Tuesday, August 28, 2018

CSAT: A Data Weapon (No, it’s not)

“After this call you may receive an automated survey asking you to rate my performance…”
Customers who contact a call center might hear some variation of this during the agent’s closing script, yet an astounding number of customers don’t bother to answer the Customer Satisfaction survey, also known as a CSAT. This leaves many agents in a bizarre gray area on their scorecards. Occasionally you get the special type of customer who, like a scorned lover, decides to get revenge on the very company that has “offended” them and will trash the CSAT to “get back” at this faceless entity for some reason.

Here’s the thing folks- you’re not getting back at The Man here. There’s no justice to be had, you are not Batman; you just basically BS’d an agent’s performance over something that they, almost 95% of the time, had no control over in your situation. Personally, I feel this new trend in weaponizing CSAT’s comes from the “Yelp Generation” where you can basically take a decent café and tear it apart over what usually amounts to arbitrary nit picking. That’s why it is often common to see more negative reviews on Yelp than positive ones. Human beings retain negative experiences much more strongly than they do positive experiences. When I conduct hiring interviews one of my favorite questions to ask applicants is, “Tell me about the last really positive customer service experience you had. Where was it and why was it great?” You would think I asked them to calculate a math problem using the quadratic equation. The struggle to get an applicant to TRY and recall a positive experience is unreal.

Anyway, getting back to CSATs… Companies have been trying to combat this behavior in various ways. One company I know changed the scripting to advise the customer “The survey is asking you to rate your experience on the service I provided you today, not your overall experience with the company.” The CSAT also communicates a similar message and requires a customer to both confirm and further elaborate on why they have rated the agent with a paltry 1 out of 5 score. Some companies are reducing the weight of CSATs to be less critical on agent’s scorecards because of the shift in culture. Then there are the companies who have stopped bothering to send out surveys all together because they felt it was a waste of manpower and resources to get inaccurate or ignored responses. I think this is disappointing because CSAT’s are a great way of capturing the prized “Voice of the Customer” that so many companies covet.

At this point, if you’re what I will affectionately call a “CSAT Troll” you’re probably not convinced that what you are doing is wrong. You may feel your right to inflict your vengeance and rage matters more than the agent you probably got dragged into an unnecessary performance coaching meeting. Let me offer you some advice:

  • Most issues are resolved through self-help solutions. If possible, try to research those channels FIRST prior to calling in. I have found that often it saves me more time and it makes me feel better to have resolved an issue on my own.

  • If you have an ongoing issue always attempt to see if you can reach a supervisor. If the agent must arrange a supervisor call back, ask the agent what the estimated turnaround time is. If the supervisor fails to contact you within that timeframe, call back and request immediate escalation due to a broken promise of a call back.

  • If you feel that the issue has not been appropriately addressed or it’s of the severity to where a supervisor getting involved isn’t enough, there are other options such as filing a BBB complaint (this generally triggers involvement with corporate escalations teams). For cases where a company committed an unlawful violation (i.e. TCPA, FDCPA or Do Not Call Registry violations), you can report these online either through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or in the case of a FDCPA violation the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Please note that this is not an all-encompassing list of organizations. I’ve only included here the bigger players I have personally observed over the years. Obviously, you should always attempt to resolve an issue through the organization directly before moving to this step.

As a final point – CSATs are not a weapon. They do not communicate your displeasure with an organization when you tank an agent’s CSAT. You are hurting the agent or “the little guy” who would have loved to be the one to resolve your issue but was unable to. To the folks that don’t bother with CSATs, you can opt out of receiving them the next time you call in so that it’s not being sent to a dead space or even better yet- consider filling them out. It only takes 60 seconds of your time and the data you provide assures the agent receives proper coaching as well as ensuring they are getting recognition when they perform wonderfully.

Diana Aviles Operations Manager, Speech Analytics
With more than 5 years of Quality Assurance experience in a call center environment, Diana's objective is to simultaneously promote and educate the world of Speech Analytics with a human touch; one which further emphasizes the importance of First Call Resolution and overall customer.

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