Last week I had the opportunity to call the Worst Call Center In The World ™. This was my second call to this call center. It is the warranty arm of my local massive furniture store. I love the store, and feel like I get excellent service when I go in. But the first time I had to call for service (maybe a year ago?) the call center agent sounded like they were asleep.
This time they sound like they were a healthy combination of:
- Just waking up
- High on drugs
- Completely indifferent
Unfortunately, the customer database was messed and when she looked up my account based on various phone numbers, addresses, and names, she couldn’t find me. She insisted that I did not buy the appliance in question from their store, even though over the years I’ve bought plenty of things from them. Why wasn’t I showing up in their database?
I was very frustrated. I had to resolve this issue, however, so I drove to the store and after about an hour found someone who could actually find my record. I don’t blame the warranty call center agent for not being able to pull up my account… even the customer service lady couldn’t figure it out. It took a salesman from the floor to be able to find my account (THANK YOU to that guy!!).
By the time I got home from this experience I was not a happy camper, or a happy customer. It didn’t help that they said “the warranty company will call you in a few days to schedule an appointment for perhaps a week from the call.” What? Why does the warranty company need a few days to call me?
But that’s for another blog post. My post is about the sleepy, indifferent agent who did not delight her customer.
Let me tangent here. Don’t worry, this will all make sense as I tie it in in a few minutes.
I’ve been in software my entire career. When I started my own company, in 2006, my first hire was a professional developer. My second hire was QA. I knew that I would not like to do QA, I would not be good at it, and most importantly, it would rob my time. As a business owner I needed to spend my time on growth, marketing, customer acquisition, etc. Not on development (even though I was a developer) and definitely not on quality assurance. QA in software is easily a full time job.
I also realized that QA was critical to the success of my company. If people used my software, and found it buggy, they would move on to other solutions. I could not afford to lose customers because of a buggy experience. Of course, things would slip through, but our goal was that my QA department (consisting of one person :)) would find bugs and issues before users would.
It has easily been one of the most important investments I’ve made, giving our users a better experience and freeing up my time to do what I, as the business owner, needed to do.
Back to the call center.
I’m wondering where the QA is for this call center. If this call center had people listening to calls, would I continue to have such rotten experiences? Is there any training for agents? Probably. Everyone has training. But what about follow-up and accountability?
If you use live humans for call center QA, kudos to you. Apparently this call center does not. Using live humans can help you find and even anticipate issues that will help you deliver a better customer experience.
At Snowfly we have a Call Center Speech Analytics product that helps you do software QA in a similar way. The software takes a recording of your call, transcribes it, and identifies good and bad elements of the conversation.
Do your agents need to do a mini-Miranda? We can verify that that is being done.
Do your agents have a proper greeting? Snowfly Speech Analytics can track compliance.
Do your agents need to confirm email or credit card information? Check.
There are dozens of things you might want to make sure your agents do (or don’t do… like use foul language). Snowfly Speech Analytics is call center QA. I would suggest that in some ways, it is more effective than what a live person can do. Not do downplay humans (more on that in a minute), but Speech Analytics doesn’t call in sick. With Snowfly Speech Analytics you don’t have the overhead that managing and motivating people has. You won’t have bias, where one agent feels like they are continually targeted while the friend of your QA person hardly gets called out, even though there are violations.
One of the most powerful aspect of Snowfly Speech Analytics is that you can listen to, analyze, and get reports on 100% of your calls… not just a small sample of calls. You get real and true insight into every conversation, and can use that information to improve training and performance. And of course, we give you the information to help you incentivize, reward, and recognize agents who are doing a great job.
So what does this mean for the live QA professionals?
I know that people who work in QA think “this is awesome… but wait? What does this mean for my job? Is this taking my job away?”
Instead of thinking that all live QA functions are going away, we propose that you adjust the job description so that your live QA professionals take the output from Snowfly Speech Analytics and use critical thinking to figure out next steps. After all, our software doesn’t know your culture, your team, or your business objectives. We don’t know personal and personnel the way you and your live associates do. We don’t know what trainings have been done, and what topics your executives are focusing on.
I would shift my QA team’s focus to learn from the analytics and results that Snowfly Speech Analytics delivers. Look for training opportunities. And then work with the people who most need it. Have employees who need more one-on-one, or specialized programs? You now have data, trends, and evidence to help you create the best programs for each person and team. Do you have agents that are consistently performing above and beyond? Learn from them! Use their calls in your trainings, and as motivation to the rest of your team.
Like I said earlier, my goal with my software QA was to find issues before our customers did. I wanted to deliver the best experience I could to customers. I’m sure you want the same. Just like my QA hire was one of the best investments I’ve ever made, teaming up with Snowfly Speech Analytics might be one of the best investments you can ever make.
Want to see it in action?
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