As I travel the country talking to Heads of Customer Service and their teams, I am often surprised at how limited the use of customer service data is in informing organisational change.
While some housing associations have their contact centre metrics nailed and are fully plugged in to the change agenda, a significant proportion continue to use traditional measures such as average handling time, average speed of answer and abandonment rates, with customer satisfaction usually being sampled alongside. While these measures are useful in informing day to day operations, they don’t tell the full story in terms of overall performance.
A recent Your Call survey found that 85% of associations don’t measure avoidable contact. Yet captured in sufficient detail, this measure alone can provide a rich picture of process waste in an organisation and acting on it can generate potentially significant savings as well as improving customer satisfaction. After all, who wouldn’t want things to be done right first time?
Lean end to end processes, supported by effective and efficient workflow should be what we all aspire to, but disjointed systems, inconsistent front end data capture and silo working practices are all too often the reality – and lead to avoidable contact – something that, with the right data, is entirely within the organisation’s control.
My real point is that we need to take customer service more seriously. As well as being the ‘face’ or ‘voice’ of the organisation, customer service needs to be seen as a strategic asset; its interactions offer a rich seam of performance data that can provide early warning of wider problems. Putting effective front end data capture in place means that organisations can then report on this; using the information gathered to prioritise improvement, aid the delivery of cashable savings and simultaneously improve customer satisfaction.
As budgets are squeezed, there is an opportunity to put customer service at the heart of the efficiency agenda. The day to day contact with customers means that customer service staff are usually the first to know when things aren’t working. But knowing that and capturing the data that allows actionable insights to be formed are two different things. If we are serious about being as efficient as we can be, solid data capture and real time reporting capability become mission critical.
I’ll be attending the next Your Call event in Edinburgh to talk about this and more – feel free to join me (it’s free) – for more information and to book a free place contact Tina Hillman on 01869 242967. You can also find info available @OmfaxSystems.
To find out more about the Your Call survey, click here http://omfax.co.uk/yourcall.html
Peter Graddon is the Managing Director of Omfax Systems
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