Eeny-Meeny-Miny-Moach, Which Call Do I Choose to Coach?

I was shadowing several call coaches as part of a call coach mentoring program for one of our clients. It was interesting to watch these coaches select the calls they were going to analyze. The coach quickly dismissed any call shorter than two minutes and any call longer than five minutes, gravitating to a call between three and five minutes in length. The assumption was that any call less than two minutes had no value for coaching purposes. Dismissing longer calls was done, admittedly, because they didn’t want to take the time to listen to them. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon practice. Yet, there are a couple of problems with this approach:

  • You are not getting a truly random sample of the agents performance. If you are simply coaching an occasional call, this may not be a major issue. If you are using the results for bonuses, performance mangement or incentive pay, then your sampling process may put you at risk. What you’re really doing by eliminating calls based on time is reducing your sample to a census of calls in a certain time range, but it’s not a true picture of an agents performance over their entire sample of calls.
  • You are ignoring real “moments of truth” in which customers are being impacted. Customers can make critical decisions about your company in thirty second calls and thirty minute calls. To avoid listening to these calls is turning a blind eye to, what may be, very critical interactions between customers and CSRs. I have, unfortunately, witnessed situations in which CSRs rushed customers off the phone. I’ve even known a few CSRs to routinely placing callers on hold, immediately after answering the phone, and then releasing the call. In the case of my client today, the QA team would never catch it. It always happened in less than 30 seconds.
  • You may be missing out on valuable data. Short calls often happen because of misdirected calls or other process problems. Quantifying why these are occuring could save you money and improve one call resolution as well as customer satisfaction. You might also discover simple questions that aren’t currently being handled by your IVR. Likewise, longer calls may result from situations that have seriously gone awry for a customer. Digging in to the reasons may yeild valuable information about problems in the service delivery system that will save you time and future calls.

Capturing and analyzing a truly random sample of phone calls will, in the long run, protect and benefit everyone involved.

  1 comment for “Eeny-Meeny-Miny-Moach, Which Call Do I Choose to Coach?

  1. January 18, 2011 at 3:14 am

    Often, talk about gaming the system is constrained to sales people gaming the commission system. This is a great example of a context outside of sales. All roles seek to game the system and maximize what they perceive as their compensation package criteria. Thanks for expanded this train of thought.

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