• August 1, 2008
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

Ignorance Is the Remedy du Jour

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Too many contact center managers are measuring and addressing the wrong problems. It's the equivalent of a doctor prescribing statins to someone with high cholesterol -- a remedy that fails to address the plaque (or festering sores) that a heavily meat-based diet will deposit along artery walls. According to John McDougall, M.D., it was the eruption and subsequent clotting of one of these sores that killed Tim Russert, one of the most respected political journalists of our time, at the young age of 58. Unfortunately, he fell victim to a silent killer, one that has claimed the lives of millions of Americans.

Some commentators noted that Russert had had a negative stress test within two months of his death. Stress tests, according to McDougall, do not account for the collection of tiny sores in arteries. And yet Russert's untimely death -- and the deaths of countless others -- could have been prevented had he eaten a proper diet consisting of more fruits and vegetables. (For more on this, read McDougall's column, "A Posthumous Interview by Tim Russert, Former Host of Meet the Press," at www.drmcdougall.com.)

Naturally, my fellow journalists and I were shocked and saddened by the news of Russert's early passing. I admired his journalistic integrity, his tough-but-fair style of interviewing, and his penchant for finding the truth. Russert will likely be remembered by others as the longest-serving host of Meet the Press and as an NBC political correspondent who adeptly covered the most-contested presidential election in U.S. history. While Russert's coverage of pressing political issues has educated and informed the American public for years, I hope the truth about his death will be his biggest contribution to our nation, encouraging people to better measure and manage their health.

Perhaps companies, too, can learn from Russert. Largely due to similar reasons, many are extremely unhealthy. At many contact centers, it doesn't take much time to see that agents are leaving in droves. Clearly, something is wrong here. With all of the technology we have to measure and manage contact center and agent performance, too many companies are losing agents at an alarming rate, simply because -- like the medical industry -- they're often measuring, managing, and treating the wrong problems. "I don't think there are enough pizza parties in the world to keep somebody in a job they don't like," says one industry pundit in our cover story, "Calling It Quits," by Editorial Assistant Christopher Musico. Read this story to understand the real problems that contribute to agent attrition -- and to learn some helpful remedies.

The other option is for people to continue to serve themselves heaping plates of ignorance with a side order of I-don't-give-a-darn. I'm partial to the first option.

David Myron
Editorial Director

Every month, CRM magazine covers the customer relationship management industry. To subscribe, please visit http://www.destinationcrm.com/subscribe/.

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