Don’t Forget the Oboes

A popular trend in process improvement is the effort to correlate specific contact center activities to overall customer satisfaction. For example, some consulting organizations have been convincing clients to lower service level objectives because their scatter diagrams demonstrate minimal correlation between overall service level and customer satisfaction results.

The effort to understand how specific activities and measures influence overall results is laudable. But it can be reckless to claim that you’ve figured out just how much a specific variable affects customer satisfaction. The late Peter Drucker often used an orchestra analogy to remind us that a manager has the task of creating a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. “A conductor must always hear both the orchestra and the second oboe,” he said. “Can you hear the sshutterstock_172661378 oboeecond oboe?”

There’s a fine line here: We need to understand how specific activities influence overall results; but we are being irresponsible if we cut oboes or add trumpets simply because this or that study shows they have X and Y impact on customer satisfaction. As any coach, conductor or artist knows, there’s more to it than that.

Excerpt from Call Center Management on Fast Forward by Brad Cleveland