Today, every customer service organization is awash in work.  Every day, contact centers, service centers and back office organizations receive hundreds and thousands of phone calls, web forms, applications and work items that all affect the customer experience.  Unfortunately, most companies have not optimized their back offices to process these discrete items as part of an interconnected customer experience management chain.  Here are the top three service delivery failures and what companies can do to optimize the customer experience.

Failure #1: Departmental Silos

Today, companies are notoriously organized by departments and compartments – each is typically managed and goaled separately, and they don’t communicate well with each other. This organizational structure is not an evil plan against consumers, but rather a convenient way to manage groups of people. However, the result can be a disaster for customer service expectations.  Does the front office communicate effectively what is needed for back office service delivery?  If not, how are customer expectations going to be met?

Failure 2: Lack of Management Visibility into Performance
When on-time delivery doesn’t happen because of efficiency issues in the back office, the customer experience is crushed. What is the cause of missed service delivery and how can managers gain insight to make the required improvements? While many operations in the back office are automated, there is frequently a ‘people element’ within customer service workflows where people must review and add value to a process. “As a general rule, only about 75% of work in an organization can be automated: the rest is human endeavor marshaled by manual processes and therein lays the ongoing cost.” (Source: University of Wisconsin, An Econometric View of Work and Play, April 2012).

For example, an insurance claim filed through a contact center or Web form will often require a person, a claims manager, to review the case, make recommendations and collect more information before a decision is made and is finally processed. Is this person aware of the customer’s expectations or promises made by the company for the Service Level Agreement or SLA, or is this person just buried in too much work?  Backlogs of work are very typical in these operations since management visibility and the efficiencies typically found in contact centers are lacking in back office operations. Management needs more visibility into how their employees are engaging and performing with customer work.

Failure 3: Lack of Insight into Workload
Employees who are already backlogged with work, in training or on vacation impacts additional work items and deadlines that arrive daily.  Additionally, new marketing programs can dramatically change the workload that is coming into an already overloaded operations center. Beyond visibility into performance, organizations also need tools that allow them to manage and plan for the skills and resources required to meet changing workforce demands in the back office – much like workforce management tools that forecast staffing levels in the contact center.

How can you tear down the silos that impact on-time service delivery?
Here are a few suggestions where you can start the process of tearing down silos that impact service delivery:

  • Focus on the customer journey: recreate typical customer journeys in your organizations and determine where the customer touch points are and also the areas where service delivery breaks down for customers
  • Focus on making customer information visible across departments
  • Implement a single workload management solution for the enterprise that focuses on employee performance based on business rules for customer work
  • Proactively distribute work based on business rules and service level agreements and track how this work is handled

Read more about workload management, or get the white paper, Taking the Effort Out of the Customer Experience; Best Practices to Optimize Your Service Strategy.