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Meet the Company That Records Your Calls for Quality Assurance

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posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 10:15 AM
Que the Twilight Zone music. We are aware that not only is Big Brother watching us right? Now there are mamy more not only watching us, but also "listening" to us. And yes, I am only half joking.

Movements on the internet are often tracked by advertizers, search engjnes keep logs of what folks are looking for. Folks are videod on every street corner, your smartphone pings off of everything in sight...

And now, quality assurance wants to "pinpoint" your personality type.

We've all made a phone call to a place of business only to hear "Your call is being recorded for Quality Assurance". But is that the real reason it is being recorded?

Welcome to ELoyalty

The company touts its NASA tech and endless possibilities for making customers happy — so much so that I had to try it out myself.

Trained to pick up on verbal clues that indicate different personality types, my service rep, Lila, catches that I’m not serene like a “Yoda” or emotionally focused like an “Oprah” — two of six basic profiles in eLoyalty’s arsenal. Rather, she figures out that I’m belief-focused, with a strong helping of matter-of-factness, and helps me through the rest of call with no nonsense and no profuse apologies.

Not bad.

You’ve probably never heard of eLoyalty, but they’ve almost certainly heard you — and quickly pegged your personality by analyzing nothing more than your voice over the phone, parsing your words, pauses and even inflections on the spot.

The company works with call centers that handle the nation’s biggest car-insurance firms, banks and health care organizations. They’re usually the ears listening in after the automated message promises you, “This call is being recorded for quality assurance.”

According to a few calls I have had with some customer service departments, I can almost bet they still can't get it right 100% of the time.
And I wonder if you are "accidentaly" disconnected after holding for an hour if they can accurately predict your level of pissed offedness when you have to start over?

While we all like to think we are complex beings who defy understanding by a mere algorithm, that’s not actually the case, according to eLoyalty’s Melissa Moore, the company’s vice president for behavioral analytics.

“When we go into distress, we revert to our core way and go into very familiar patterns,” Moore said.

The company also relies on data — lots of it.

Every single call to an eLoyalty client — exasperated to routine — gets recorded. Every few hours a batch of recorded audio is uploaded to eLoyalty’s data center in Minneapolis where algorithms parse the calls, looking for anomalies and customers “going red,” industry parlance for a customer getting irate.

It now claims a database of more than 500 million recorded phone calls and a team of 150 behavioral scientists, linguists and statisticians who test new correlations.

Going red! I bet they get that a lot. They certainly seem to be putting a lot of time and effort into this. Not to mention money.

“We can analyze 10,000 of a call center employee’s calls,” said eLoyalty vice president Jason Wesbecher. “We can say out of those 10,000, we identified distress on 600, and of those 400 were ‘emotions,’ so we need to work with how to train that person for working with emotions-based callers.”

ELoyalty exclusively licensed the NASA technology, which, in turn, is based on the personality typing theories of psychologist and author Taibi Kahler. (Some might remember Kahler as the personality guru used by Bill Clinton in his 1992 election campaign to connect better with voters.)

Kahler’s methodology divides people into six main personality types:

Spock: Thoughts-based person who approaches every issue rationally with a “just the facts, ma’am” mentality.

Princess Diana: Emotions-based person who wants warmth and congeniality.

Rush Limbaugh: Opinions-based person, a person for whom strongly held beliefs often trump facts.

Robin Williams: Reactions-based person who immediately likes or dislikes something and enjoys playing.

Donald Trump: Actions-based person, a person who prefers doing to talking.

Yoda: Reflections-based person, someone who likes to think matters through.

While each of us contains a bit of each, the company says, we all have dominant parts.

I suppose I would fit more into the Spock category sprinkled with some Donald Trump. I am not so sure that I like being "pegged" before I even start talking. It may be a good day or a day where I have been trying to put together a 100 piece jungle gym with 99 pieces and chinese instructions.
Naturally sometimes the personality is different depending on the situation.

For example, eLoyalty’s algorithm might notice a call that is abnormally long and filled with heated language. The company’s software would flag the call, so that a supervisor can review it and develop a plan for contacting the customer. That’s key, eLoyalty says, for companies to make sure to deal with calls where a customer is threatening to sue or to call a congressman.

Yes. I can see where this might be used to help the csr deal with complaints.
A beneficial CYA method for sure.

Training CSR’s is just the beginning of what personality typing can do, according to eLoyalty’s Wesbecher.

