back office journeyEver since I witnessed the fist space shuttle take off on television, I have been intrigued by everything that has to do with space travel. Recently I visited the NASA Exhibition that is traveling around major cities and found myself fascinated by the concept of the ‘Lunar Orbit’ that was used to propel space craft back to the earth, using the moon’s gravity to increase speed.

During the Lunar Orbit, astronauts would travel around the dark side of the moon and would not have any contact with Mission Control since radio communication would simply not work during this part of the journey.

As a customer service junkie it struck me that some of the interactions your customers experience in the end-to-end Customer Journey could in fact be very similar to communicating in the Lunar Orbit.

The specific interaction of the Customer Journey that I’m referring to is the ‘fulfillment’ part or the back office side of the customer experience. Think about it for a minute. A customer has a problem or question that cannot be fixed immediately by the contact center and needs to wait for someone in your organization to change an address, activate a cell phone, assess a health insurance claim, etc.

During that time, your customers might feel like they’re in the dark on the status of their request – somewhere in the Lunar Orbit. After going quiet for too long, what usually happens is that customers will try to engage you and get information on their status of the back office journey. The need to react to these requests ties up resources that your customers consume at that point in time, adding to the overall cost of your Customer Service operation. In my recent webinar called Six Sigma: 8 Types of ‘Waste’ in Customer Service I discussed how to avoid wasting valuable time and resources during interactions just like this.

Below are some tips to help you prevent the experience from going dark during the your customer’s journey:

1. Keep the customer informed – Use automated proactive notifications to let your customers know the status of their case. This avoids the need to react and lets you stay in control of your resources.

2. Prioritize interactions dynamically – Make sure you handle important customers, or important interactions and work tasks first. You can do this by using a flexible rules engine that keeps prioritizing tasks in real time. If new information is added to the case, its priority should be re-evaluated and potentially increased or decreased.

3. Increase back office productivity – Use skills-based routing and employee presence to ‘push’ work to your employees and better utilize their productive time. Better throughput of tasks will reduce the number of customers contacting you for status updates.

Optimizing your back office and focusing on the dark side of the customer journey can yield great results in Net Promoter Score, Cost to Serve and Employee Satisfaction.

To learn more download our eBook, Five Steps to Peak Performance in the Back Office.

If you have a comment, let me know…

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Stefan Captijn

Stefan Captijn

Stefan is Senior Director Strategic Marketing at Genesys. Stefan joined Genesys in April 2000, lives in the Amsterdam area with his wife and two children. In his free time, Stefan enjoys building loudspeakers, cycling and running.