Process and customer service

Early in their career, a Sysdoc consultant worked as part of the team that developed one of the first telephone banks. The bank launched in the late eighties and it was a highly creative project at the time.

One of the things that received great focus was developing processes for the contact centre.

Every customer scenario was examined with meetings running late into the evening. Dedicated time mapping out what if situations and processes to deal with them, referring to the extensive customer feedback that was available. Process meetings started at 1pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays and often went on till after 9pm. Hard work for our consultant, particularly as they had a 90-minute commute home across London.

Processes were comprehensive, nicely documented and targeted to meet customer requests. Systems were developed that supported process delivery. A comprehensive induction for staff was in place over several weeks and understanding the processes and their background was a key part. There was then a lot of effort improving the processes in practice. Everything was under strict change control.

The new organisation gave great prominence to having excellent and well documented processes. It went on to win many awards for its high level of customer service.

Some contact centres struggle because processes don’t work effectively. There are many unnecessary hand offs between staff and departments. Advisors know what they are doing for the customer won’t work because there will be a failure along the line.

Bottom line is that the customer either gets what she calls for – or she doesn’t. Clearly it's good for the advisor to be pleasant and helpful, but it matters that the cover note or replacement credit card or whatever turns up. It matters that the issue is resolved.

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