Innovations in Mystery Calling would excite Sherlock Holmes

/, Call Center Quality, Mystery Shopping, Speech Analytics/Innovations in Mystery Calling would excite Sherlock Holmes

Innovations in Mystery Calling would excite Sherlock Holmes

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If Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were alive today, he would have written a story for Sherlock Holmes that would cause everybody in the world to rethink mystery calling for call center interactions.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote fifty-six short stories and four novels about Sherlock Holmes. The first was published in 1887. In my opinion, Sherlock Holmes was the first Crime Scene Investigator (CSI). His use of forensic skills and logical reasoning were on the revolutionary edge and were used to solve very difficult cases.
When I think of Sherlock Holmes, I picture Basil Rathbone in my mind; and I always will. I don’t think Elementary (on CBS) starring Jonny Lee Miller with Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson will be able to replace Basil for my connection to Sherlock.

But it did cause me to think about what Sherlock Holmes would do if he were presented with the mysteries of what is happening during all those telephone interactions in call centers. To start, I think he would look at what most people do when they implement a Mystery Shopping Program in a call center.

What do you think his analysis would reveal? I think he would observe several things but most noteworthy would be:

  • It’s very costly: Human Mystery Shoppers are calling into the call center and documenting details about their interactions with call center agents. The cost of labor is high and therefore companies limit their investment by limiting the number of shops.
  • Low sample size: In an effort to control high labor costs, a low number of shops do not provide a fair, valid, or realistic assessment of service delivery.
  • Culture bias: To save on the cost of Human Shoppers many have outsourced the shopping to lower labor markets off-shore. Many of these markets do not understand the US marketplace and the US consumer. This results in false interpretations and incorrect scoring of measurement criteria.
  • It’s not real: Shops are scripted interactions and seldom reflect authentic customer interactions. Since Shoppers must follow a script as a pretend customer, it’s impossible for them to be intimate with the company and the products of which they are supposed to be familiar. This artificial process generates artificial findings. Think about it – why do scientists want to observe behavior in the wild instead of in the zoo or the lab?
  • No different than internal quality monitoring (IQM): Many seem to duplicating Mystery Shopping investments with listening and grading recorded calls. Both use scripts, rely on internally focused criteria, and do not come from real customers. A wasteful duplication.

customers-grade-the-callsSo what would Sherlock do?  I think he would look to solve these problems by using forensic skills and logical reasoning. In conducting his research, he would discover Call Analytics (other names include speech analytics and audio mining). When he did that, he would find call analytics to be…ELEMENTARY!

Like Sherlock we all know that automation allows us to do more with less and do it better. The only thing preventing people from using call analytics to conduct Mystery Shopping is awareness.

There are vast differences in both the technology and the deployment options for call analytics. Beyond the awareness is know-how, but managed service options are available with call analytics just like it is with Mystery Shopping.

With call analytics technology you get the opportunity to observe more interactions in “the wild” of the customers’ reality. You can also identify and search for important words, phrases, and moments better with the technology, at more statistically valid levels, than with Human Shoppers. Cultural and human bias problems are eliminated with the use of call analytics technology.

There are numerous ways to use call analytics, speech analytics and audio mining to improve service, sales, and support. You too can be brilliant like Sherlock Holmes and use the forensic power of call analytics to solve the mysteries on what’s happening in all those phone calls. It’s ELEMENTARY!

About Jim Rembach

Jim Rembach is a panel expert with the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) and an SVP for Customer Relationship Metrics (CRM). Jim spent many years in contact center operations and leverages this to help others. He is a certified Emotional Intelligence (EQ) practitioner and frequently quoted industry expert. Call Jim at 336-288-8226 if you need help with customer-centric enhancements.

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By | 2016-12-05T15:14:56+00:00 October 17th, 2012|Analytics, Call Center Quality, Mystery Shopping, Speech Analytics|5 Comments
  • Zankhana

    Mystery Shopping does help if one wants to check product knowledge in semi live environment. The people selected to do the calling can be internal employees seeking customer service help esp for an in-house inbound call center.
    However for outsourced call center, better practice would be QA evaluation, Speech analytics, Voice of Customer (Client; end customer) and QA’s after call evaluation posing themselves as customer and rating CSAT.

    • Jim Rembach

      Anytime you take an internal person who knows the right thing or follows a scripted plan, the assessment is biased. It doesn’t matter how hard you try, the bias still exists. Bias is bad for interpretation and actions. Posing as a customer is outdated and should be replaced with technology listening (audio mining, speech analytics). The common QA processes in contact centers is outdated and must be changed for real quality improvements to take place.

  • Karyn

    Speech Analytics is a great tool; however, you still have to listen to the call in the long run. It is only able to pick up words or phrases that you ask it to pick up. It also isn’t there yet in really picking up tone. I have found that using SA to get golden nuggets can be the start of a great QA program. I agree that bias is found internally, so the best bet is to find a partner firm that will listen to the calls and provide unbiased, customer-centric evaluations to help managers train/coach their agents.

    • Jim Rembach

      There are different types of listeners that can be used. The low accuracy can only spot phrases and words. We use a hosted tool that goes well beyond this. You don’t need to listen to all the calls either. Knowing the capabilities of the tools can go a long way.

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