Being available for customers

One of the biggest challenges in many organizations is that the work arrives randomly from moment to moment. That’s true in a restaurant, a retail store, a contact center, a hospital’s emergency department, and many other environments. Those delivering services don’t control customer arrival rate, or the issues they need help with. I once worked with a healthcare system that …

Continue Reading >

Ensuring service metrics are SMART

Have you ever had a metric that drives the wrong behavior? A bus company in a city with a well established international and cosmopolitan flair, had a reputation for too often running late. Leaders decided to give drivers incentives for ending their routes on time. Several months later, passenger satisfaction scores were even worse, and they quickly learned why. When …

Continue Reading >

The Pros and Cons of Virtual Queues

Many contact centers are grappling with labor shortages, surging workloads, or a brutal combination of both. The resource mismatches have resulted in long wait times and frustration for customers, and high occupancy and burnout for agents. More serious implications can include employee turnover, lost customers, and a hit to your organization’s reputation and results. We’ve been getting lots and lots …

Continue Reading >

Root Cause Analysis in Customer Service

When you encounter a problematic aspect of service or customer experience, the first step is to identify root causes. Typically, several possibilities surface and they all seem plausible. How can you determine which root cause deserves your attention? In this video, I summarize three tools that we often recommend for their usefulness in customer service settings. This video is from …

Continue Reading >

Empower Your Workforce to Fix Things for Customers

Real-time management is often viewed as a matter of responding to workload quantities. What’s often missed in these discussions is how to respond to the nature of the workload. If it’s heavy, there usually are underlying issues driving it. You can throw all the resources at it that you want, but if your organization isn’t prepared to handle the content …

Continue Reading >

In Customer Service Timing Is Critical

The right place at the right time. It’s a common phrase, but in customer service, it matters more than ever. Timing is critical. In customer service, we’re like pilots or stage hands. Like them, we also work in a time-driven environment. It’s not just what we do, it’s when we do it that counts so much. Learn more about how …

Continue Reading >

Does Your Executive Team Understand Staffing Tradeoffs?

Are you working through difficult discussions related to resources and budget? Just remember, contact centers must handle most customer-related work as it happens, so resource mismatches quickly result in big problems. It’s essential that those making decisions have a basic understanding of staff tradeoffs in a contact center (read: real time) environment. The following table is an example of how …

Continue Reading >

How Long Are Customers Willing to Wait?

With much of the world on lockdown due to the current COVID-19 crisis, contact centers are grappling with both increased workloads and staffing challenges. One helpful framework — now and in more normal times — is to understand the factors that affect customer tolerance for queues. There are seven, and they influence how long customers will wait in queue, how …

Continue Reading >

Real-time Management: Level 2 and Beyond

These extraordinary times have impacted our lives in unimaginable ways. They have also impacted customer service in ways we might have never thought possible. For those struggling to manage unexpected volumes of customer contacts, the following real-time management discussion from the latest edition of Contact Center Management on Fast Forward may be helpful. Level 2 and Beyond In omnichannel environments with …

Continue Reading >

The Power of One: Every Agent Matters

In these extraordinary times when many of us have had to transition our customer service agents to work at home, it is more important than ever that all agents understand their individual contribution to servicing customers. And that they understand how much they are appreciated. This video shows the impact each person makes on service level, occupancy and average speed …

Continue Reading >