Response Design Corporation:Creating the Uncommon Call Center
Kathryn's Uncommon Call Center Blog
June 25, 2007 11:00 AM
Categories: Customer Experience 
Before you answer, ask the right question

Do you really know what service level your customers will tolerate? Why knock yourself out answering 80 percent of calls in 20 seconds if they are just as happy with a wait of a minute and a half? Before you hire more people and pay overtime, determine what your customers really want.

With new technology, finding out is easier than ever before. In the old days, we needed to determine the exact date and time of the customer’s call and link it manually to his or her answers on a satisfaction survey. Now VoIP automatically makes the connection.

Managers in one of our client companies asked customers about their perceived wait time. They correlated the perception with the actual wait time, discovering that customers were happy with a 60-second wait if they had a quality experience once the phone was answered. In fact, a wait time of 60 seconds or less had no impact on overall telephone satisfaction. Despite longer wait times, some customers rated themselves as “extremely satisfied” due to the excellent agent behavior.

Is this true in your center? Find out if wait time is a key driver of your customer’s satisfaction.

Entry logged at 11:00 AM
June 18, 2007 10:58 AM
Categories: Miscellaneous 
I need your help

I have come across a piece of research that I would like to cite properly, but I do not know its context. If you are familiar with this research, could you contact me at and help me locate its source?

It is:

“The National Science Foundation researched more that 400 companies and found companies that instituted a measurement and feedback system increased productivity by 43 percent and companies that instituted a measurement, feedback, and incentive system, increased productivity by 64 percent.”

It is an important finding. It could help us make the case that organizations that add more components to their performance management infrastructure see the greatest increases in their productivity.

What if a company instituted a measurement, feedback, and incentive system and linked it to training? How great an increase in productivity do you think we would see?

Entry logged at 10:58 AM
June 11, 2007 10:56 AM
Categories: Customer Experience 
Measure, over-deliver, repeat

In your personal life, do you over-promise and under-deliver?

Probably not. If you commit to bring cookies for the neighborhood school fair, the cookies (with icing and sprinkles on top) are there 15-minutes early 100 percent of the time.

As a manager, keeping commitments to customers may be more difficult. Slip-ups by suppliers, packagers, shippers, and field reps occur. Sales and marketing changes may not arrive on your desk in a timely fashion. Things break. The weather turns unpredictable. Flu epidemics happen. You find you can’t control everything.

However, you can measure first contact resolution. Once you know where you stand with customers, you can streamline processes and set customer expectations. Your measure of first contact resolution is a powerful communication tool to your peers in other departments. They are more likely to cooperate if you can show them that customers believe the organization is over-committing and underperforming.

And bring your customers into a feedback loop. The best centers repeatedly communicate with customers to optimize first-contact resolution. In one company, agents remind customers at the end of the conversation to call back at any time.

If you have increased your ability to meet your commitments to customers, please let me know how you did it.

Entry logged at 10:56 AM
June 4, 2007 10:53 AM
Categories: Management 
Rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic

I like this quote:

“We trained hard, ...but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams, we would be reorganized. I was to learn late in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.”

I’ve seen managers who have used a reorganization strategy to attack problems such as a low first contact resolution. However, before you go there, explore how far comprehensive targeted training will take you in increasing this important metric.

Our studies show that successful organizations engage in extensive new-hire training followed by a period of time in which the new employees receive special mentoring (one company calls the area of increased supervision “The Nest”). Best-practice companies also cross-train employees so they are prepared to handle as many calls as possible and support the training with an efficient system of skill-based routing.

If you do find reorganization is necessary to increase first contact resolution, manage the change well so that the confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization are minimized.

By the way, the words in the quote predate customer contact management by approximately 2,200 years; they were uttered by Petronius Arbiter in 210 BC. I guess that was before the science of change management, too.

Entry logged at 10:53 AM
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