How we avoided contact center survey shelfware

How we avoided contact center survey shelfware

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What does my 80-year old Navy SeaBee underwater welder father know about today’s contact center operations? Well, he seeks the most direct and smartest path to address a problem with the caveat that cheap can be expensive. Do it right, do it well, or do not do it. As I work with contact center management on their daily struggles, it’s pretty clear that he knows a lot about today’s operations.

We operate contact centers with more and more technology each year. It seems that every center has at least one project team focused on some type of operational upgrade. Every center manager is looking for the next thing that will make things easier for the center and hopefully better for the customers. And contact center survey solutions are usually high on their list.

Plug-n-play solution?

It’s understandably tempting to seek a solution that is easier to use, at least on the surface, at first glance, as per the salesperson. Software is the answer to many questions – just plug it in and the solution delivers the amazing list of benefits. Or so they would like for you to believe.

The unfortunate reality is that many well-intentioned businesses spend millions of dollars each year on good, even great, tools designed to make their businesses more efficient and provide greater visibility into the inner-workings of the business. They spend time and money making a business case for the purchase, calculating the product’s ROI, payback period, etc. Unfortunately what is often lacking is the subject-matter expertise required to make good on the ROI projections.

A pro makes it go

Give a workforce management pro some sophisticated WFM software and they’ll do the job in a fraction of the time. Give WFM software to anyone else and they’ll turn it into shelfware. The same is true for statistical analysis software, B.I. tools, customer experience measurement solutions, speech analytics solutions; the list is endless. The ability to point-and-click does not automatically translate to the deep understanding of process, outputs, software limitations, tricks-of-the-trade, adjustments needed for a given environment, business, industry and much more that is needed to maximize the value of the software in the process. So many people can get fooled into thinking that making the tools “user-friendly” means anyone can use them and the resulting process will be valuable.

There is risk in being on the project team that is responsible for launching technology or a software application that does not deliver on the expected/promised return on the initiative. Here is where you’ll find that cheap can be expensive. I recently worked with a center that needed to fix the problem created by the use of a contact center survey software that “came with the phone system”. Sure, the use of this software created the illusion that the customer experience would be measured and it seemed to be an inexpensive solution. What was the risk in implementing this contact center survey software solution?

  1. Customer experience data collection is not the difficult part and just the act of collecting data points does not make it the right data.
  2. The collection of customer comments to explain the reason for scores is difficult if not impossible.
  3. Asking enough questions to have the right information to conduct predictive analytics is not an option.
  4. Conducting the correct analytics does not just spit out of the software, nor does the path to apply the analysis in a performance management process.
  5. The inherent weakness in the survey process undermines the value of the program. Believing that the agent must hang up first for the customer to be transferred to the survey creates the ability, intentional or not, for the agent to manipulate the data.
  6. Off-the-shelf survey programs create distrust in the process by the agent which leads to constant questioning of the feedback (lots of noise) lowers the morale of agents.
  7. Subject-matter expertise is required and usually at risk for promotion or poaching.

customers-grade-the-callsAs I designed Customer Relationship Metrics to be the first fully managed and hosted solution in the contact center industry, it was with the goal to provide the solution that removed risk from project teams. It was to provide a highly-skilled service that promoted accountability of performance as a complement to Internal Quality Monitoring (iQM) where the Customers Grade the Call (eQM).

Focus on your skills

It was also to provide continuity for a center’s customer experience measurement program as we provide the experts to manage the data and the analysis and become the research support to these folks. And the best part is that when compared to the fully loaded cost of an off-the-shelf/included software solution, providing the services where Customers Grade the Call is less expensive and returns a greater value that agents own and gives the managers the ability to focus their skills on improving the customer experience…instead of making shelfware.

About Dr. Jodie Monger

Jodie Monger, Ph.D. is the president of Customer Relationship Metrics and a pioneer in voice of the customer research for the contact center industry. Before creating CRMetrics, she was the founding associate director of Purdue University's Center for Customer-Driven Quality.

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