In my last article I wrote about the difference between strategic and tactical thinking with respect to large processing / contact centres, and, in my opinion, explained why I thought this was just wrong-headed.
When a large part of the organisation is there to ensure customers are happy, it’s fundamental to ensure queries are cleared as soon as possible, or better still, avoid queries all together.
So, how do organisations get into this situation in the first place…?
- A lack of consideration of: purpose; the customer demand and; what they are actually there to do. Many of my articles explain this further.
But I think other issues start to arise too.
- As people get promoted, from agent, to team leader, to senior, to manager etc, they get further from the work. Many want to get further from the work - they’ve been there long enough, it’s someone else’s turn - especially if the customers aren’t happy because they’re spinning around in the waste work.
My point: as people get more senior, they need to understand the flow of work better than ever - to explore the true customer journey, looking for blockages and hot-spots - to ensure purpose is being met.
A good leader needs to understand the bigger picture AND understand the detail. They need to understand what the customer experiences, and understand the work that such a huge and expensive resource undertakes.
I’ve seen many large scale operations where most of the work being undertaken is processed twice-over - think of the cost. I’ve also seen organisations where the work seems to just continually spin round and round...
In a “man-in-a-van” housing repairs operation I reviewed a few years back, the director soon picked up on what I’d discovered.
On almost every visit to a customer, we were welcomed with “Hello, nice to see you again.” “Again?” - we’d come to fix something, and someone had already been out to fix it, but failed. A trip to the depot, picking up parts, a drive across town, have a go at fixing something - all done twice over.
When reporting this back in the board room, the director immediately understood - “have we got twice the number of men and vans we should have…?” Possibly. Better still, use the existing team to fix the work in a shorter time, and complete more work. A reduced cost-per-fix, and happier customers.
If you really want to understand what your team is doing, go and review a customer journey:
- Pick a customer on the computer system, and see how many contacts it took to complete the query.
- Hop in a van and see what the workman actually faces as they do their work.
- Listen to some calls, and hear what the customer says, and listen to what your staff do in response.
Was this the customer’s first contact? Was it fixed right first time? Could we have done better? Could the problem be resolved all together such that no other customers repeat that journey?
Leadership is about understanding what’s really happening on the floor, and helping your team achieve great service for your customer.