To make good decisions is the goal. But sometimes our beliefs get in the way.

Make good decisions Photo by Jan Genge on Unsplash

To make good decisions is the goal.  But sometimes our beliefs get in the way.

Recently I read this post from a senior BPO executive –

“How many people out there agree that Quality Assurance people should be co-located in the Contact Center with the Agents they evaluate?”

But the goal of this question isn’t to learn from others.  By the way it’s phrased it’s already crystal clear what this executive believes.

He/she strongly believes that yes, Quality Assurance people should be co-located with the Agents they evaluate.

Is that a good decision?  A bad decision?  A decision that supports strategic objectives?

As we will see, when it comes to decision making, strength of belief isn’t necessarily correlated to the quality of a belief.

To make good decisions:  Strongly held belief or follow the process?

That BPO executive’s post got me to thinking about the different ways we make decisions.

Even at senior levels.

Levels where you’d expect decision making would be, by and large, done in a better way.  Where more good decisions get made.

Here are two different approaches to make ideally good decisions

The first approach I’ll call the “The I believe approach”.

We’ve seen this one already.

I believe that Quality Assurance people should be co-located with the people they evaluate.

The second approach I’ll call the “Let’s follow the process and find out together approach”.

Now let’s compare and contrast these two decision making approaches across  examples you’d find in the Customer domain.

Let’s start with Voice of Customer research

Many CX people refer to their Voice of Customer (VOC) research program as the fuel that powers their overall CX program.

The I believe approach to Voice of Customer sounds like this:

 I know what Customers want. After all I’m a Customer too.

 I don’t need to ask Customers what they want. I’ve been in this business a long time. 

The Let’s follow the process and find out together approach sounds like this:

Ok, let’s establish some Customer listening posts, let’s examine the findings for insights and let’s learn what Customers need and want to determine what actions to take.

Ok, let’s study the drivers of a great call or chat. And understand how that call or chat fits into the Customer’s job to be done.

In the VOC discipline, which approach is going to better achieve results?  I don’t think you need a CX certification to answer that one.


The challenge

With that said, the challenge lies in getting people, especially senior people, to put aside their often strongly held beliefs and consider following the process to see what ‘comes out’.

I’ve found what can help here is to run a simple research experiment.

For example, if the Contact Center Manager believes that “just answering the question” is the main driver of Customer Satisfaction, bring in a real group of Customers and talk to them to find out if that’s actually the case.

The kinds of things real Customers are going to tell you rarely fall into the neat little buckets of what we believed.

And even better, I think that getting exposed to these surprise or ‘a-ha’ moments about what Customers value can be remarkable and inspiring for everyone.

Even when it means that we have to let go of old beliefs and take on new ones.

Let’s take a look at decisions around Experience Design

Let’s say we going to solve a problem for a group of Customers.  A normal Customer experience activity.

The I believe approach sounds like this:

 We’re all here in this meeting room to brainstorm solutions to the problem and choose the one that we think will work best.

After all, we’re the senior leadership around here – we should know best.

The Let’s follow the process and find out together approach sounds like this:

Ok, let’s work through the time honored Experience Design process in partnership with our Stakeholders.

In this way we will learn together what the best and most effective solution might be.

One of my favorite business axioms is this one – “If you don’t have time to make a good decision you definitely don’t have time to make a bad one.”

And it really fits in with using the time-honored Experience Design process when it’s called for.


Let’s revisit the Quality Assurance example

I opened this post with a senior BPO executive quote on Quality Assurance.

The I believe approach sounded like this:

I think that Quality Assurance people need to be co-located in the Contact Center with the people they evaluate.

The Let’s follow the process and find out together approach sounds like this:

Let’s work through the Quality Assurance design process.

Based on what we identify at each step, let’s see what Quality Assurance model best supports our objectives.

Let’s not put the cart before the horse and start with a tactical decision first. 

So why isn’t following the process the norm in good decision making?

There are a lot of possible reasons why people skip or circumvent a time honored process –

  • Not knowing the process or that a process even exists.
  • Not taking the time go through the process.
  • Mixing up strategic and tactical decisions.

But another reason we don’t always see people step back and say, “Let’s work through a process and find out together” is that this approach requires humility.

Which is the willingness for people, especially Leaders, to say –

“Sure – I have an opinion.  But my opinion may not be the right or best way to achieve what we need to. So let’s work through the process together to find out. “

Photo by Sonder Quest on Unsplash

It also takes wisdom.

The wisdom to understand the process, know how to address common process barriers & challenges and how to use and implement what we learn from the process.

You require a lot of wisdom.

And as you’d imagine, when you involve the people around you in a time honored process you fuel their development too.

And help build organizational competency that remains in place even long after you may have moved on.


Thank you for reading!

Thank you for taking time today to read this post!

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Daniel Ord

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