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Boost Call Center Productivity by Improving Sentiment Scores

happy, productive call center agent smiling

In the high-stress environment of a call center, improving agent productivity and performance is a constant challenge. While there are many factors that play a role, one key metric that is often overlooked is agent sentiment scores. Research shows that when call center agents have higher sentiment scores – meaning they convey more positive emotions during customer interactions – it directly correlates to higher productivity levels.

What Are Sentiment Scores?

Sentiment scores are a way to quantify the emotional tone and subjective opinions expressed during a conversation or written text. In a call center context, sentiment analysis technology monitors call recordings and transcripts to detect positive, negative, and neutral tones of voice. Each call is then assigned a sentiment score, usually on a scale from negative to positive values.

The Link Between Sentiment and Productivity

Multiple studies have found a clear link between higher positive sentiment scores and increased metrics like:

  • More calls handled per hour
  • Shorter handle times
  • Lower percentage of calls blocked or abandoned
  • Higher sales conversion rates
  • Improved customer satisfaction scores

Essentially, agents who communicate in an upbeat, pleasant, and empathetic way tend to work more efficiently. This makes sense when you consider that positive interactions reduce friction, frustration, and miscommunication between agents and customers.

On the other hand, agents with negative sentiment scores tend to experience more difficulties like irate customers, misunderstandings, and protracted call times – all of which severely impacts overall productivity.

There are other tools to help with the overall experience your agents provide. Silence and overtalk detection can also show managers which agents are struggling to find answers, putting customers on hold for too long, and other common issues. Detecting these problems early on and correcting them will improve CX and efficiency.

The Financial Impact

Beyond the operational benefits, improving sentiment scores can also lead to significant financial gains for call centers. Customers who have positive experiences with agents are much more likely to remain loyal to a brand and increase their customer lifetime value. In sales environments, agents with higher sentiment levels also tend to have better cross-selling and upselling success rates.

A Stanford study found that the work lives of call center employees are extremely stressful, on par with prison guards and second only to life-or-death occupations like police and military personnel. This backdrop makes addressing sentiment a critical factor in agent retention and reducing costly turnover rates.

Improving Sentiment Through Training & Scorecards

So how can call centers improve their agents’ sentiment scores? One powerful approach is implementing targeted training programs that focus on:

  • Active listening skills
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Empathy and patience
  • Positive language and tone
  • Deescalating tense situations

Even simple techniques like smiling, which can be detected through inflections in an agent’s voice, can make a big difference in perceived sentiment.

Leading call centers are also utilizing sentiment analysis technology and speech analytics to automatically score 100% of agent calls. This data enables precise monitoring of sentiment trends, rapid feedback to agents, and continuous improvement of the working environment and coaching methods. Providing agents with unbiased sentiment data and agent scorecards can also help them self-correct.

In the relentless drive to increase efficiency and output, sentiment analysis provides a quantifiable and very human pathway to more productive and positive call center operations. With the immense pressures facing this vital industry, cultivating higher sentiment levels is a win-win for companies and employees.

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