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Business, Featured - Written by on Sunday, July 20, 2008 22:38 - 3 Comments

Naumi Haque
Wikinomics in call centers part II

In my previous post, “Why Call Centers Need Wikinomics,” I argued that call centers—the most underutilized resources in the enterprise—are the low hanging fruit of Wikinomics. Since then, I’ve been researching the topic a bit more and I thought it might be valuable to post some early thinking as to where the opportunities might be (as always, feedback and additional insights would be greatly appreciated):

Wiki scripts: Imagine using wiki scripts edited by call center representatives. For common customer problems, wiki support pages could be both internal and external where customers and reps might find workarounds to problems that are valuable to other users (Tony Baggio from SocialText alluded to this opportunity is his comment on my previous post). There are already many communities online where people contribute for free; call centers have an advantage because they control incentives (beyond free) to foster activity. The evolution of call centers from rigid scripts to a network support model would increase call resolution times and increase the capacity of call center employees to take on more challenging issues and tasks.

Feedback mechanisms: The current focus of call centers is problem resolution and mitigation, not customer insight. Call center employees are the company’s front line to customers. Equally valuable would be wiki feedback mechanisms that send information in the other direction to marketing and product development functions. Remember, call centers only see a small percentage of problems, many are discussed in forums and on blogs that are outside the company’s control. Customers also use products in ways that you might never have imagined. How can we leverage these interactions? Is there a role for call reps to engage other communities? Can a Dell IdeaStorm-type initiative help centralize these erroneous points of feedback? The bottom line is this: market research spends an awful lot of money trying to figure out what product needs are and where to take a product; the customer support mechanism should be guiding exactly those things.

Unified account information and metrics: There is an opportunity to use dashboards, widgets, and visualizations to improve problem identification and prioritization by representatives. I’m thinking there are probably a lot of lessons to be learned here from the gaming world where dashboards are extremely complex and pull real-time data from interactive environments. From an IT perspective, this would require some serious integration with back office systems (CRM/ERP).

Reward and compensation structures: Companies need to transform how they think about call centers from a cost center mentality to a value-creation mentality, where each call is seen as an opportunity to learn from customers. For this to happen, incentives will have to change. As an example, most call centers tend to focus on solving individual customer problems; however, a much better objective is to use collaboration to identify root causes and eliminate problems for everyone (tied to feedback mechanisms). This would mean designing a system that rewards people for helping to improve and refine products by removing problems instead of dealing with them as quickly as possible and getting people off the phone. Overall design of these types of complex reward structures could also benefit from lessons learned in the gaming world where rewards, point mechanisms, and incentives are extremely well-defined.

Smart call routing that analyzes reps actual skills and matches problems with solutions: Create a reputation model for call reps that is based on what type of problems they have solved, the level of customer satisfaction, repeat calls, and so on. Smart systems could then provide just-in-time knowledge as problems are identified, either to customers, or to reps as they answer calls – no search required. In terms of wiki scripts and feedback tools, representatives could rate each other, and each others’ scripts and contributions to the knowledge base to help hone the routing system so that issues reach the appropriate person or solution.

Customers helping customers: The first step is to use Web 1.0 tools like a FAQ or knowledge bases to enable customer self-help – this is a fairly standard operating procedure for the vast majority of contact centers. However, beyond this there is an opportunity to allow customers to help each other through forums, wiki product manuals (e.g. see Moto Q wiki), customer-led support (Second Life does it), or online problem solving venues (e.g. see GetSatisfaction.com).

Supplement call center activities with other Web 2.0 initiatives: Why stop at wikis and forums? Live chat is a common addition to the contact center arsenal to improve upon automated online responses (this also allows reps to deal with multiple “calls” at once). What about using videos for online tutorials (vs. documentation) to allow users/reps to post common problems and solutions? How about tutorials using virtual world technology?


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Wikinomics» Blog Archive » Maslow’s Hierarchy of Customer Service
Mar 1, 2009 20:18

[...] like to share a graphic that I’ve been using a lot lately in my presentations about Wikinomics approaches to contact centers. The original source, I’ve learned, is from the book “Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo [...]

Apr 28, 2009 6:57

It features about philippine call center.
For a lots of info needed just visit this site http://www.philippinecallcenter.com.ph

Wikinomics» Blog Archive » A future vision of CRM
Oct 8, 2009 2:11

[...] [...]

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