Lean Six Sigma for Contact Centre Optimisation

Here's a nice introduction by Openspan to the use of Lean Six Sigma in the contact centre environment. Of course, they've put it together to make a selling case for their tools and expertise, but that doesn't detract from the great introduction to the topic.

Lean Six Sigma is all about reducing waste (Lean) and reducing variation/errors (Six Sigma) - combined they offer powerful techniques for identifying issues and optimising contact centre performance and efficiency. All of the principles that were originally applied to manufacturing can just as readily be applied to customer service and contact centre and in this webcast it is explained how.

Direct link to the page if the embed didn't work for you.


You say Success-o. I say sucks-oh-so.

I spent a little time over the weekend filling in a feedback questionnaire for my favourite mail-order coffee company. No names mentioned.

The feedback for them was very good, because when I spoke to them by phone they were prompt, courteous, helpful and even applied a discount to the delivery costs. They gave me an estimated delivery time and the coffee came even sooner. All-in-all, splendid customer service right? I'm sure after that successful call and great feedback there'll be a bit of back-slapping in the corridors at doing so well.

Except this feedback failed to capture one important thing: that call should never have happened.

After a week of failed attempts to order on a broken website and a dire shortage of my coffee supplies I was forced to pick up the phone to order. Not my preferred contact channel.

For me, in my customer centric goal-oriented world, this was the final unnecessary hurdle in a failed process where I had to resort to phone to get my task complete and a problem fixed. For said coffee company, in their channel-focussed world of call centre targets, it was a brilliantly executed sales call.

Unless organisations like this begin to understand customer journeys, begin to take account of transactions across multiple channels, begin to measure needless interactions caused by failure, they will never get a true understanding of their performance, their effect on customers and the cost of failure.

It can cost 100x more to process a transaction with a live person on the end of the phone than it does via an automated web service. The company left me with a warm fuzzy feeling, sure. But they certainly paid the price.