How we made call-centers’ life happier with heavy user research

You often hear "this call is recorded for quality assurance". And they really do quality assurance. A person at the call-center goes through all the calls, replays them and checks if the operator was polite enough, informed the customer well about their options, etc.

Player in a typical call-center software

Put yourself in the place of this person for a minute: let’s say you have to evaluate 100 calls that are 3 minute long on average. 100 calls is not much in a call-center where they make thousands of calls daily. But to listen to all those 100 calls takes you 100 x 3 minutes, that is 5 hours! 5 hours if you listen to them immediately one after the other, with no lunch break, no coffee break. That is a straining work to do all day.

We worked with Calgo Call Center, one of the market leader call-center software. We visited many call centers, and watched how people work there. Our user interviews found that quality assurance specialists do not always listen to the complete call. They try to search for the critical points of calls: Did the operator inform the client about conditions properly? Did the client reply “yes” unambiguously?

Did the operator note the arranged appointment accurately? Experienced QA specialists know when to expect these critical points in a call – eg. clients usually say “yes” 45 seconds before the end of the call. So a QA specialist would subtract from the length of the call, click there on the progress bar, and if it’s not what they are looking for they make another guess and click again.

Based on these findings we agreed with the Calgo team on two new features.

1) Visualize the sound of the operator and the client. This way the QA specialist can see instantly when the operator was reciting a long “condition list”, or when the client did reply. So QA specialists can go straight to the critical points.

2) Option to change the playback speed (without affecting the pitch of the voice). As it turns out calls are still understandable at 1.25x speed and experienced QA specialists can even go up to 1.75x and still follow the call.

All in all these two features halved the time necessary to do the QA work. Call-centers are happy because QA is now way more efficient. QA specialists are happy because they don’t have to do arithmetic and guesswork when listening to a call.

Quote from a QA guy:

“The new player is f**n great! Awesome! I am in love with it. It saves me hours. Every day.”

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