Will Post-Call IVR Surveys Replace QA?

Dr. Jon Anton recently responded when asked what he thought call centers would look like in five years. Among his responses was this opinion:

2. I see a major move to use the caller in the
call quality monitoring process through post-call IVR surveys with the
results linked immediately back to the agent via an agent-specific
dashboard indicating caller feedback in real-time, including a verbatim
response from the caller indicating (by the caller’s voice) what the
agent could have done better in handling the call. I see this new
technology, replacing some, if not all, of the currently expensive and
ineffective call monitoring software using internal quality teams

While I agree that we will see an increase in the use of post-call survey technology, I think it will ultimately backfire if companies try to replace their QA efforts with it. Here’s why…

  1. Post call IVR surveys have a built-in bias issues. Instead of getting a random sample of customers, you tend to get customers who either have a very positive or very negative  experiences. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve seen post-call IVR surveys provide some value – but the value of the information you receive is limited.
  2. Post call surveys may tell you what customers thought of the experience, but they don’t provide any context for what did or did not happen within the phone call to elicit that result. Without quantifying what CSRs are and are not not doing/saying – how can they make improvements? A CSR may consistently get negative comments from customers – and that might motivate the CSR to want to improve – but it doesn’t necessarily provide a road map for what they need to do to improve.
  3. While I agree that call monitoring software is expensive and ineffective, my experience tells me that the problem lies in the user – not in the technology. The answer is to apply better methodology to make QA more effective and less expensive. Post-call IVR surveys have the same issue. It’s expensive technology that requires expertise within the call center to effectively program the questions, determine the methodology, and analyze the resulting data. Call centers that abandon call monitoring software for post-IVR surveys will find themselves in the same – if not worse – situation. "We have this cool technology, but we don’t have any idea how to use it."

Dr. Jon may be right. Let’s be real – companies tend to throw money and resources at the latest, greatest technology to jump on which ever bandwagon the industry is on at the moment. I just hope this time we look before we leap.

  5 comments for “Will Post-Call IVR Surveys Replace QA?

  1. May 7, 2007 at 11:33 am

    I am not a fan of utilizing agent specific post call surveys exclusively as a way to measure an agent’s performance. It has been my experience that no matter how tight or immediate your survey questions are, outside factors influence the customers’ opinion of the service they’ve received. Say the agent respectfully quoted a policy or procedure that the customer was not happy about. Chances are that the customer would mark the agent down in the category of being helpful. Perhaps the hold time was a bit long. The customer could mark the agent down for not being efficient as in his/her mind, the interaction took too long. And then there is the matter of calibration or a lack there of within our customer base. Each customer has different expectations of what it takes to meet or exceed their expectations.
    As far as traditional call monitoring, I don’t believe that forward thinking companies will abandon their traditional call monitoring software. These companies understand that this tool gives them the ability to identify skill strengths and weaknesses. They use this information to coach and develop agent’s thus increasing performance, lowering turnover and increasing customer satisfaction. Those that find traditional quality monitoring ineffective are not taking action on the valuable information these tools provide to make these performance improvements.

  2. May 7, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    IVR Post-Call Surveys vs. QA

    Will IVR post-call surveys replace QA?

  3. May 9, 2007 at 9:38 am

    IVR Post-Call Surveys vs. QA

    Will IVR post-call surveys replace QA?

  4. July 2, 2007 at 7:00 am

    Tom – you say that post-call IVR surveys are “expensive technology that requires expertise within the call center to effectively program the questions, determine the methodology, and analyze the resulting data.” I feel these comments give an inaccurate picture of the technology / services available :
    (a) Cost: Opinion-8 post-call IVR surveys for as little as £700 to set up and from as little as £150 to run on a monthly basis. The cost will depend on volume of callers surveyed and this can be set by the call centre itself.
    (b) Expertise: IVR surveys can be set up or amended on line and it takes no expertise from the end user as this is done by us (or your alternative supplier) at the cost above. The reports are extremely user-friendly and intuitive and again take no exertise to understand. It is only if you purchase IVR equipment for in house surveying that you need a higher level of expertise and few call centres will need to do this.
    I will willingly supply more information about cost etc. – or see http://www.opinion-8.com

  5. July 2, 2007 at 7:17 am

    Thanks for the comment, Ingrid. I will admit that the technology is changing rapidly and making after call IVR surveys easier to program, use and report. The fact that the technology is coming bundled with call center software means more companies will find themselves with this technology whether they wanted it or not.
    I will, however, stand by the original premise of my post:
    1. An IVR survey should not replace QA
    2. Having a spatula doesn’t make you a chef. While the software may be easy to use, there is both science and art involved in crafting questions, determining methodology, and analyzing data to get maximum benefit and actionable information.

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