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2423560905_ccd1b5b8a3_o.jpgI like to play golf, badly on most occasions, but it’s a hobby of mine and I enjoy it.

Tiger Woods also plays golf and he recently returned in the Hero Challenge after a long time out of the game with injury. From being former World number one his ranking was in the mid 800’s.

Most people would agree that Tiger has been the outstanding golfer of his generation. He wants to equal or better Jack Nicklaus record of Major Championships which stands at 18 wins but will Tiger ever win another Major?

What’s any of this got to do with Quality Management?  Well the game of golf, the Quest for Majors and Quality Management are all linked. I will explain.

Suppose you play golf, on the first hole you get a par, do you stop playing then and record a par round and retire to the clubhouse to reflect on how well you played? If you have a bad start do you accept the round is going to be bad and walk off? No. Of course you do not. So why do organisations only monitor a small percentage of their customer interactions in Quality Management, for compliance, training or other insight and accept that the results they see are the completed picture?

The information you get back through QM manual random sampling is accurate and useful, I would not dispute that, but when you are only applying it to a small percent of interactions, it can only ever be considered anecdotal.

With Contact Analytics you can automate the scoring process, you can gain real insight into the interactions, the factors driving them, the agent performance and the trends in your contact centre and business which you will not get with manual sampling. You can move from subjective to objective feedback to the agents, making them more motivated and more productive. You can improve the service you provide your customers and the experience they have in dealing with your organisation.

Easy? Not really or everybody would be doing it. Contact Analytics requires work in the planning, design, implementation and in service phases. You have to be committed to wanting to change and prepared to put the time in to make that change effective.

I would offer the following suggestions to anybody looking for improving their QM processes to Major winning standards with Analytics

  1. Plan the rollout Understand what you want to measure, where the priorities are the sequence of events – do not try and boil the ocean on day one, it could overwhelm you
  2. Do not try and automate bad processes. Change your goals and processes to take advantage of what contact analytics can do instead of trying to force the technology into your existing processes.
  3. Invest Time in the design phase. Understand what your scorecard should be reporting and what information and behaviours you would like to change and impact. Involve the agents in the planning and deployment
  4. Create a review and improvement process. Evolve and continually improve the scorecards, think about how they should be used to coach and improve agents and be prepared to listen to agent feedback to make the scorecards work for and be relevant for everybody

The destination is worth the effort. Tiger will not win another Major unless he understands where his game is at today, the areas he needs to improve and he puts the investment of time and energy into making those improvements. Your QM Major dream will not be achieved by investing in technology alone, but analytics technology combined with organisational commitment and focus will get you there. No longer will you be marking that scorecard after the 1st Hole, you will play the full round, you will understand what went wrong, where and why? You will see the great things that happened on your round and you will be a happier and better golfer for the experience.

bigstockphoto_Beautiful_Hotline_Operator_2440618.jpgI see a lot of chatter on my various social feeds around Average Handle Time. The major thrust of the communications is that AHT is now useless as a metric for anybody other than planners and to understand how effective you are at transacting with customers it’s all about measuring Customer Experience (CX), having effective customer journey maps and measuring NPS or some other Voice of the Customer Metric.

I am not usually one for blogging, however, whilst I don’t disagree with the importance of CX and having effective customer journeys, I do not believe that AHT is a resource planning metric only and offer my view that organisations should really be tracking AHT as a measure of CX. Let me explain.

In any contact centre the ability to handle calls efficiently and effectively impacts both operating costs (and bottom line) and the CX. Within our space at CallMiner, Interaction Analytics, I am constantly amazed as the opportunities that are presented to organisations to gain real insight into what is actually happening when consumers/customers are talking to the organisations who provide products and services to them. In almost all cases there are great opportunities to understand the AHT and so improve the CX. It’s not always the case that analytics points to opportunities to reduce AHT either, sometimes the opposite is true.

Some examples

1.      Why are customers calling you in the first place? Analytics will help to identify call reasons and can point to problems or issues on the customer journey downstream, which if addressed meant the call did not need to happen in the first place.

2.      A customer shared with us recently they did a pilot for a new project, product and process and were surprised when their assumption that lower AHT would result in optimal outcomes, was proven wrong. In fact, their analytics revealed that their best customer contact outcomes were almost two minutes longer than calls with less ideal outcomes! They discovered the agents who took more time explaining the virtues of the product or service, setting the right expectation for the process and closing the calls properly had higher close rates, lower cancelation and less compliance risk as well.

3.      We see examples of clumsy call flow, unnecessary transfers from one agent to another, the agents lacking the training to be able to handle objections quickly and effectively, hold or silent time whilst the agent does a look up of data that should be readily available, confusing verbiage on the agent script that requires repeating and confirming, poor audio quality, agents speaking too quickly and needing to repeat themselves regularly. These unnecessarily drive up AHT.

4.      Absence of objective training and development. Traditional QM sampling might only uncover a very small element of what is really happening on the calls. Unless you can analyse 100% of the audio and provide objective feedback to each agent based on consistent trends, you will never really be able to improve the agent interactions and the overall contact centre performance.


Organisations who address these insights get optimum AHT, frictionless CX and operational savings.


So in summary, AHT does matter. Great CX depends on reducing customer effort and one element of this is the time it takes them (and you) to get what they need done. There are opportunities to optimise AHT but these opportunities might not be visible without effective analytics. Only by understanding what is happening on your customer interactions will you really be able to positively impact both CX and AHT. I would suggest that having effective interaction analytics is the key to bridging the AHT and CX conundrum. Without analytics maybe AHT remains a domain of the resource planners only, with analytics it takes on a whole different perspective