I recently had to call a large hotel chain (the Delaware North Group) to make a reservation. Before getting through to the agent I heard a recorded message telling me that if I would like to give my feedback about the call I should stay on the line after the call ended. Of course, being in the customer experience monitoring business, I am always interested to see how different companies handle agent quality monitoring and what kind of information is being collected.
So after a relatively mediocre interaction with the agent, during which she was not able to address my issue (she didn't seem like she cared either), I waited to go through to the feedback system. As I waited for the system to kick in, I thought about how poor the technology integration must be for the transfer to take so long. After about 20 seconds I realized that I was not dealing with a system problem - the agent was, in fact, still on the line!
At this point the silence became more and more uncomfortable, as I sat in this virtual game of telephone chicken. “It’s my time versus her average handling time,” I thought. After about a minute of this, I gave up, as much out of embarrassment as frustration. She won!
This story demonstrates the problem when companies with call centers jump onto the customer feedback bandwagon, but don't think through the processes, and how these processes can be compromised by their own staff. If the cost of a truly automated call transfer system is too expensive (as they are for some companies) ensure your manual system has the smarts to quickly identify agents that play the system.
At ResponseTek, we recommend our clients monitor results and completion rates for each agent against a benchmark group to deter this kind of behavior. Alerts are triggered when agent sampling, average score, or handling times move outside expected ranges, which prompt supervisors to take a closer look at the agents call records.
You can never stop agents from playing your systems, but you can make it hard for them to win by building some intelligence into your business rules and monitoring. My experience is just one of many where companies think they have enabled the "Voice of the Customer" according to industry best practices but fail to pay attention to the technology and behaviors they need for the system to work. In the case of Delaware North their agents have definitely figured a way around their well intended customer feedback system. Is the same thing happening in your call centers? I recommend you find out.