Call center internal quality assurance is based on external customer satisfaction (CSAT), not what QA team thinks what customers want.

By Colin Taylor

I was reading a recent post by Helen Dewdney regarding playing Christmas music in stores too early in the season, and the fact that many retailers play music even though it is not well received by their customers. The question Helen poses at the end of the post is “Do you think that believing you know better than your customers what they want is slightly arrogant?” Putting aside the fact that I completely agree with Helen that this is arrogant, it reminded me some of the things that contact center operators do that demonstrates that “we believe we know better than our customers.”

Most contact centers have an internal quality assurance or quality evaluation team. The role of this team is to evaluate agent interactions with customers against a predetermined scorecard. The items on this score card typically consist of elements that we, as the organization, think are, or should be, important to our customers. These can include whether we used the customer name during the interaction, if we employed the “approved greeting,” or if we properly extended “hold courtesies.” While these maybe important to the organization, and could possibly be important to customers, most organizations have no idea what the customer values, because they do not include customer feedback in their quality process. This sounds a bit arrogant to me. Who better to identify what is important to the customer, than the customer?

Failing to understand what is important to customer and instead believing we know better is dangerous. It can lead to a negative correlation between internal quality and external customer satisfaction.

Yes we have seen this.

My colleague, Turaj Seyrafiaan, recently wrote a great post on “Why We Need Customer Satisfaction As Part Of Quality Assurance.” In this article he sets out some of the reasons why including Customer Satisfaction is critical, including aligning to what the customers really value, rather than our opinion of what they should value, adding an unbiased perspective of the customer’s satisfaction with the interaction and simplifying the quality process, as the quality evaluators can become less the “gotcha police,” penalizing staff, and more the supportive coach we all wish them to be.

The traditional approach is dangerous and those that employ it should cease and desist immediately. Of course they may miss trying to be psychic and trying to guess what the customer will value. It is a little less arrogant, a little more humble, and a lot more effective.

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(Nov 29, 2019)