“We can feed the profile in the customer’s data warehouse, so they can tailor the website and outbound marketing communication to that person’s style,” Wesbecher said. “So when a thoughts-based person logs onto Bank of America, we know he prefers a highly organized, very clean site like Google.”

“Whereas” he continues, “when an emotions-based person logs in, she loves it if the first thing she sees is a picture of a family on a patio with a dog."

I am wondering how long it will take for this information to start being sold to other companies, just like our addresses and phone numbers? I wonder also that if a customer is irate more than once or twice will he be blacklisted? No more customer asistance for you!

I thought the article was interesting. You can read more here...
edit on 2/14/2011 by Kangaruex4Ewe because: (no reason given)

edit on 2/14/2011 by Kangaruex4Ewe because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 10:23 AM
reply to post by Kangaruex4Ewe

If companies REALLY wanted to have decent customer service they would have trained reps who spoke ENGLISH and NOT some hard to understand gibberish. They would also have short waiting times instead of putting you on hold for an hour or more.

This has nothing to do with "quality" and everything to do with trying to figure out how to sell you more JUNK!

I use to answer customer service complaints. We figured for every complaint there were 100 silent people who voted with their feet.

posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 10:24 AM
reply to post by Kangaruex4Ewe

Quality Assurance? I'm sure they got a good mouth full of my aggravation and bad language when their recordings put me on hold for a good 10 minutes. I think they just use that word "Quality Assurance" so they can sit back and play back the recordings at their office parties and have a good laugh on our behalf.

posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 10:31 AM
good. let them hear the anger and frustration in my calls. too bad they'll also get the displaced racism, but I can admit that

posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 10:34 AM
This is great information. The next time I have one of those recorded calls about half way through I am going to recite "Mary had a little lamb" Just wonder what their data compilation machine would do about that?

posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 10:35 AM
reply to post by crimvelvet

I wish I could give you more than one star.
English is one of the main reasons I keep my cell phone company. After 4 years I have never had an issue with someone I couldn't understand. I could go with another company with better coverage, but CS goes a long way IMO.

I also think like you. I believe it is just another way to get more personal info for marketing. Maybe more in the future.

posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 10:39 AM
reply to post by daddyroo45

Danger, Will Robinson!

It would probably melt down.They would blacklist you simply because they couldn't peg you!

posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 10:55 AM
Next eLoyalty venture....

They will be scanning the boards here reading each and every one of our posts to determine which personality type we post with. I can only imagine what types of labels they would come up with then....

so the next time you get an annoying ad telling you that 'You have won" or scary anime music, you know that it is directly aimed at you!

posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 11:06 AM
I have worked in call centers for about a decade and they have always recorded calls. It is done for quality assurance and to make sure you arent being fed a line of crap by the sales rep.

I use to work in verification where I had to go through the sales and make sure the sales associtate was following the rules. If they paused the call, the sale was cancelled and the person was called back so we could redo the sale with them. I had MANY people tell customers they were getting things that were never coming. They would tell them they would get gift cards, gas cards, cash and other prizes like phones and heck some people even told them they won a car..Yes someone told a person who was getting a credit card that they won a damn car as well...They would lie to get the sale and in turn their commission but it didn't get by me! I was threatened many times for taking sales away.

Other places I worked the calls were recorded to make sure the agent was following the clients rules IE Sprint would record and monitor calls at a center I worked for as an international operator.

Also when you record a call you have to get permission for it to be recorded. If it is not recorded the sales agent or representative makes note of this and the call is not recorded. I have never had a problem with people who refused to have their calls recorded. I just abided by their wishes and proceeded. I know when I make phone calls and they ask for it to be recorded I will say yes depending on the nature of my call.

edit on 2/14/2011 by mblahnikluver because: spelling

posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 11:27 AM
I'm way behind the times with this technology. Back in the early 90's I downloaded the "what do they do with the session key" version of Phil Zimmermans PGP. The instructions said to read the source code which turned out to contain some tips about how the Echelon system worked. Your customer service representative probably couldn't glean much information from the typical flow of porn that was carried on most networks. Your "special" messages wrapped in armored text and labled with an appropriate encryption header would have looked as tasty as a fly wrapped in silk. Those presumably would carry your deepest thoughts, currency purchased transactions etc. That use of of technology is ancient, the British were using it with Rommel back in the 1940's.

