Are you afraid contact center agents will try to cheat your survey process?


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“Are you terrified that agents will try to cheat the process?” is a question that was included in the 25 Mistakes to Avoid with Post-call IVR Surveys e-book and self-assessment. The e-book and self-assessment includes one bonus question so you actually get 26. After 20 years experience designing and operating post-call IVR survey programs in contact centers, I have compiled this book to help others. Many of the questions are ones that I have been answering for years. Read and then share the ebook to help others in your company or in the contact center industry so the common mistakes can be eliminated.

Why is this a problem?

It’s because all contact center agents are out to get you! Is this one of the nightmares that wakes you up late at night? I hope not. However, I can’t believe how many contact center leaders worry that agents will cheat the post-call IVR survey process. The feeling is too common among managers, and it does not need to be. The weed of mistrust can easily grow into a substantial plant, especially if you feed and water it. As in most things in life, there are ways to cheat any process but remember that most do not cheat and those who do can be caught which becomes a deterrent to others. The things that cause the weed to grow are largely dependent on you knowing the ins and outs and potential pitfalls of post-call IVR survey programs. Just like being a master horticulturalist, I may be able to plant a potted petunia but there is no way I am going to try to design an environmentally friendly landscape for the micro-climate that I live in that supports sustainable gardening. Many contact center leader post-call IVR survey petunia planters freak out if their post-call IVR survey methodology requires the agent to ask the caller to participate in the evaluation or to transfer them to the survey. They think the contact center agents will just cherry pick customers so they get better survey performance scores. Or the concern is they will not transfer upset customers to the survey. You know what, they just might do these things if you don’t expand your petunia potting mindset and map out, communicate the survey flow, the risks and the consequences. Without a balanced approach, the weeds will certainly take over and ruin your garden.

To alleviate their fears the contact center leader petunia potters think they need to have a fully automated transfer process so the contact center agents are unable to cherry pick or to chose to not transfer callers to the post-call IVR survey. Too much fertilizer alert! The fully automated transfer process can be cheated as well. The way telephonic systems work is that the agent must disconnect/release the call for the caller to be transferred into the post-call IVR survey. To block the customer from getting to the survey it’s a simple as not hanging up until the customer does (gives up). When the customer hangs up, the call is terminated and they can’t be transferred. That’s the crazy weed that grows 3 feet in a day!

After 20 years of designing and implementing post-call IVR surveys, I have found that addressing your fears with rationalizations is not the best approach. But rather, do it like anything else…a systems approach that is simple and complete. At the end of the day, it is possible to control and account for most of the pitfalls that generate the “agents are going to cheat” paranoia. And doing callback surveys in today’s world is for those that don’t even know what a petunia is.

The Solution

May I be the first to say, there is no perfect voice of the customer program. Post-call IVR surveying can be a master horticulturalist for your voice of the customer program or it can be your biggest weed problem. Do not become paralyzed though, because a post-call IVR survey is one of the most beneficial voice of the customer tools for many award winners of customer experience excellence. The benefits outweigh the risks and can produce beautiful blooms.

While there are a handful of solutions to deter manipulation, two stand out as must-have elements. The first is to let your customers help you to identify cheaters by analyzing the comments they leave. The comments I read that contain: “they hung up on me” and “I’m calling back to take the survey” are dead giveaways that launch an investigation to stop weed growth.

The second is to look at survey completion rates. This is a mathematical sampling review process. Think about the agents in your contact center and the amount of interactions they handle and the amount of time they work. A quick example is, I have full-time employees that handle similar types of calls and the survey invitation process is random. Then I should have relatively an even number of completed surveys per contact center agent each month. If Jane has three completed and the rest average 20 completed surveys, and they worked the same amount of hours, I need to monitor what is going on with Jane.

Just like gardening, if you know the ins and outs, you can have a garden that is envied by all. There are fail-safe processes to use which are dependent on your program. Use a checks-and-balance process to which accountability is tied and you will have a program that you can trust. Without the fail-safes your weeds and paranoia will be that embarrassing house on the block.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jodie Monger
Jodie Monger, Ph.D. is the president of Customer Relationship Metrics (CRM) and a pioneer in business intelligence for the contact center industry. Dr. Jodie's work at CRM focuses on converting unstructured data into structured data for business action. Her research areas include customer experience, speech and operational analytics. Before founding CRM, she was the founding associate director of Purdue University's Center for Customer-Driven Quality.


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