Tag Archives: call center

Using Lean Management & Human-centered Design to Improve Government Customer Experience

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Lean Management is a customer-centric methodology used to improve the current business process by using the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) technique. Following the DMAIC blueprint will provide organizations insight into what the actual root cause problem is by measuring and analyzing various data sets, and developing process flow maps to understand the “as is” state.

• Define: Understanding the problem through the outputs of the human-centered design research

• Measure: Measure data pulled from the contact centers

• Analyze: Analyze and determine the cause(s) of the defects (understanding the waste).

• Improve: Improve the process by eliminating defects (unnecessary steps, decreased wait times, and shorter scripts)

• Control: Control future process performance (governance through new policies and procedures)

The lean approach focuses on increasing taxpayer value by improving the processes associated with delivering high customer value. Using the problems defined through the human center design research will point government in the right direction to which processes it needs to begin to hone it on. The problems government thinks are pertinent, may not be relevant in the eyes of the taxpayer. The contact center, being one of the first touch points for a taxpayer, can be reengineered to run more effectively and efficiently by making the internal workflow of calls leaner. The “as is” process map is the starting point to improving services because it visualizes the current process allowing for a clear picture of evident breakdowns in the process.

Defining the problem with the contact center and understanding the process is one piece to the puzzle, the ability to measure, analyze and improve based on the data collected is a critical component to developing sustainable, scalable solutions. Analyzing the various data sets will allow designers to identify areas of waste in the process, ultimately improving the experience of the taxpayer while simultaneously decreasing internal costs for government. Often than not, the government will tack on more employees and additional resources to a problem that can be easily solved by redesigning the process to work more efficiently. The desired outcome is to develop a solution that will be sustainable for government and taxpayers in the future and not a stop-gap solution for today.

Improving how calls are routed, improving the verbiage in the scripts, shortening wait times, and upgrading data collection platforms are all interlocked in improving the taxpayer’s experience when interacting with the contact centers. The one common denominator for all this to be successful is data. Data will allow leadership to understand the pain points in the process and begin to take a proactive approach in improving the taxpayer’s experience. Lean methodologies break down each component of the process to ensure the internal value stream is being utilized effectively to increase customer satisfaction. Human center design thinking is instrumental in providing lean management with accurate taxpayer problems to lay the framework for business process improvements across all facets of the contact center.

8 ways Social Media has changed Customer Service

by Silky Sinha, on Tue, May 26, 2015

Social Media has completely changed the face of customer service and the way consumers interact with a brand. Instead of dialing the call center number and going through the pain of dealing with agents with little or no knowledge of their problems, customers prefer to post their issue on Facebook or Twitter that earns them immediate response and their queries are solved within a blink of an eye. Companies have nowadays started focusing on omni-channel customer service to serve their clients and potential customers on their preferred channels, hence driving effective customer engagement.

Below, I have explained 8 ways social media has changed customer service. Let’s go through them one by one.

Customer Interaction has Gone Public Now

Many Customers no longer prefer to call the customer service and have a one-to-one interaction with the representative to get their problems resolved. Instead they want to share their problems on online platforms especially social media. The companies can’t afford to hamper their brand image in public forms like these and needs to take immediate action to solve the problem which also gives them the opportunity to demonstrate how helpful and highly responsive they are. This will definitely create a positive impact on potential customers by showing that you take care of the customers at real-time and that you are very proactive.

According to a study, more than 60% of consumers have already engaged in a customer service transaction using social media. There are both challenges and opportunities for companies here.

Customers Choose their Medium of Communication

There are still many companies who don’t handle customer service on social media. This is really alarming as most of the customers are now choosing social media platforms to interact with companies. Even if the company has all the other channels for customer service, they might suffer and lose their customers to the competitors.

Customers have Plenty of Options Today

If you do not take care of your customer’s issue as soon as possible and fail to provide a good customer experience, then you are surely at a risk. Your customer will not take much time to find a viable alternative to your company. All your competitors are present on social media and social networking will lead to your customer switching to your competitor.

Customer can Make or Break a Brand’s Reputation Easily

In a matter of seconds, customers can ruin your company’s reputation by writing a complaint on your Facebook page. Reputation management has now become a core part of customer service over online mediums and companies will have to take care of it without delay as customers want immediate results now and are not willing to wait. Regular social media monitoring can help companies in managing their reputation well.
Companies can Deal with Multiple Customers at Once

Tackling customers over phone, requires a lot of time as each customer take his/her own time to describe their situation to the contact center agent. However, with the emergence of social media, customer service reps can handle multiple customers at once and can easily deal with customers facing similar issues by posting the solution on a public forum.

Companies can Leverage Social Media Influencers to Build their Brand

Connecting with social media influencers allows you to increase awareness of your brand, create brand advocates and increase online reputation. Maintaining good and lasting relationship with these influencers will provide your company with an opportunity to improve site ranking, gain more followers and eventually become a social media influencer. They can help you in many ways. By writing a good review about your product they can influence many others to purchase your company’s products. If they share a news about your company on social media, it will definitely help in improving your brand’s reputation.

