Is building a survey core competency a good idea?


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“Do you think building another core competency such as surveying is a good idea?” is a self-assessment question that was included in the 25 Mistakes to Avoid with Post-call IVR Surveys eBook and self-assessment. Since inventing post-call IVR surveying for contact centers over 20 years ago, we have seen many examples of program plans that are the barriers to its success. Take advantage of our knowledge and experience and avoid the barriers in your program.

Why is this a problem?

Is it rocket science to write a few survey questions, collect some data and report the findings to your company’s management team? It’s actually harder than rocket science (watch Jim explain it in the video). Just as so many other things in life, it’s hard to get surveying right. Why else do you suspect so many are unhappy with their voice of the customer programs? If it was easy, they would all be happy. Despite this common sense, many will answer that surveying is easier than rocket science. Too many call centers place customer experience measurement into the low-skill level category, something that a (survey) monkey can do. Many of the mistakes made by contact centers have been included in the complimentary self-assessment.

You may have fallen into the common trap when someone asked you to construct a customer satisfaction survey to report how well your contact center is serving the customers. We all know that Internal Quality Monitoring (IQM) scores are not representative of the customer experience, for many reasons, so it was decided that you should build a post-call IVR survey program. Post-call is important because it’s immediate and IVR because it is cost effective, consistent, and always available. Great! What do you do now?

Well, if you do not get educated then you are ignorant. Remember the purpose of education is to stop ignorance, because ignorance can kill. Okay, so maybe you won’t kill people with a poor post-call IVR survey program. But you sure can make a lot of people upset and waste a lot of money. In today’s business world that can be as painful as death. The reality in life is that you must build a core competency to be excellent at anything. Therefore, in order to implement a successful voice of the customer program, focus must be put on developing the core competency. Is it safe to trust the interpretation of your value and worth to anything less than a Subject Matter Expert? Of course not.

It’s not a small feat to develop another core competency within contact centers. They are always busy. Who has time to take on a new project? Perhaps the Quality group can do this for you? Maybe Market Research (we already nixed that idea)? Perhaps IT can take it over for you (haha)? Who has the extra time to build a new core competency?

Expertise does not come rapidly and there is an issue of longevity. Talented individuals within contact centers are often promoted internally or leave the organization. The cost of losing key Subject Matter Experts can be disastrous. One of my clients trained six people as Six Sigma Master Black Belts for their new quality group. Within six months all of those Master Black Belts left the company. It was crushing for them.

There are several disciplines in the field of statistics and analytic techniques, and all of them require time and professional development. Giving someone an off-the-shelf survey tool or an Excel data file and expecting him or her to conduct the appropriate analysis only “seems” to be easy solution. I have never witnessed anyone to be able to quickly apply statistically-driven results to the operation. And this must be a requirement for any customer experience measurement program (this is what actionable is all about).

We assume the right things will be measured in the right way and that artistic interpretive skills will be developed quickly. That just sets everyone up for failure. At the end of the day, your contact center survey program must deliver a guarantee to your agents that it’s a valid assessment of performance. Ask yourself: are you able to rapidly develop a core competency in your call center that will stand up against a test of agent scrutiny? Building trust requires subject matter expertise.

The Solution

Considering the incredible risk to your business operation, to the Human Resources (and Legal) aspect of a customer experience measurement program, it is advisable to place this responsibility in the hands of those that are smarter than “rocket scientists”. Developing a core competency takes a lot of time and effort. Who has that luxury these days? What risks do we accept as contact center leaders when we rely on the unskilled to defend our value and worth?

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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