Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Principles of customer contact handling

Three dimensions
When handling customer contacts, three dimensions can be identified within which a certain level of performance must be delivered:

•Customer satisfaction
Within the limits of the chosen CRM strategy, customer satisfaction will have to be maximum.
Subsequently, the customer must be satisfied as quickly as possible. The achievement of short 'Average Handling Times' is a necessity.
•Employee satisfaction
The previously demonstrated relationship between satisfied employees, happy customers, and profitability also makes this dimension an important one.

'80/20' rule
The contact volume of a company is a result of the events that occur (or root causes) and their frequency. An event is thus the reason why a customer contacts the company. The registration for a new product or the modification of address data are examples of events that occur frequently. In addition to these, there are also events that occur less frequently. As a rule, it can be said that approximately eighty percent of the contact volume is accounted for by twenty percent of the events.

High Volume
A distinction must be made between high frequency events and low frequency events: High vs Low Volume. 'High Volume' events are those events that determine the largest percentage of the work volume because they occur frequently. The following conditions apply to the handling of these 'High Volume' events:

•Efficient handling
Because these events occur so frequently, it is important that they are handled in an efficient manner. Average Handling Times must be optimized.
•Perfect user experience
In order to guarantee and/or improve employee satisfaction, it is important to provide customized support for frequently occurring events.

Low Volume
'Low Volume' events are events that do not occur very frequently. However, it is a misconception to regard these events as having no importance at all. As it happens, these are exceptional cases that, together, cause a substantial workload. Moreover, these cases are often accompanied by a not-so-insignificant exposure in the event of failure. Complaints represent a good example of this. Hopefully these do not occur very frequently, but they do have to be handled appropriately. Consequently, for the handling of 'Low Volume' events, it applies that:

•Effective handling
Unlike 'High Volume' events, the efficiency in handling 'Low Volume' events is not very relevant. It is more important that these be handled appropriately. Standard workflows that guarantee that appropriate results are achieved by the processing must therefore apply to each type of event. Unanticipated events, for which no standardized handling procedure exists, constitute an input for the improvement cycle.
•Correct event identification
In the case of 'Low Volume' events, the efficiency component lies in the identification of the correct event and the triggering of the corresponding workflow. The customer contact must be classified quickly and easily.

In order to support the requirements above, several demands apply for the software. First of all, the handling of 'High Volume' processes will have to be supported to perfection. In the ProcessRunner Agent Cockpit these are called the 'custom processes'. These are tailor-made, process-oriented screens with a maximum of user experience. Secondly, a mechanism must be set up that allows the employee to quickly identify events and trigger workflows (semi)automatically. Thus, the 'Low Volume' events are also handled effectively. Finally, it must be possible to manage the workflows from different perspectives. At the customer level, it must be evident which workflows have been initiated; at the employee level, the pending and the completed tasks must be clearly visible; at the organization level, it must be possible to adapt workflows to the changing environment quickly and easily.

Software-based support for the process makes or breaks the quality of the customer contact handling. If events can be processed quickly and correctly, this is very satisfying for both the customer and the employee. And an added bonus is that these effects also reinforce each other.

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