Is Management “Usually Wrong”?

I was in a meeting yesterday and we were discussing a Service Quality Assessment our group had done for a company with two call centers. As part of the discussion we explained that, prior to the pilot assessment, the management team of this particular company was thoroughly convinced that one of the call centers was doing an admirable job and the other call center wasn’t nearly as good at serving customers.

The objective measurement of recorded calls between the call centers’ CSRs and customers clearly revealed that there was no significant difference between the service delivery in the two centers. The management team’s prejudice may have been framed by internal relationships or struggles that spilled over into preconceived notions about how the call centers were doing.

At this point, a person in the meeting said something to the effect of "My experience is that management is usually wrong [in perceptions of their call centers]." This person has worked for a couple of major corporations and has plenty of experience around call centers.

The statement struck me because I have also found it to be a common theme in companies we work with. What you think you know about your call centers may be a far cry from reality. That’s why an objective assessment of what your customers are actually experiencing can provide you with actionable, eye-opening results that can help you drive real (not perceived) improvement.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and dsevilla

  2 comments for “Is Management “Usually Wrong”?

  1. September 14, 2007 at 9:58 am

    Ding! Exactly. As a 6 Sigma Black Belt Dude…and someone that works with project teams on “fill in the blank thing that’s wrong…and everyone knows in their gut what’s causing it and how to fix it”. 9x out of 10x the data shows otherwise. If the culture of gut fell management is the winner…most attempts to change will be failures. Sad but true. If nothing else, 6 Sigma brings a culture of “let’s get the numbers first and let them tell a tale”.
    I hope you’re well Tom.

  2. David B
    September 14, 2007 at 11:59 am

    I think you’ve really hit a key point with the attribution to internal relationships.
    “Bob’s a stand up guy, always meeting my requests and displaying a great attitude.” very quickly becomes: “Bob’s centre is the better centre.”
    In addition, all too often, Senior Management is recognized by corporate for their completion of irrelevant tasks. Or they are lauded for meeting arbitrary internal targets that have no real bearing on actual performance (sometimes that includes a quality score that simply doesn’t correlate with CSAT).

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