Usability testing is a fantastic source of data on which to make design decisions. You get to see what is frustrating to users and why, first hand. Of course you know this.
There are other sources of data that you should be paying attention to, too. For example, observing training can be very revealing. One of the richest sources of data about frustration is the call center. That is a place that hears a lot of pain.
Capturing frustration in real time
Often, the calls that people make to the call center surface issues that you’ll never hear about in usability testing. The context is different. When someone is in your usability study, you’ve given them the task and there’s a scenario in which the participants are working. This gives you control of the situation, and helps you bound the possible issues you might see. But when someone calls the call center, it could be anything from on boarding to off boarding, with everything in between as fair game for encountering frustration. The call center captures frustration in real time.
We could talk a lot about what it means that organizations have call centers, but let’s focus on what you can learn from the call center and how to do it.