But, You’re NOT the Customer

My wife and I are two very different people. Like many married couples, opposites attracted. At least, personality-wise. My wife is a bit of a lion. You always know exactly where she stands because she'll tell you. When she's upset, she roars. It's actually an admirable trait. I rarely have to guess where she stands. On the other hand, I'm much more of a Golden Retriever (I'm flashing on a scene from "When Harry Met Sally" when Meg Ryan says "Is one of us a DOG in this scenario?!"). I'm a people pleaser, so I tend to hide my true emotions from people in a given moment.

When dealing with customer service situations, there is a distinct difference in the ways my wife and react. My wife will make it very clear how she feels about a given situation. She will be very up front with the CSR and explain exactly what she expects, when she expects it, and what she will do if the situation isn't remedied. On the other hand, I will sit there, quietly smile, and nod my head. Then I'll quietly walk away and never do business with the company again….ever.

I share this because understanding human nature is important to QA. It's very common for me to hear supervisors and QA coaches analyzing a call based on their perception of what a customer might have been thinking…

  • "The customer was like…"
  • "If I were the customer, I would…"
  • "I think this customer…"

Granted, if you have my wife on the line you're likely going to hear exactly what the customer was thinkng. (You still have to be careful, some customers will say one thing on a call but behave completely differently in their future purchase intent). But, if you have me on the line, you'd never know. That's why an objective QA process sticks closely to measuring things that you can hear (or not hear) and see (or not see) in the CSR's behavior. If you're fortunate, you've got some reliable research data that provides you with a picture of what your customers, in general, expect when they call. But, even with research data, there are always outliers in a pool of customers. Trying to divine what a given customer was thinking or feeling is a slippery slope.

Remember, you're NOT the customer on that call. QA is not a magic 8 ball peering into the mind of each customer on each call. Reliable QA defines, based on reliable data, which behaviors are likely to have the greatest impact on overall customer satisfaction if demonstrated consistently and done well. Then it measures if those behaviors are consistently demonstrated over time and a valid sample of calls, and it uses that data to coach CSRs towards better and more consistent performance on those defined behaviors.

  2 comments for “But, You’re NOT the Customer

  1. steve
    January 14, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Well put! I came across your site by chance and its been a wellspring of information. Thanks!

  2. January 14, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Glad to have you along, Steve! Thanks for stopping by and letting me know!

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