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Double Dip Recession? - Better Business Process Management

Yesterday I read an article by, Robert Reich, Former Secretary of Labor, on the Huffington Post, debating whether we are headed for a "double-dip" recession or just a lousy recovery?

It is an interesting debate with many self serving opinions on all sides. I am no economist and have never been a fan of Mr. Reich, but I have to say...when it comes to business in this era, it just doesn't matter! You and your team have got to play like the bottom is falling out everyday. Bad economy or good, recession or not. You've got to be at the top of your game!

Face it, we all know it is tough out there...it has been that way for a while now...its Tough winning new customers and its Tough keeping the ones you have. As I see it, it all comes down to service and satisfaction. You tell me; Who is buying or using something they don't need and they haven't check references on? Customer satisfaction is paramount and delivering it at the lowest cost is an imperative.

As business managers and owners we MUST maintain a keen focus on the basics. Better Business Process Management - We need to continually review and optimize our processes and push every function and process to the lowest "total cost" solution. But let's remember one thing, cost doesn't mean just price. Total Cost means you have taken into account the following:

1) Customer experience - low cost, poorly trained agents or basic but ineffective knowledge management solutions can cost you far more than you realize. Remember, frustrated and dissatisfied customers are worth 9.2 negative referrals. What would that cost you?

2) Agent Efficiency - How quickly and accurately can an agent resolve the customers issues? This contributes to two of the most important metrics in a call center; First Call Resolution (FCR) and Average Handle Time (AHT.) Both of which have a very direct impact on cost and on item 1 above! Many have found that decision tree software is a huge enabler that drives both FCR and AHT in positive directions.

3) Closed Loop Feedback - This is the one that everyone seems to miss. How quickly can/are you feeding back to the product or service folks insight into the issues your customers are seeing? Do you have a real time Pareto report of issue types? IMHO - this is critical! The best way to positively impact 1 and 2 is to never have the call happen in the first place! Find the problem, fix the problem and never get a call about the problem again!

4) Guided Self Service - more and more companies are turning to the web and tools that let the customer serve themselves. Again, these tools are critical as they can deflect 10-20% of the typical calls that end up in the call center and thereby deflect 10-20% of the expense. What does your call center cost? How much would a 15% reduction impact your bottom line? Just make sure they tie to the call center data gathering tools so that your Feedback loop is considering all the issues.

So these are just 4 ideas to better business process management. Those who follow these will be able to enjoy the tasty double dip's on hot summer days like the one above! No doubt you have others. Care to share?

Clip Art from: cliker.com

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