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Customer Service and Pareto's Law

How many support organizations feel overwhelmed with an endless cycle of problems and support requests? For those of you that feel this way, what would you say if I told you that you might be able to solve 80% of your problems, with 20% of the work?

As it aptly applies to numerous business functions, Pareto’s 80/20 Law appears “spot on” with regard to customer service and support. It is commonly observed that roughly twenty percent of known issues (what we refer to as "simple and frequent") constitute approximately eighty percent of the total contact volume. Simply put, approximately 20% of your products and services are causing you 80% of the heartache.

This regular and predictable occurrence within the customer support function lends itself to the deployment of automated tools, an example being a diagnosis/resolution support process, deployed with or without the assistance of live agents. These common and frequent issues are often classified as "Tier 1" problems. The remaining twenty percent of contact volume stems from less common, and often more complex issues, requiring a higher level of training (Tier 2 & 3 agents).

Focusing operational efforts towards this "20 percent" can drastically help to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your call center. By applying process, through the use of decision tree software, agents are now able to easily solve these problems without the need for advanced training. Not only will your agents be able to solve more problems on the first call, it will be less expensive.

As soon as this 20% is processed, you can begin to focus on other areas of the support organization. Until then, it will be a continuous uphill battle that has you and your agents spending time and resources in areas that are less valued.

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