Why contact center leaders feel like punching bags and how to fight back


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customer experience data do the punchingContact centers are staffed with nice people who easily become punching bags. These people are ready and willing to answer questions and serve internal (in addition to external) customer needs. If you say jump, these kind contact center agents simply ask, how high? It is becoming more widely accepted that the contact center is the customer hub of any business. The people in contact centers selflessly serve the needs of the customer and report the customer experience data across all business units. But we know that the contact center does not always get the respect it so rightly deserves. Far too often the benefits the contact center delivers to the business as a whole is overlooked. But contact center professionals do not have to take punches. You can hold our heads up high and (in a nice way) battle back. Here is your chance to “get off the ropes”!

If you need to get off the ropes, here is a great opportunity for you to leverage your trusty post-call IVR survey. By collecting a statistically representative sample of customer interactions you have a stronger backbone because of customer experience data. And the more data you have (good, clean data that is), and the more you mine that data for customer insights, the stronger your backbone becomes. In the contact center you have powerful information and the rest of the company’s success relies on the collecting, mining and the distributing of this customer data. You don’t have to actually punch your way out, let the data do it for you. Ding! Round one of this boxing match just went to you in the contact center.

Here’s why.

Sales & Marketing – How can sales target the right customers and make them repeat buyers if they don’t have good customer data? What about demographic analysis, trends and spending patterns? How does marketing create buying personas so targeted email offers are sent to the appropriate audiences and leads are generated for the sales team? As the hub, your contact center is the keeper of this valuable information AND can continuously field the various studies needed by Sales & Marketing with a suite of measurement instruments. Round two and your customer experience data just landed a left hook to the body. Ding! Round two for the contact center.

R&D – The post-call IVR survey captures customer comments about product usability, benefits and features that customers love (and hate) and changes that need to be made for future releases. This focus group-like information is priceless for your research and development group. And what about competitive analysis? Customers can be prompted in the survey to compare your products with the competition. Results are quickly available for R&D group. Round three ends with the customer experience data from the contact enter landing a jab to the chin. Ding! The contact center wins another round.

Legal – We all hate to think this, but the contact center is the first to hear when something goes terribly wrong with a product and needs to be re-called. The contact center sees an influx of customer complaints and can alert the legal department before things get out of hand. If legal can head off a product disaster with a re-call or a public statement, then the contact center just saved the company a potential lawsuit. No sucker punch here, ding, round four ends in the contact center’s favor.

Finance – Contact centers are not cost centers but rather an investment by the company. The post-call IVR surveys focused on (1) the customer experience and (2) other research topics provide the necessary analysis to produce your Annual Report. Customer value protected, cost saved, research conducted for other departments, and sales completed demonstrate the positive return on the investment in the contact center. Ding, ding, dine, that is the KO – knock out.

Here is the commentator’s version of your match: The contact center is not a punching bag, but instead is a fighter that can go the distance. The post-call IVR surveys and the customer experience insights quantified and analyzed the business moving forward. So the next time you are in a bout with someone determined to beat up on the contact center, turn your defensive position into a winning offense that protects the customer relationships, keeps leads coming in, the lawsuits away, and the products and services ahead of the competition. Just remember, don’t think FIGHT, think customer experience data. It’s the spinach that gives Popeye his strength.

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.


  1. “Contact centers are not cost centers but rather an investment by the company.”

    Couldn’t agree more! Leveraged properly the call center can bring immense value to your enterprise. It can’t just be seen as another line item on the budget, but as a real source of information, insights and even income.

  2. Great points in the article. Call center managers face a lot of pressure from different departments every day, so it’s important to ensure that they are just as happy as their agents. Open communication is the key to improving processes and giving all employees a voice.


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