27 Years of Call Center QA

It’s hard to believe that CSR has been in business for 27 years this August. Wow. Happy birthday to CSR Inc.!

A Trip Down #CCTR Memory Lane
In typical ‘good old days’ fashion, let me just start by saying that when CSR launched in 1990, the phrase ‘#cctr’ didn’t exist…or if it did, it was most certainly a typo. I had just gotten married, and cell phones were just starting to make inroads. So there were a number of things we take for granted today (including hashtags!) that didn’t even exist.

One thing we did have was Telecom companieslots of them. The 1990s will probably be remembered as the halcyon days of telecom, when the industry reached peak employment and the Baby Bells gave birth to a host of grandbaby Bells, which then spun off nieces and nephews and other extended family members.

Just over two-and-a-half decades later, massive consolidation has led to a significantly smaller telecommunications industry index, and technology advances continue to displace workers.

Change in the Call Center QA Industry
The call center quality assurance industry has changed tremendously as well in that time. I remember using cassette tapes to record calls. And was that painful! CSR hired a dedicated staff to just edit tapes for customers and ensure all client calls were on a master tape. And then we mailed them to the client…yes, with postage, in an envelope.

And this was just 20-odd years ago, folks!  Technology has completely changed how we deliver quality assurance for the better in many ways.

CSR’s Visionary Virtual Agents – Before They Were Cool
Long before it became a normal way of doing business, CSR’s staff was virtual, working at home. As cool as it was to be ahead of the curve, however, the callers and evaluators still had to get in their cars and come into the office to drop off the work.

Among key performance metrics at the time, we typically measured what the agent said (a check list) versus how they performed, and evaluated the customer’s reaction.

Things, of course, are much different today. We operate at near-real-time, and evaluations & reports are actionable and posted in near time. Performance standards now better mirror the training programs. And more focused accountability is being placed on QA to deliver results.

What’s the takeaway?
It can be fun to look back and marvel at how far we’ve come. I want to thank all of our customers – I’m grateful to you for making CSR a success and I’m delighted to work with you all!

The other takeaway? Wow, our industry has changed!

The sophistication of our technology and techniques is light years beyond where we were just two decades ago. And while both of those things have increased exponentially the complexity of our tasks, they have also opened up possibilities for the quality assurance & customer service industries that were completely unimaginable 25 or 30 years ago.

In the call center industry, we often speak of early adopters and slow-adopters. With a quarter century of hindsight, it is clear that everyone becomes an adopter, at some point. (Still using cassette tapes and snail mail for call center QA? Give CSR a call  – we need to talk.)


How Important is Training for Call Center Supervisors & Managers?

Customer Service Starts With Coaching the Coaches Many times when we think about Call Center Quality Assurance, we focus our attention on the front line agents. We also tend to focus most of the training & coaching in a customer service organization on customer service reps (CSRs). Front line agents can only perform to the…

Customer Retention or Customer Acquisition? It’s Not Even Close.

Landing a customer is one thing, but retaining them is a whole different game. It’s a well-known fact that acquiring a customer is more expensive – and more difficult – than keeping one. Let’s face it – a customer knows your brand and is already familiar with your products and services, so – while not…

Authentic Chat: Transform Text-Based Customer Service Delivery

While voice customer service still reigns supreme, over the last decade chat customer service platforms have grown in popularity – surpassing email support. From a Dec. 2016 blogpost at Playvox: Microsoft’s 2016 State of Multichannel Customer Service Report found that 64% of people polled use live chat for customer support on a regular basis. An emarketer.com survey found that…

The Challenges with Call Center QA Analytics

Surrounded by ever more powerful technologies, we are clearly living in the era of big data collection and analysis. Defining Call Center Analytics What, exactly, are call center analytics, and how do they impact call center QA? Analytics are the information that results from analysis of data or statistics. From SalesForce.com: ‘Call center analytics allows…

Mystery Call Coaching: Leveraging Measurement to Achieve Improvement

QA: Measure All You Want, but Measuring Alone Won’t Change Anything Getting in shape and losing weight is a great analogy for call center quality assurance (unless you’ve decided your New Year’s fitness resolution was just so last year!). In a fitness program, we measure (or weigh) ourselves often – perhaps even daily. In quality…

Achieving FCR: Are Your Customers Satisfied?

Measuring customer satisfaction in the call center is part-art, part-science. But call center QA firms uniformly consider First Call Resolution (FCR) one of the key measures for achieving customer satisfaction in the call center. But FCR – as a measurement tool – is challenged by customers with increasingly complex inquiries for which an immediate answer…

2017 Call Center Trends

2017…yes, we made it! First some good news: call centers aren’t going away this year (well, not exactly – but more on that later). And while call centers are expected to see an uptick in staffing in 2017 (did you know that 4% of working Americans – about 5 million – already work in a…

Proven Strategies Cable Companies Can Use to Retain Customers

In cable television, customer retention is a growing problem – and many of our clients turn to us specifically for retention call center services. Many factors contribute to difficulties with retention, including increased competition. Frequently, customers have issues with: Price Programming or service offerings Service or billing Time constraints Technology Now more than ever, your…

5 Must-Haves for a Successful Call Center Quality Program

An effective call center quality program is vital to keeping your call center running at peak efficiency. But making sure the program itself is also high quality is just as critical. At best, a poorly-designed or badly-executed program will give you an inaccurate picture of what’s working and what’s not. At worst, it can do…