Since it is the British that sponsored the RIP bill requiring the disclosure of cryptographic keys, isn't that a smoking gun as to the location of these more modern call centers?

posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 11:33 AM
I wonder if they start recording the call when you actually get to speak to a human, because I am spitting curse words out left, right, loud and clear when I have to keep repeating myself to an automated voice. I *hate* calling anywhere these days because I can never speak to a human. Yeah, I've tried, "Representative" or dialing 0, but then I still get, " Ok, I'll connect you with a representative but I need to know which Rep to connect you to, Please say yes to............bla, bla, bla,bla............. And then when I do get a human, it's someone who's accent is so thick I can't understand a word, or the connection is SO full of static, it just infuriates me. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr..............

posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 11:41 AM
Another slightly more worrying aspect of the call monitoring is that a lot of English businesses including local councils and insurance companies now use phone voice stress analysis to try and tell if you are lying or not.

One borough of London recently released data on the first 1,000 disability claimants on which the technology was tested. Of the 1,000 subjects, 43 — or 4.3 percent — were flagged by the system and all of these were found to have filed false claims or displayed a high potential for committing fraud.


Trouble is there is no evidence outside of the anecdotal like the quote above that suggests that voice stress analysis works reliably at all. It has put me off phoning insurance companies at all as I hate using the phone and am usually pretty stressed when phoning an insurance company for any reason anyway

As for the company in the OP, I don;t believe they are doing anything accept selling snake oil and making a fortune from it. They might as well be selling phrenology or casting runes to find out people personality types.

posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 12:38 PM
I have heard of personality profiling through hand writing analysis and now through voice analysis, very interesting indeed. Thanks for the thread

posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 02:26 PM
reply to post by virraszto

I hear your pain brother! What ever happened to good ole customer service? They have to waste our time giving us recordings after recordings. Then you think you're going to get connected to a live, breathing, person and it's another $%66%$ recording!!!

It's even worse when these companies have their customer service representatives answering phones in India. All they do is read a script and when you ask them questions all they can do is re-read the script!!! You might as well use a recording.
Half the time you can't understand a word they're saying because their English is so terrible. It just goes to show you how important quality and customer service is to American businesses. They would rather save a buck than to make sure their customers are happy and taken care of.

posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 02:32 PM
reply to post by davespanners

Interesting link. Thanks.

I am not sure if it is effective or not. If not that makes it even worse IMO. Then folks are geting labeled by "guessing".

It seems to me that some of these companies lack common sense. Instead of just accepting the fact that some customers will be irate while others will not, and approaching the situation in a HUMAN waythey over analyze. Paying big bucks to figure out if they can mentally manipulate the customer instead of actually working to solve the issue says a lot about a company.

posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 02:40 PM
reply to post by WeRpeons

That reminds me of those credit card commercials...

Hello, My name is Peggy (it's a man), what is problem please?

posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 05:27 PM
reply to post by virraszto

I know what you mean.

I am beginning to think that their job is pretty simple. Seeing the posts here and knowing how I feel, they can probably default most callers as a "red flag".

posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 06:08 PM
American Express used to have a system called NICE that would record every single conversation that any company representative had, mostly for legal purposes, and this was over a decade ago. I can only imagine that today, almost all companies are doing the same and that makes for some scary "minority report" type of analysis that can be done by these places to purposely manipulate you based on past recorded behavior.

As a rule, you can always ask that you are not recorded, and I make it a point to do so every single time. If you want to train your employees or make better business decisions, do it the old-fashioned way by having a solid business and not one that depends on being able to read and predict human behavior, which is in actuality, completely unpredictable. Not to mention, they are basing their decisions most of the time on analyzing data from pissed off consumers who call to complain to these companies, which gives them a very one-sided view of what constitutes "quality" to the consumer. Most happy consumers will never call to voice their happiness, so how does recording these calls lead to a better business? It doesn't... it only shows them how to avoid pissed off customers.

edit on 14-2-2011 by SonOfTheLawOfOne because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 07:29 PM
you forgot cars with gps devices installed for your travelling convenience and safetly.

now big brother can hack into your ultra secure state of the art encrypted gps and know your every movements.

posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 09:20 PM

Originally posted by daddyroo45
This is great information. The next time I have one of those recorded calls about half way through I am going to recite "Mary had a little lamb" Just wonder what their data compilation machine would do about that?

i have worked in a call center before. and people would do some messed up stuff lol... ive heard people yodel'ing haha, all kinds of other crazy stuff

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