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Fumbling in the dark for information, and wasting money.

by Michael Maoz  |  April 14, 2009  |  Comments Off on Fumbling in the dark for information, and wasting money.

I spend a lot of time watching customer service operations. Service reps answer phones, chat with customers on the internet, and answer emails. Yes, and shop on eBay and do Sudoku puzzles and talk to friends, babysitters and children. I don’t find the shopping and extraneous talking productivity killers. In fact, they can be refreshing – leave the rep alone.

Where do I see the productivity and morale killer? Knowledge management, or however you would like to define the mind numbing, infuriating, marrow-sucking exercise of looking for information you KNOW is in a database or application or on your intranet or catalog. But where is it? Do you remember? Is the information correct? Is it still up to date? This is the curse of the supposed ‘knowledge worker.’ They are working to be knowledgeable, and they are given few tools to do their job. Instead they do Google Desktop Search and create ‘cheat sheets’ pinned to the side of the cubicle, and flip through binders, or put the customer on hold, or transfer calls.

Three results come of this ancient game of information dumpster diving: service agents waste time and money, they get frustrated, and they frustrate your end-customer, consumer, citizen, partner, prospect.  Fixing the problem is a matter of discipline and methodology. It isn’t expensive, but because most of us do not have measures of wasted productivity (for example: how much time per shift does a service rep spend searching for information?), nor understand the benefit of fixing the problem, we do little.

I’m writing a piece of research on this, but for now, I’ve got to get on a call about this exact topic.

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Category: crm  customer-centric-web  innovation-and-customer-experience  

Michael Maoz
VP Distinguished Analyst
13 years at Gartner
26 years IT industry

Michael Maoz is a research vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner Research. His research focuses on CRM and customer-centric Web strategies. Mr. Maoz is the research leader for both the customer service and support strategies area and customer-centric Web… Read Full Bio

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