Systems Thinking Posts


Human resource and technology consulting firms sell services to improve agent performance. Tech consultants look for ways to monitor an agent, while HR experts offer ways to motivate agents through performance appraisal, rewards and incentives....
Customer Service Design Flaws
Published: 2011-04-29
Call me­ a whiner and I will wear that badge publicly any chance I get. I travel a lot; 70,000 airline miles and 70-plus nights in hotels over four months. This has presented me with the opportunity to have seen the best and worse of airline...
I know . . . here we go again, but the insanity has to stop at some point. Changing thinking sometimes becomes a redundant activity that if whacked on the head enough something might stick. When it comes to FCR (First Call Resolution) and AHT (A...
The latest episode of Undercover Boss was for 1-800-Flowers. Jim McCann (founder and CEO) and Chris McCann (President and COO) are brothers and seem to treat each other in that older brother-younger brother dynamic. This episode takes us on a jo...
The mass production, economies-of-scale mentality that has a place in the demise of manufacturing in the United States has long been the model copied in contact centers. With more and more manufacturing going away, we are getting former manufact...
Oh my . . . Steven Jobs and Apple! The king of hype and marketing is now learning a hard lesson that many service organizations have yet to learn. A customer focus matters and the less sensitive you are to the customer . . . the more it will cos...
Like most of us, I watched in horror as another man-made disaster cost lives and livelihoods, ruined the environment, siphoned away multiple millions of dollars to clean-up and destroyed the reputation of another major company. This is not as ba...
Like a lot of people I have been watching the recent Arizona Immigration politics play out. My individual thoughts about government have little to do with partisanship or bipartisanship. Instead I am interested in what actually works in gov...
Large contact center vendors may be licking their chops to provide their services to the wide-open health care market. 32 million more Americans will need coverage and this should translate to more phones needing to be answered. There will be mo...
Whenever I walk into a call center and start to hear blame placed on the call center representative, I become skeptical. I was recently watching the show Undercover Boss with Michael Rubin, CEO of GSI Commerce, a leading provider of e-Comme...
Don’t get me wrong, I visit "the House the Mouse built" at least once every year. I’m a loyal customer. This time of year I attend the Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) as it coincides wit...
The fall from grace by Toyota marks the end of the Toyota Production System that so many manufacturing and service organizations have tried to copy . . . or does it? A quick review of the Toyota Production System shows that their losses...
Six Steps to Service Improvement
Published: 2010-02-18
Command and control thinkers believe that organizational change management comes from projects and project plans, cost-benefit analysis, deliverables, milestones, strategic plans and the like. Time wasted over and over again breaking things down...
As I read through my Google search on absenteeism and turnover, I read the usual solutions to these problems. Most are related to some carrot and stick approach to get call center representatives to enjoy their job. But the focus is all in the w...
A Call Center Holiday Wish List
Published: 2009-12-16
How about if this year we give the gift that keeps on giving...and I am not talking about the "Jelly of the Month Club." A gift that lasts, and not one that slices, dices or can be eaten in a single sitting. Better yet, a gift that can improve s...
Most of us have connected with the service sector (public or private) through call centers or otherwise and felt like we have been "worked." That burning feeling that what matters to you does not matter to the service company with which you are inter...
Built during the Civil War, Alcatraz, or "The Rock" as it has been nicknamed, was a place that no one was known to escape from while incarcerated there. Alcatraz sits on an island with more than a mile to a shoreline in chilly waters. My experie...
The Best Place for A Reality Check
Published: 2009-08-24
Command and control thinking has to manifest itself somewhere, and no where is it more prevalent than the call center. Let's look at the typical call center:Productivity charts for team, unit and individual performance (complete with targets)...
I spoke to a reporter from India (Reed Business Information) recently regarding IT and call center outsourcing, and, more specifically, the impact on Infosys. He informed me my view was "different" than everyone else and I could only reply that...
Death By Call Center
Published: 2009-06-24
I am always fascinated by the actions of call center management efforts to attain cost reductions. Bank management efforts are no exception. At a large customer service (call) center for a tier one (large) bank I spent time listen...