By Chally Kacelnik
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Picture an organisation in which technical experts are overwhelmed by a high volume of specialised work. They can’t concentrate because they keep getting interrupted by routine questions and issues that someone else can be trained up to handle. That someone else is usually a customer service or administrative officer. This officer is stuck in a professional rut and frustrated by continually having to pass off questions, follow up on them, and coordinate a whole lot of threads, often for people who view them as not particularly capable and as having nothing more to do than “just answer the phones”. In each department, there are one or two individuals with all the corporate knowledge, and things grind to a halt when they go on holidays or, worse, quit. The resentment all round is palpable. Does this sound familiar?
This is a sign that your organisation is designed on the basis of inputs, not desired outcomes. Here’s how we’ve helped our clients to turn around this dynamic.
Following a current state analysis of the activities and services, we help our clients to separate out the specialist technical functions from the more routine transactional and administrative ones. We then help them to establish a centralised customer resolution team with the capacity to resolve most internal and external enquiries at the first point of contact.
High volume activities and processes are re-engineered in line with a target operating model. This grounds it in the practicalities of everyday operations with the input of the actual process participants.
We’ve assisted organisations to establish knowledge bases, service level agreements, and digital and self-service channel shifting in order to set up the customer resolution team with clearly delineated functions, increased knowledge and skillsets, more flexible resources, and lower cost enquiries and transactions.
The primary benefits of this are:
- Demonstrably and sustainably aligning your resources to the work that needs to get done
- Freeing up technical specialists to focus on their core strategic work
- High “once and done” resolution of customer enquiry – generally 80% of enquiries can be resolved at the first point of contact
- Establishing multi-skilled, multi-functional teams, allowing a range of people to develop skills for a range of support services
- Minimising back and forth and bottlenecks
This way of organising work also keeps people focused on the broader purpose of their work and the organisation. They move beyond their silo and become connected to the value of their work and its wider impact. Particularly due to the need to consult the knowledge base and the process of assembling it, people are made aware of the purpose and value of others’ work. They become better equipped to help, respect, and understand each other. With individuals better able to quickly accomplish work without too many handoffs, the result is a more positive and productive work environment.
Having the resources, enthusiasm, and expertise isn’t enough. These need to be organised to support your organisational outcomes, not organised around narrow functional inputs reliant on individuals. We really enjoy helping organisations to position themselves to kick goals, with teams who feel supported and enabled to get it done.