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Almost every business attempts to track the reason for the enquiry or call or email or complaint. The most common way of tracking is through either a CRM (the customer management system in use) or through the phone system (often called wrap codes).

However, both approaches typically rely on the staff to determine what the reason was. And thus, human error is created.

There are some approaches starting to come onto the market where a machine makes the decision for us and since these are rules-based and not opinion-based, they are more repeatable, but the technology is not mature enough for it to be reliable (or affordable!).

There are new CRM’s that make the decision as to why the interaction occurred based on the screens that were accessed to handle the enquiry. Then there is Voice Analytics technology that will mine through all of your calls and identify trends, reasons etc. Both are pretty expensive and both technologies are still in their infancy.

So it’s back to getting our staff to track reasons, whilst they do they work. Every place where I’ve analyzed this data I’ve found it to be largely useless. Because it’s wrong. It’s wrong for so many reasons but here are a few classics:

  • We are tracking ‘what’ instead of ‘why’
  • There is no common understanding of what the codes mean and when to use them
  • We spend no time calibrating staff on what the codes mean and when to use them
  • There are too many of them to keep track of
  • No one really cares about getting it right

So what’s the solution?

The biggest issue is creating a common understanding and ensuring all people involved are trained to share that common understanding. It won’t happen naturally. The sheer logistics and effort required for getting entire departments calibrated is the reason it never happens.

So why not leave the job to a smaller group of people who are calibrated to see things the same way? Most organisations have a small group of people monitoring quality. Let your quality people track why customers contact you.

You won’t get data for every call (just a sample) but it will be far richer and accurate data than anything else you’ve probably got in your organisation.

There is also a world of difference between tracking ‘what’ and tracking ‘why’. ‘What’ might be a customer calling to change their address. ‘Why’ might be because we failed to update it last time they called.

‘What’ is next to useless. It might tell us that 2,157 customers called to change their address. Woot.

‘Why’ is much more useful. It might tell us that 1,577 customers called back to change their address because we updating it incorrectly.

‘Why’ is something actionable. We can do something about this.

Take a hard look at your call tracking approach. Is it accurate? Does it give you information that is useful and useable? Do you do anything with that information or does it just go in a report?

If tracking your calls is done well – it’s a powerful tool to understand your customer demand.

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