employees beneficial. What is more of a concern to me is other forms of data outside the content of the calls. I believe as much as I can coach someone to perform – ultimately it is best to foster their individual style and technique to boost workplace happiness and retention. The metrics I care about are activity (i.e. dials per hour) and connection % – I feel that most organisations have an issue with both of the above before they need to turn their attention to deeply analyzing what their employees a saying.

My favourite strategy is to receive one randomized call per week from each employee and to listen to it together rather than on my own. That transparency builds trust and often allows the employee to showcase their own insights actively with me to further increase our relationship.

I would love to read your comments below

About The Author

Dailius Wilson

Dailius Wilson is the 24 year old founder of WolfofYorkStreet.com – helping the world's top SaaS companies to optimise their sales and marketing efforts. Dailius is currently a Director at TrustRadius and a digital blogger at increasemyonlinebusiness.com. Dailius was named as one of the Top 30 Entrepreneurs in Australia for 2015 by Anthill Online and was ranked in the Top 100 SEO Experts in the World. Dailius has also been a guest on the Ellen Degeneres Show and has over 10,000,000 views on Youtube