Large organizations gather lots of statistics. Such as who calls the call centre. And what their problem is.
When they encounter a frequent problem, they do one of three or four things:
- they fix the problem (design feature, assembly instructions, whatever it is)
- they create self-serve options on the web site to help the customer fix the problem (such as tracking your package)
- they create an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) file to deal with the problem
- they put a message on a phone recording to tell you the answer (such as what hours the store is open)
All of this is done to reduce the number of enquiries about simple stuff, and (hopefully) to make the experience better.
This has led us to an interesting situation -- all of those problems that used to be dealt with by people are now dealt with by us. By definition, what's left is uncommon problems.
So have a little respect for your front line call-centre staff, because they only get the difficult stuff. You may not be training them that way, but that's their reality.
I was thinking about this again because I am speaking to some service quality professionals at the end of the month. And I think this is one of the things they have to contend with. We've actually solved many of the obvious service problems. What's left is not all that straightforward.