Tag Archives: customer experience

Paper Delay

“What did you learn?” I asked.

“I drew the picture of our Customer Experience system,” Sean explained. “I didn’t realize it was really a system. I drew the picture in detail to capture all the places the Service Ticket sits, and indicated whether is was a Paper Service Ticket or if it had been converted to an Electronic Service Ticket.”

“Why did you do that?”

“I was thinking, the Customer Service Rep is connected to the Service Ticket server, so they can look things up. But, for security, they are blocked out from writing service tickets. That function is relegated to Ops, who really doesn’t have the time for all this.”

“What’s the security issue?” I wanted to know.

“Ops is afraid that if the CSR writes up the ticket, they will make a mistake and route the ticket to the wrong place.”

“What do you propose?”

“I want to allow the CSR to write up the ticket while the customer is still on the phone, no more paper,” Sean started. “I want to program a drop down box with only four reason codes available plus a code for needs supervisor review. If that ticket goes straight to resolution as an Electronic Service Ticket, that takes three, maybe four days of delay out of the system.”

“How are you going to explain your proposal so you can get buy-in and approval for the change?” I asked.

Sean grinned. “I am going to lead with – Every time something is written on a piece of paper, it introduces delay into the system.”

Delay, Delay

“We tried that,” Sean explained. “There is a delay in our problem resolution. We figure out the solution on the phone call, but it takes time to execute the resolution.”

“Tell me more,” I asked.

“The customer service rep writes down the problem on a piece of paper, noting all the details, customer contact and so forth. That paper form goes to the operations department.”

“Stop,” I said. “After the paper form is completed by the CSR, what happens to the piece of paper before it goes to the ops department?”

Sean grinned. “You’re right. It sits. It sits in a box on the corner of the CSRs desk. Ops sends a runner once a day to pick up the forms. They insist that they have written documentation.”

“Every day they send a runner?”

“Well, not every day. Sometimes they get busy, so sometimes, it’s every other day.”

“Then, what happens?” I wanted to know.

“Then, someone from Ops keys in the data from the paper form to get it into their Service ticket system. From there, it could go one of four ways, so it has to be reviewed and routed by a Supervisor.”

“Is the Supervisor busy? How long does it take the Supervisor to review the ticket?”

“I’m not sure, but it has to be within a day. Or two?” Sean tried to imagine what happens in Operations.

“Sean, if you drew your system on a single piece of paper, including the steps in the Ops department, which means you might have to go and ask some questions, do you think you could put a red circle around the places where the Service Ticket just sits, waiting?”

Sean nodded, got up and went to draw a picture of the Customer Experience system.

Value Add is Not the Problem

“I have some ideas on bringing value-add to our customer experience,” Sean reported.

I nodded. “Two questions,” I said, “How well are you delivering the core elements of your customer experience? If you add elements, will they add cost and are your customers willing to pay for it?”

“Well, value-add,” Sean stuttered, “means the customer will perceive greater value for the experience we provide.”

“And, why are you doing this?”

Sean stopped. “The customer survey scores have been sagging, and I wanted a way to boost those scores. I get a bonus on improvement in customer satisfaction.”

“When you lay out your customer experience system on a piece of paper, do your customer satisfaction scores lead you to a specific segment in the system?” I asked.

Sean’s turn to nod. “Yes, we get a customer complaint, we usually troubleshoot the problem accurately during the phone call, but there is a delay in actually fixing the problem. That’s why I wanted to create some value-added services, so the customer would perceive greater value in our efforts.”

“What if? And, this is just a what if,” I smiled. “What if you focused on the delay between understanding the problem and fixing the problem? Would your customer satisfaction scores go up?”

Death of the Third Place

Ventured into my first Starbucks since March. The parking lot was empty, signs on the floor for social distancing, but no customers to distance from. Two baristas behind the counter mentally wrestled with who was to take my order. Waiting, I looked around at the cordoned seating. Is this the death of the Third Place?

Most companies have managed to return to some threshold of spaced out (space between people) operations. Products are moving, services provided. But, what of the customer experience.

Starbucks built their business on the notion of the Third Place and caffeine. I am certain they could have been more efficient had they applied six sigma principles to the order taking and coffee preparation, but what would be the point? Starbucks was all about the Third Place between home and the office where time was NOT of the essence.

What has changed about your customer experience? “Yes, you can come to our office, but please text us when you arrive. Remain in your vehicle until we confirm by text that we are ready for you.”

What happens to the Third Place in your business model?