by Mike Masnick

This Call Actually Is Being Monitored For Quality Assurance

from the but-who's-listening? dept

We all know the phrase: "This call may be monitored for quality assurance purposes." However, most people forget it as soon as they hear it. Of course, many calls actually are monitored, and it appears that it's a growing business to monitor those calls. People sit around all day listening to other calls, and note down mistakes or problems in tone. A few interesting tidbits come out of this article. First, often, calls are recorded even if the person is on hold. This means, that someone may listen to what you tell someone else in the room while you're on hold assuming no one is listening. Hopefully, it also means they hear what I say when I mutter about how I don't care how much they appreciate my business while I'm hold, they need to get someone to actually answer the damn phone. More interesting, however, is the fact that this growth in the call center monitoring business actually shows that at least some call centers are realizing there's more to customer support than getting a caller off the phone as quickly as possible. Many of these monitors are charged with grading call center staff on how well they perform in a number of areas, including calming down the angry customer and providing accurate information. In other words, as hard as it may be to believe, some call centers are actually looking at quality, rather than quantity. Still, there are some privacy implications to all of this. How many people, for example, think about the fact that their credit card or other personal identifying information may be listened to by a third party monitoring firm? If an AOL customer service representative can misuse the personal info she found, just imagine how much harder it will be to track down a third party monitor who gets to hear the same info -- but never actually speaks to the person in question.

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  • identicon
    crunch, 11 Jan 2005 @ 8:58am

    call centers being monitored

    Don't kid yourself or the reader. The monitors are looking for ways to help the call centers learn how to move the calls faster. As a former call center worker for a computer manufacturer account, technical help or pleasantness was never an issue. Never!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Jared, 11 Jan 2005 @ 9:17am

      Re: call centers being monitored

      Some companies actually do care about customer service. Most don't, but some do. Companies have to research what their customers find the most frustrating (which is actually almost universally known - waiting) and tailor to that. Customer service is going out of your way to do things for the customer with a positive attitude. Keep the customer happy, and they will stick with you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    mike, 11 Jan 2005 @ 9:05am


    I work for Qwest, and for a while we were actually compensated for high CTS (customer transaction survey) scores. It was part of our commission structure.

    One thing I think people forget when they get a CS rep on the phone...that person is at the bottom of the ladder, making not too much money, and, unfortunately, will only do the minimum for people they deem 'abusive'. They'll do enough that if they're monitored, they won't get fired. On the other hand, I've seen reps (even the not so good ones) really try to help someone who was pleasant in the face of a really bad company screw-up.

    I used to tell my customers who were angry that they'd get a lot farther with these reps by playing the sad puppy dog rather than the angry, demanding customer. Once that entry level rep's very existence is questioned, they just shut down and the poor customer whose been crapped on by the 'machine' gets nothing from that $10/hour guy on the phone. I could almost see the customer's epiphany through the phone line. "That's right, your a nobody!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Steve Portigal, 11 Jan 2005 @ 9:56am

    Monitoring lines

    I found that story rather disingenuous about the motivation for these monitoring services...the claim that organizations are now looking to customer service as a differentiator because of increasing competition, etc.

    That seemed to be an assertion without support, simply because it fit the story. As many of us continue to blog, telephone interactions are often pretty bad and sometimes really bad. That alone doesn't imply that companies are therefore trying to fix things. It seemed more wishful thinking on the parts of the monitoring movement to justify their value.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    candace, 17 Oct 2009 @ 9:14am

    monitored calls

    I just tell them that I am monitoring it also. Some companies will not authorize me to monitor it and our conversations were done. If they can do it so can I.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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