Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Why Call Centers Record Your Phone Calls

Calling a business for customer service often finds you listening to that annoying little recording that states, "your call may be recorded for quality purposes." The wording may vary, but it is just a warning to you that your conversation is being recorded. I always wondered if that really served a "purpose", but then my friend's daughter started working for a large well known HMO. My friend told me her daughter would receive bonuses for her outstanding customer service, that was monitored by these taped phone calls. I thought that was the extent of it. Nope, it's not.

Personal finance bloggers always encourage their readers to call companies for poor customer service. We even advise readers to threaten to terminate services to get a better deal or even just haggle nicely for a better price while holding your possible exit over their head. This act of a customer terminating a company's business is called "churn". What I found out is that these phone calls are collected by companies to be analyzed. What do they do with the information? They process it and help companies identify training call agents may need for the business' efficiency. They provide important data regarding upsells, cross sell opportunities and identify reponses to promotions.

There is another aspect that I find intriguing. There is a company by the name of CallMiner that has taken it a step further. They are to "call center analytics" what Google is to "search engines". They have found a way to analyze language and help companies sort out the exact content they need instead of using time consuming traditional means. I don't know about you, but I find that kind of scary. You know, like Big Brother's watching. I kind of feel like many feel about all the information Google has about all of us. What if the government got control of all that information? Perhaps, I watch too many movies. The Terminator and The Matrix and it's evolution of computer technology is still fictional, but we've been able to use computers to even detect the intonations of human speech in many different languages with the analytics CallMiner uses.

If you think I'm just making this up, check it out for yourself. CallMiner's purpose is to help companies identify customers that are likely to Churn and help them retain their business. I'm sure that if I was a huge buiness owner, I would find use for a service like this. Since I'm on the other side of the phone call, I find it a little creepy...

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