Companies Can Announce Policy Changes Instantly

In the past, companies had to take out advertisements in newspapers to deliver mass messages to consumers about any change in their customer service policy. But things have changed now with social media coming to light. Company can post the changes on social media and will take seconds to spread among their clients.

Customers can Easily Help and Support Each Other

The moment you post a question or a problem or ask for advice, your friends and colleagues instantly reply after seeing the post. Even if somebody is not known to you, but has some knowledge about your problem or has himself facing the same issue, would come to your rescue and support you in reaching out to the company.

Return on Investment (ROI) Model in Government – Does It Really Exists? Maybe…

The question of how government can track the success of profitless projects comes into question on a regular basis. It is easy to follow a dollar. Money leaves tracks, but how does local government leverage private practice metrics to better inform future projects and practices?

Non-profits use a different measure of value to reflect a more impact-centric formula to measuring ROI. Monetizable outcome and value have taken command of the popular imagination, yet motivation, beliefs, and ethical practice are equally important, and have defined value in the public sector. Regardless, the bottom line is investment creates more investment.

According to a 2008 report from the ROI Institute, and comprehensive measurement and evaluation process data from over 200 organizations, “Global trends in measurement and evaluation” indicate “increased focus is driven by clients and sponsors,” and “ROI is the fastest growing metric.” These two factors demonstrate that increased focus for an organization is directly impacted by the return. Impact can easily be interchanged with the public sector’s definition of value.

The relationship between return, and exterior financial support, points to an across the board paradigm shift between all sectors. Activity is no longer sufficient evidence to justify activity. Activity–whether it is a program, a project, an initiative, or the creation of a product–must be result based. In this there is a need to abandon ambiguous performance measurements, forge more social partnerships, and use efficient CRM systems that capture data. With this paradigm shift, we see government adapting to result based processes.

Dr. Jack Phillips and Patricia Pulliam Phillips note in their review, “Using ROI to Demonstrate HR Value in the Public Sector: A Review of Best Practices,” that ROI methodology is currently being used in the public sector in a multitude of ways by entities like the USA Veterans Administration, Australian Department of Defense, and U.S federal government agency. These entities are using ROI to “demonstrate program success and impact of training on educational programs,” “measure the impact of a new human resources information systems,” and to “measure the cost benefit of a master’s degree program conducted on site by a prestigious government.”

The emphasis on managing data isn’t simply a sporadic interest in government, or a trend that the public sector is suddenly jumping on board with. From a federal level the 2002 President’s Management Agenda (PMA) pinpointed five government wide goals that have influenced this contemporary line of thinking. The goals speak to the need for strategic management of human capital, competitive sourcing, improved financial performance, expanded e-government, and budget and performance integration. The PMA’s goals indicate a need to find a comprehensive formula for combining ROI metrics and analytics that support social impact, program evaluation, and quantitative data to measure both a monetary and a non-monetary return. The outcome of finding this formula would result in more than just saving a few bucks, and could potentially result in productivity and quality increases.

In an earlier document from the ROI Institute, Dr. Phillips provides an example of what this would look like:

“In a government setting, cost savings measures are available from every work group. For example, if a government agency implements a program to improve forms processing–a productivity measure is number of forms processed; the quality measure is the error rate on processing forms; a time measure is the time it takes to process the forms; and a cost measure is the cost of processing forms on a per-unit basis. Improvements in work unit performance in a government setting have many opportunities for program benefits that can be converted to monetary value.”

One of the ways that the Third Sector Organization (TSO), in the United Kingdom, has attempted to qualify social value of their sector is through developing a methodology: Social Return on Investment (SROI). The goal of SROI is to translate social, economic, and environmental benefits into monetary value. Yet the SROI isn’t necessarily applicable to individual programs and initiatives, and still prioritizes financial measurements over, say, what a social audit would result in: qualitative information combined with financial data that informs internal performance.

Ultimately, even with the strides that the TSO has made, there is still a global gap in knowledge when it comes to gauging impact on smaller scale profit-less items. A 2013, working paper from the Tellurid Science Research Center concluded on a similar note, stating:

“There is an extensive body of grey literature on impact measurement practice, however this has tended to be small-scale and boosterist in nature. The field has also suffered from a lack of theorisation of key concepts and critical appraisal of previous research, with a few exceptions. A number of studies are emerging which attempt to address this theoretical and empirical gap, but in general empirical research on impact measurement practice in the UK third sector, particularly which organizations and subsectors are undertaking impact measurement and the practices and tools they are using, is limited.”

Though there are limitations, the potential remains there for the public sector to find an all encompassing return on investment model, however no formula or practice standard exists at the moment. BUT there is still hope!

How are you measuring the ROI or SROI in the public sector? I would love to hear your feedback and suggestions.