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“Is the information you collect primarily used for contact center agent performance measurement?” is a question that was included in the 25 Mistakes to Avoid with Post-call IVR Surveys e-book and self-assessment. The questions are an accumulation of more than 20 years of experience designing and operating post-call IVR survey programs in contact centers.  Many of these questions are ones that I have been providing answers to for years. So do everyone a big favor and share the ebook with others in the contact center industry, we need your help to eliminate some of the ignorance and incorrect information about post-call IVR surveying.

Why is this a problem?

It is very easy to think the measurement items in a post-call IVR survey should only be about the agent. You perceive you are most responsible for how the agents are serving the customers and that you can use the information for inclusion on their performance scorecards and for coaching purposes. And, the length of the survey is something that you feel, or are being told by someone, is critical for participation (see the e-book for comment on this) so you can keep it short by only focusing on the agent.

Recently we worked with an organization who wanted to have two different surveys so the agent and the organization could be measured separately without “burdening” the customer to answer both sets of questions. Interesting wish but is essentially creating two invalid measurement programs. Stop and think about yourself for a moment. If you were presented with a survey with only agent-focused questions in it, could you refrain from rating the agent poorly to register your feelings for bad company performance? Here, you are not given the opportunity to vent dissatisfaction about the company and the agent performed as well as they possibly could. Well, if you answer like other human beings behave, you would admit to lowering your scores for the agent.

After collecting millions of post-call IVR surveys, I can tell you that the agent scores suffer in this scenario. Also, if there is a customer comment, and they express dissatisfaction about the company, what do you think is going to happen? The agent will see the comment and assume that the scores on the performance scorecard are not for them, are not right, are not fair, and subsequently do not want to be held accountable for them. And they are right for feeling that way. So now you will have an agent engagement problem with the survey scores and your voice of the customer program is undermined as a performance improvement initiative.

Let’s review the second survey idea – the one with only company level questions.  As a contact center leader, do you need to know the influence that the agent has on the relationship with customers? Of course. But if you have only company-level questions this is not possible. Even if agents do not believe that they are responsible for the overall company evaluation, they do have an important influence on it. You need to know if contact center agents protect your company and the brand or “throw it under the bus” in an effort to get good individual scores.

Contact Center Surveying Best Practices ebookThe Solution

Think about the agent in the ecosystem when designing a program that allows customers to evaluate your service delivery. When designing External Quality Monitoring (eQM) programs that use the post-call IVR survey methodology to quantitatively analyze the customer experience, this is what we learned and it works. Feedback about agent performance from the callers is critical to understanding their impact on the customer experience and insights into the company product, process, and policy define the bigger picture. Think beyond surveying and focus on performance improvement. To experience performance improvement you must obtain ownership from all stakeholders. Since you are most responsible for contact center agent performance you have to avoid a lack of ownership of the scores by the agents. Without a valid measurement program, the inclusion of post-call IVR survey scores on a performance scorecard can easily be classified as survey malpractice. In the effort to measure customer experience and satisfaction, do not throw your agents under the bus.

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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