Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody
You may have heard the story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
Now while that story appears to be a bit of fun, it does highlight the danger that operations are exposed to in an environment where silos exist, with very little visibility across functional areas.
It’s sometimes estimated that between 10 and 20 percent of all the transaction volume in a contact centre is the result of execution issues in the back office.
Do your customers know the difference between front and back office? They likely don’t. Why would they? They just want to receive good customer service—excellent customer service even. Organisations know the difference because that’s how they manage their operations, i.e., separate, distinct areas dealing with different parts of a customer fulfilment process. Typically, each of these areas operates autonomously, having different processes and standards that in some cases hinder the resolution of a customer query.
Visibility Is Key
To negate this approach of departments working independently to come to a joint outcome, we need to:
- Break down the barriers between areas.
- Understand process flow across departments.
- Measure the time between touch points in that process.
Visibility is key to that. And getting true visibility involves:
- Using Workforce Management to manage resources against accurately forecasted work volumes, driven by objectively collected data.
- Implementing Performance Management scorecards and dashboards that can empower employees, improve performance and help enable managers to view dashboards highlighting current service standards and performance against these standards.
- Using a Quality Management system that helps reduce error rates so rework can be driven down, and self-generated contacts into the call centre can be minimised.
- Desktop and Process Analytics to help inform the planning function with process timings, as well as data propagation and process guidance, helping to reduce risk and increase accuracy that will help minimize future customer service issues.
As customers demand the same level of service regardless of how and when they interact with organisations, managing the back office and creating a consistency of service across the whole enterprise can have a direct impact on customer satisfaction. By providing visibility into people, work and processes, organisations can drive informed actions to better serve their customers.
Back-office operations are important; they always have been. Today organisations face even bigger challenges, with customers demanding faster responses to their queries across multiple customer service channels. Aligning the organisation and managing consistent performance across the front and back office are key to driving customer service success.
The late Maya Angelou reminded us of the importance of being customer champions: “… people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
The connection between customer satisfaction and what happens in the back office has been clearly identified. It’s up to organisations to act.