With the right information in hand, excellent things can happen in your call center(s). Things like better decision-making, improved efficiency, new marketing opportunities, and ultimately, higher revenue. But what happens when data goes bad? – Frightening Quality Assurance Nightmares, that’s what.
According to research firm SiriusDecisions, the average company is hopelessly holding on to 25% of bad data in most of their systems. What’s more, data goes bad fast; so fast it decays at an average rate of 2% every month. Under normal circumstances, you can expect 25-30% of your data to decay within a year.
More than that, without the right data at the right time, disastrous consequences are sure to follow.
The following data-related QA horror stories are here just in time for Halloween, but more importantly, these hard QA lessons are yours to digest and consider so you don’t have to follow in their footsteps!
After a certain prototype had been completed in just 2 weeks, the project team asked for six more months to move into production. Six months!? What was the problem?
Apparently, the development staff felt the design was incorrectly applied even though the user was ecstatic with the solution. So they changed much of the underlying technology to meet their IT standards and literally broke away from what the client had agreed to, setting off a series of emergency rework sessions. Needless to say, the lack of business collaboration and understanding of the client’s needs was by far the biggest nightmare for all involved.
This horror could have easily been avoided if the technical team had included the business semantics in their plan from the beginning. This way, as they recreated the requirements to match the clients’ needs, the desired functionality would have matched the outlined criteria throughout the various phases of development, giving the user exactly what they were looking for.
Then there’s the story of the incorrectly entered medical codes at British hospitals. Perhaps more frightening than the previous horror story, this one is about thousands of men who went to the hospital to check their health only to end up scheduled for prenatal and obstetric exams.
A few misplaced keystrokes here and there led to disastrous billing, claims, and regulatory compliance. However, if the hospitals had a quality assurance team to check on their performance and highlight the weakest links in their data systems, the whole problem could have easily been avoided.
Then there’s the company that invested 18 full months and a few million dollars in designing, developing, and launching a huge new data warehouse to discover that it didn’t have any of the data that the users need. What’s even scarier is the fact that most of the data required by the user were for compliance with critical financial and industry regulations- yikes!
Integrating data can be a horrific experience, especially when there are no clear data definitions. However, if the company had a data integration plan, it would have been easier to manage the complexities involved, streamline the connections and make it easy to deliver data to any system.
When customer service agents at a large financial institution dealt with angry customers, they started entering phrases into the salutation field such as, “what an idiot this customer is.” So when the marketing department decided to release a marketing campaign using the customer database, emails went out as, “Dear Idiot Customer John Doe.”
You can clearly imagine the damage inflicted on both its reputation and its future relationships with customers. If the customer service center had human analysts checking out all the customer interaction points, this catastrophe could have easily been caught and avoided.
To sum up these terrifying tales of “invisible” quality assurance programs, it’s important to understand data use in driving decisions and measuring performance in the call center. With that being said, relatively few companies have a clear and concise understanding of it being an integral piece of every successful business.
Most companies are now moving away from policy-centric views and are now thinking in terms of their customers. Just imagine what type of chaos might follow if there wasn’t any clearly defined data to cater to your customers?
These nightmares are examples of the most common killers of quality assurance project success. And while these cases may sound extreme, the lessons are clear; what appear like simple errors can quickly get out of hand, harming your brand’s reputation and ruining customer relationships.
So while you’re munching on your kids Halloween candy this year or scaring away the trick or treater’s, remember that without a viable QA program that utilizes smart data and a customer-centered approach, you could be on next year’s list of frightening QA horror stories!