It is the time of the season again.
We are waiting.
In traffic jams, at airports, in musea and at any destination you prefer to visit as a tourist.
Funny thing is that sometimes waiting is not a nuisance. It can be fun to look at the gents who are queuing to visit the Eiffel tower in Paris. Yes, you agree that can be fun but a traffic jam or a queue at an airport: NO.
With my background I always associates queues with K.A Erlang and the Erlang distribution. Almost a century this Danish engineer examined the number of calls that might be delivered by operators of switching stations. With his work one was and is able to estimate waiting times.
Funny, operators are gone and so are switching stations.
And, thanks to digital technology you do have not have to queue to visit the Eiffel Tower. You order the tickets online and use your smartphone as your entrance ticket.
I recall those days that queue management used concepts as enlighten and engage. Visitors of Disneyland know what I mean. And within contact centers, we use information about minutes of waiting timbers, numbers of callers and even commercial messages to enlighten the wait.
As i assume that you are working in customer service, now focus on your contact center. Indeed, you manage to enlighten and engage your customers. For phone, you use indeed Erlang C-calculations and have the appropriate staffing and optimal costs.
However – oh my god – you say no to your customers. Your customers have to wait in queues, work in progress: you name it and i shame it. You still operate as if digital and mobile has not yet arrived.
Let’s state it bold: nowadays it is often not about enlightening and engaging; it is about erasing.
In 2008, in their groundbreaking book, Bill Price and David Jaffe outlined a new, game-changing approach. To be successful, companies need to treat service as a data point of dysfunction and figure what they need to do to eliminate the demand. Their The Best Service Is No Service outlines principles to deliver the best service that ultimately leads to “no service” such as eliminate dumb contacts, create engaging self-service, be proactive and make it easy to contact your company.
For me, waiting lines, queues, work in progress are often data points of dysfunction. As a professional you need to figure what can be done to eliminate the demand.
It requires a different mindset: no longer enlightening and engaging but focusing on erasing the queue. Mobile trends, social media, digital capabilities empower you to implement such an erasing approach.
Your employees will like the concept! No longer to apologize for dysfunction and unnecessary demand!
And your customers? They will love it. They feel at ease, save time (and money), know that contacts are no longer dumb and are effective and efficient.
And your manager? After some resistance, I guess you get your bonus: a visit to Paris.