What can contact centers learn from Tom Brady’s balls?


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The jokes about Tom Brady’s balls, aka Deflategate, are almost endless, aren’t they? From the hilarious press conference by Florence (Mrs. Brady) Henderson to the monologues on every late night show, we have been amused. Well, I’m amused, but I’m not a Seattle Seahawks fan. There is now serious doubt on the Patriots Super Bowl victory which must be really hard to take as a Seahawks fan.

But what can contact centers learn from all of this Deflategate mess? The answer is “don’t get caught”.

Contact Centers can hit any goal

We have our own set of critical metrics in the contact center, different from the NFL, but also ones that permit a fair performance comparison to be made. Metrics can be a bit slippery, wouldn’t you say?  Tell me Ms. Manager, what metric do you want? What target do you want us to hit. I guarantee that I can get it for you. Sound familiar?

The manipulation of numbers is tempting especially since compensation and bonuses are often tied to certain metrics. It’s possible to manipulate to make center goals or for teams to cheat to seemingly outperform against other teams. This may not be on the same level as cheating in a sporting event watched by a billion people, but cheating on your metrics is just like impacting the metrics related to the balls.

Contact Center must score on trust

Trust and integrity are mission critical in the business world, with our customers, with our employees, with our shareholders. When things are tampered with, trust is undermined. Repairing trust is difficult as Brady and the Patriots will soon find out and it’s most certainly expensive. You may not get a million dollar fine, but you may be terminated and you have certainly created a PR nightmare in your company for your contact center.

VoC in Contact Centers gets manipulated

The level of importance of the Voice of the Customer in contact centers is higher than it has ever been. Key performance indicators always include some type of VoC or customer satisfaction metric. Herein lies the temptation. Just like the Patriots found a way to manipulate the pressure in the balls, you can manipulate your contact center survey results by excluding data from the analysis and by turning off the survey program during certain times you feel are potentially difficult for your contact center (eg., high call volume, outages/system down, recalls). Sure, you have a rationale for excluding certain customers but you have actually manipulated the true picture of the customer experience. Is your compensation benefiting from it?

Agents or team managers who participate in activities to influence the customer survey scores are also guilty. If behavior seeks to increase scores and the scores are tied to incentives or compensation, this is theft and should result in immediate termination. I have personally been responsible for the collection of millions of post-call surveys for my clients and have seen a few examples of blatant cheating. Informing my client that one of their agents has cheated is never a pleasant conversation because it’s truly sad that someone threw away their place in an organization because a temptation became too great.

cta-you-should-knowIntegrity in Contact Centers?

Integrity in the customer experience data that Customer Relationship Metrics collects and analyzes for clients will always be all about trust and integrity. When we first started collecting post-call surveys more than 20 years ago, I saw an inconsistency between how a customer rated a question and the associated comment. At that moment from a single survey, Survey Calibration was born. In order to insure integrity, we review every single data point with the customer comments to insure that no mistakes were made or no distrustful agent actions were perpetrated. The review of our customer experience data is extensive, and fast because our clients must have complete trust in the CX metrics and speed.

Beyond our ability to control the integrity of the data is the potential for clients to misuse their data to report on contact center performance. My responsibility is to illuminate the issue and ask that they consider the ramifications of doing things that manipulate the true customer experience. Just like Tom Brady should have known that his footballs were under-inflated at the instant he touched it, managers have the ability to violate trust by survey malpractice.

No more claiming innocence

The time for playing with the numbers and claiming innocence is coming to an end as it did for highest paid quarterback in history. The stakes have never been higher and ignorance is no longer bliss. You cannot undermine the trust in your contact center as Tom Brady has done to his Super Bowl win and to his achievement of throwing six touchdown passes in one game.

Be courageous, have integrity, and have the guts to get the real performance metrics because that is how real change will happen. That’s what Tom Brady’s balls should teach us.

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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