Get Your Head Out of the Sand!

There is a reluctance among some companies to start a QA program. Monitoring calls makes some managers feel like "big brother". There is often a fear of a backlash among the front-line, and there is often a strange "I don’t even want to know" attitude we encounter when talking to companies about getting started. "We’ve done fine without monitoring calls," the theory goes, "Why start now?"

Are you doing fine? Do you really know that?

Sticking your head in the sand has a very deceptive quality. It makes you feel safe and comfortable, but it leaves your back-side exposed as a huge target. At some point, you’re going to get blind-sided right in your keester.

Many of the calls we listen to involve CSRs making a sincere attempt to deliver great service to customers. But your phones are managed by human beings, and not all human beings are self-motivated. In fact, when left to ourselves we often take the path of least resistance – doing what’s easiest and most convenient rather than doing what’s best.

Over the past year, across various clients, we’ve encountered CSRs playing video games through entire phone calls, pretending to pull up the customer’s account and providing answers out of thin air. We’ve seen and heard CSRs who tell the customer that they are "pulling up your account" when the account was already up on the screen. They left the caller in dead air for up to a minute while writing personal e-mails to family and friends.

It’s sad that people will take advantage of their employer and hurt the customer this way, but it happens. There is a tremendous amount of time and resources wasted, and a tremendous number of customer service issues created or escalated, by people who are not adequately coached how to best serve the customer – or who choose to take advantage of the system.

When you properly develop and implement a Quality Assessment program, you can eliminate the small minority of CSRs who are taking advantage of you, you can equip the vast majority of "good" CSRs to become "great" CSRs, and you can quantify, exemplify, and reward your top performers. QA doesn’t have to be a negative experience.

Our experience is that the CSRs who really want to do a good job and be recognized for it actually appreciate what a QA program does for them. It provides them with quantifiable data telling them what they need to do to improve, it tracks their progress, and it provides them with the data to show their managers how well they are doing.

Hey, Call Center Manger! Hey, Vice-President of Customer Service! Hey there CEO! It’s time to get your head out of the sand! There’s money to be saved and customer satisfaction to be earned by monitoring and equipping your front-line!

  8 comments for “Get Your Head Out of the Sand!

  1. February 13, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    Tom, I couldn’t agree with you more. Oh, and about the “big brother” thing. It shouldn’t be about being a “big brother”. That’s the wrong reason to set up the program. Sure you will catch things they shouldn’t be doing, but the purpose is to evaluate, coach and develop agents so that they are more successful, confident and comfortable in their jobs. As they progress, so will your efficiencies and satisfaction scores. Also, if companies have their QA programs set up correctly then they will have properly aligned their evaluation criteria to their department goals and they can use the quality program to drive results. For instance, if a company is trying to increase sales then what type of criteria would be beneficial to evaluate and coach to?
    How about:
    1. Asking probing questions
    2. Identifying customer needs
    3. Asking for the sale
    By evaluating and coaching to these skills, you will see an increase in sales.

  2. February 13, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    Great comments, Connie. You bring up a great point. Too many companies don’t understand how valuable their QA process can be to unearthing opportunities for process/procedure/sales improvements!

  3. February 13, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    Tom:
    What you seem to be saying, to me, is that it takes courage to be great!
    if there were more courageous leaders, there would be more great customer experiences and more great brands.
    -Mark

  4. February 14, 2007 at 9:31 am

    You got it, Mark. I’m glad you’re out there building up courageous leaders and their brands!

  5. February 14, 2007 at 10:55 am

    The Importance of Call Center QA-Training

  6. February 15, 2007 at 8:22 am

    Shouldnt I Get a Phone Call?

    Think of the last time you called a company’s toll free number. You probably were greeted by an automated voice that stated the call may be monitored for quality assurance purposes.
    If my calls are monitored, what happens when I get so …

  7. February 15, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    Great article, and dead on right! You know, I work for a company that makes call recorders and I listen to my own, and my co-workers calls. I’ve heard that worry from people calling in interested in our product. What we’ve found is that if you pitch the call recording system right your CSRs will see it as a MAJOR benefit to them rather than “big brother.”
    How do you do it? Well, first off, give your CSRs the ability to pull up their own recordings AND the responsibility to listen to themselves and improve their presentation. Second, use recordings of GOOD calls in regular meetings to give kudos to top performers. CSRs then will look forward to you listening to their calls. As I was writing this one of my tech guys walked up and just told me; “Man, that was a GREAT call, you should listen to it!” He was proud, and had proof of a very satisfied customer service experience. Of course, I’ll listen and then reinforce. I also use the recorder to remember important information, and catch data entry errors I make. In that way having access to my own recordings is like having my own secretary. Pitch it like that to CSRs and you’ll notice a different attitude about installing a call recording system!

  8. February 15, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    Thanks for the comment Jonathan. Kudos to you, your team and your managers for doing it right – and having the maturity to use the technology and information to be people builders. Keep it up!

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