The power of live chat reporting is greatly diminished if it is not approached with the right mindset.

The power of live chat reporting is greatly diminished if it is not approached with the right mindset.

We’ve talked about reports on this blog before, but one thing we haven’t talked about is the human element of live chat reporting.

Live Chat Reporting is Nothing Without Willingness to Change

Last month, Christopher Bucholtz wrote a succinct article about the human element of performance management, called “Big Data Drives Change if You’re Ready to Be Driven.” In the article, he cites an example from his own professional life: telecom companies have had data that could support retention efforts for decades now, but have not had sufficient motivation to use that data to improve retention (the industry was myopically focused on acquisition, even at the multi-million dollar expense of poor retention).

Even if you’ve mastered data collection, there’s still the “actionable” component to it – the data needs to tell you what you need to know to make a decision sure, but you also need to be ready to make that decision.

Perverse Incentives in Live Chat Reporting – The Wrong Decision

Live chat reporting, like any reporting can start off as an attempt to capture something meaningful but end up being a self-defeating administrative burden. You may have had to deal with this yourself at some point in your professional career – reporting that must be done but which is built off of highly questionable data.

Perverse incentives are well-intentioned rules that actually encourage people to “game” the system, because things have been structured in a way to reward or punish those people based on the data. For instance, if you promote or fire customer service staff based on the volume of cases they work in a given day or week, you are going to have customers who do not get the full time and attention that perhaps they need. Your reporting has informed your staff that it is more important to their livelihood that they do the job quickly rather than that they do it well. Similarly, if you reward/punish staff based on customer satisfaction scores, you’re going to have customer service staff spending more time with each customer, giving more discounts, etc.

The Right Attitude is Everything in Live Chat Reporting

The intention with which you approach live chat reporting will to a lesser or greater extent determine the impact of your live chat reporting. If you aren’t actively looking to improve based on the data, evaluating and re-evaluating what you are doing vs. the impact you’re having and adjusting accordingly, the data isn’t going to leap off the page and into your office and do it for you. And even if you are looking to make a difference, actively, be aware of what structures you’re putting in place and how that might actually negatively impact performance.