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  • Writer's picturePatrik Riazzoli

Silos and multiple tiers are killing customer service

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

Everyone agree with the fact that skills are essential and that some people are better than others in different disciplines. We must however challenge the preconception that talented people can’t be multi-skilled to a “good-enough” level to solve customers problems.

Studies shows that 80% of all customer issues are resolved by self-service options. However 50% of the customers are still contacting the customer service.

With the high rate of self-service options the issues facing today’s customer service reps are more complex and span over a wide range of disciplines. A payment issue might include technical problems at the same time as it has administrative factors coupled with an opportunity for revenue or anti-churn.

If we organize our contact centers and service offerings in silos and multiple tiers, we don’t prepare our employees for handling cross-functional and complex issues. We have made it impossible to meet the customer’s needs in the initial contact, with the same person – effectively killing customer effort score. The latter also happens to be the biggest driver behind the NPS (net promoter score) and CSAT (customer satisfaction score).

With silos and multiple tiers (second and third lines) – you create unnecessary (almost exponential) complexity in the operations model since you need to forecast and staff each silo and tier separately.

Some might argue that it’s expensive to train multi-skilled staff and nearly impossible to recruit them from the beginning. This mindset sets the potential bar for quality from the start and will increase costs by 40 – 50%, considering repeat contacts and low first contact resolution rate. The organizational and operational structure of the contact center will determine the customers’ experienced quality (customer experience) and ultimately the running costs. For high-growth companies – unnecessary complexity in the operations creates bottlenecks that are difficult to overcome.

Real time proactivity – the underutilized operational potential.

By restructuring and removing silos and tiers within the service organization – you unlock an unprecedented operational potential. Considering that customer contacts are cyclical in real time, which most operational reports don’t consider, (most operational managers analyze average metrics over longer time periods daily or weekly statistics), you can create a proactive environment when the inbound volume are lower to further prevent reactive inbound contacts. Our studies from 20+ customer cases show that unseen potential reaches up to 20% of the staffed time. Considering that it’s already a sunk cost due to the need to staff all open hours, utilizing down time for proactive contacts will always be something value adding if it’s done right.

What effect could a proactive contact have for your customers service experience? Real time proactivity is a real possibility if your contact center is inhouse and you’ve achieved a high external first contact resolution.

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