The Future of Call Notes: Accuracy

Imagine picking up the phone and returning a call to a contact center to resolve something. It’s not hard to imagine — everyone’s been there. Sometimes it’s a bill payment. Sometimes it’s a health plan selection. Sometimes it’s balance information. The motions are generally the same regardless of the subject at hand. 

You listen to your options. You press 1, and then 2 and then maybe 3, or maybe you start by asking to speak to an agent. Whatever the path to get to the agent, once you’ve arrived and are in conversation, the realization hits: “They don’t have any idea what I’m talking about.”

And it’s back to the drawing board. For the caller, that feeling is a sharp turn, away from minor inconvenience and toward major annoyance. For the people managing the agents, and for the agents themselves, the feeling is a familiar one: exasperation. After all, the agent has just once again learned that they’re missing information, a result of poor note taking and inconsistency. 

That lack of consistency causes big problems beyond customer experience, too. 

A telephone headset upside-down next to a computer.

Agent Notes: Audit Nightmare, Process Burden

Today, agents at most contact centers have the freedom to write whatever they please in the notes field. Incentive structures that reward for number of calls made or wrap time push agents away from accuracy and toward speed.

The problems that result abound — including that poor customer experience we mentioned. Additionally: 

1. The information is next to impossible to verify. 

Without voice data to augment their understanding, how could a leader or auditor even tell if what the agent wrote is an accurate summary of events? Even with voice data, how much can they invest in QA?

2. Audits are disastrous.

Missing notes mean missing information. Who will guarantee all disclosures have occurred? Identity is verified? How will you prove that you’ve done everything you said you would do, with regard to compliance, confidentiality, and even service provision? 

Just imagine being the auditor in this scenario. In the case that the notes are discoverable, they still may not be decipherable. That spells disaster for both the auditor’s sanity and your compliance success. 

3. Notes mean nothing. 

When notes are a black box, you can’t see the trends that could help your agents improve. You can’t analyze information at scale, or make any meaningful judgments. This lack of scale renders notes essentially meaningless, both for productivity and personalization. If you’re inserting insignificance into the productivity equation, should you even measure productivity at all?

4. Training fails. 

Naturally, to solve for these concerns, contact centers have adopted standard operating procedures and proprietary shorthand. These solutions create their own problems in the form of high training costs and long training processes, never mind QA. 

So, what kind of solution would actually improve notes — and provide the easy audits, positive customer experience, training wins, and productivity gains that every contact center is looking for?

A solution that prioritizes accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

Achieving Accuracy Through Call Note Management

First things first, the right solution — one that promotes accuracy and attempts to eliminate bias and inconsistency — should take the agent out of the equation. They shouldn’t have to focus on this type of minutiae anyway. With the assistance of auto-generated notes in a clean note construct, agents can better focus their energy on the person they’re speaking with, instead of on getting the notes exactly right. 

What does a clean note construct look like? It should offer a predefined structure that helps capture all of the most relevant, pertinent information in the right order: consumer information, disclosures, payments, callback dates. 

A strong solution would both require and beget this cleanliness. In other words, as you configure the correct order and verbiage to match your specific industry regulations, your notes become more and more accurate. With improved accuracy comes the ability to analyze at scale. 

As you continue to shape and configure your auto-generated notes structure, you can come closer and closer to 1) fully understanding triggers that lead to better relationships and higher payments, 2) serving up the right information to auditors and 3) realizing productivity gains that have reverberating effects. 

Accuracy is not a pipe dream. It’s just one right configuration out of your reach. Start with true call note consistency and comprehensiveness and the rest will follow. And that horror story we told at the beginning of this? It won’t ever happen to your customers — or your agents — again. 

Ready to learn more about how ProNotes can take your productivity efforts to the next level?