Innovations in Mystery Calling would excite Sherlock Holmes


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If Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were alive today, he would have written a story for Sherlock Holmes that would cause everybody in the world to rethink mystery calling for call center interactions.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote fifty-six short stories and four novels about Sherlock Holmes. The first was published in 1887. In my opinion, Sherlock Holmes was the first Crime Scene Investigator (CSI). His use of forensic skills and logical reasoning were on the revolutionary edge and were used to solve very difficult cases.

When I think of Sherlock Holmes, I picture Basil Rathbone in my mind; and I always will. I don’t think Elementary (on CBS) starring Jonny Lee Miller with Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson will be able to replace Basil for my connection to Sherlock.

But it did cause me to think about what Sherlock Holmes would do if he were presented with the mysteries of what is happening during all those telephone interactions in call centers. To start, I think he would look at what most people do when they implement a Mystery Shopping Program in a call center.

What do you think his analysis would reveal? I think he would observe several things but most noteworthy would be:

  • It’s very costly: Human Mystery Shoppers are calling into the call center and documenting details about their interactions with call center agents. The cost of labor is high and therefore companies limit their investment by limiting the number of shops.
  • Low sample size: In an effort to control high labor costs, a low number of shops do not provide a fair, valid, or realistic assessment of service delivery.
  • Culture bias: To save on the cost of Human Shoppers many have outsourced the shopping to lower labor markets off-shore. Many of these markets do not understand the US marketplace and the US consumer. This results in false interpretations and incorrect scoring of measurement criteria.
  • It’s not real: Shops are scripted interactions and seldom reflect authentic customer interactions. Since Shoppers must follow a script as a pretend customer, it’s impossible for them to be intimate with the company and the products of which they are supposed to be familiar. This artificial process generates artificial findings. Think about it – why do scientists want to observe behavior in the wild instead of in the zoo or the lab?
  • No different than internal quality monitoring (IQM): Many seem to duplicating Mystery Shopping investments with listening and grading recorded calls. Both use scripts, rely on internally focused criteria, and do not come from real customers. A wasteful duplication.

So what would Sherlock do? I think he would look to solve these problems by using forensic skills and logical reasoning. In conducting his research, he would discover Call Analytics (other names include speech analytics and audio mining). When he did that, he would find call analytics to be…ELEMENTARY!

Like Sherlock we all know that automation allows us to do more with less and do it better. The only thing preventing people from using call analytics to conduct Mystery Shopping is awareness.

There are vast differences in both the technology and the deployment options for call analytics. Beyond the awareness is know-how, but managed service options are available with call analytics just like it is with Mystery Shopping.

With call analytics technology you get the opportunity to observe more interactions in “the wild” of the customers’ reality. You can also identify and search for important words, phrases, and moments better with the technology, at more statistically valid levels, than with Human Shoppers. Cultural and human bias problems are eliminated with the use of call analytics technology.

There are numerous ways to use call analytics, speech analytics and audio mining to improve service, sales, and support. You too can be brilliant like Sherlock Holmes and use the forensic power of call analytics to solve the mysteries on what’s happening in all those phone calls. It’s ELEMENTARY!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jim Rembach
Jim Rembach is recognized as a Top 50 Thought Leader and CX Influencer. He's a certified Emotional Intelligence practitioner and host of the Fast Leader Show podcast and president of Call Center Coach, the world's only virtual blended learning academy for contact center supervisors and emerging supervisors. He’s a founding member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association’s CX Expert Panel, Advisory Board Member for Customer Value Creation International (CVCI), and Advisory Board Member for CX University.


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