Jazz and the Art of Quality Assessment

Phil Gerbyshak listed a great link today in his weblog to a post at Presentation Zen which uses quotes from famous Jazz musicians to discuss keys to successful presentations. One of the quotes was from the legendary Jazz bassist Charles Mingus:

Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple.”

The thought struck me that this is true of most QA scorecards. I’ve witnessed so many well intentioned managers finding all sorts of convoluted ways to analyze and score a call. Their methodology is so obtuse that it takes a definition document the size of Moby Dick just to figure out how to score a single element. Then you get it scored and go to calibration to find that you’re in for a debate reminiscent of one of those cable news shows where people firmly entrenched on opposite sides scream at each other.

Scoring a call works best when the QA methodology is very simple:

  • What specific behavior are you looking for from the Customer Service Representative (CSR)?
  • Was this specific behavior applicable to the call in question?
  • If it was applicable, did the CSR do it?

What Mingus was talking about is really just applying the K.I.S.S. method, whether it’s Jazz or QA. That’s cool, man. Very hep.

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  2 comments for “Jazz and the Art of Quality Assessment

  1. April 29, 2006 at 9:08 pm

    Speaking of a Jazz style to define customer relations, I always think of the incredible complexity but incredible smoothness of the Dave Brubeck Quartet. They all shine, but in subtle ways, with subtle tones almost like the sort of understated stated tastes in French cooking.
    All doing well, all seeking the same, all combining to leave the audio equivalence of a good taste in your mouth-if from the start of a call, as you are greeted by a no nonsense menu, to each of the people you speak to at a call center, if we can all combine as an subtle success, nothing over the top, but a combination that finishes with a good taste-we all win..
    Sorry-didn’t mean to go on and on-just been thinking about it alot.
    AC

  2. April 30, 2006 at 6:06 am

    Nice, AC. Very nice. I’m pulling up “Take Five” on media player as I type. Subtle is as apt a word for the Brubeck Quartet as I could imagine. I’m always amazed at how effortlessly Brubeck introduced a foreign palate of rhythm and textures to the music. So subtle – that most listeners don’t even catch it. Oh, that we could be that smooth.
    You pegged it. Great metaphor.

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