Should businesses process customer work tasks first in and first out, one right after the other in service fulfillment areas? I hope you said no! But this is exactly how most companies and organizations get work done today. The concept of ‘future work’ is virtually non-existent for most…. it’s just backlogs of work due… right now!
Here’s the problem
The problem with FIFO or first in, first out is that it assumes all tasks are created equal. They are of equal importance, equal priority, with the same due date (right away), and most of all with the same type of customer. Another problem is that work may get accomplished that does not need to be done, at least not yet. With FIFO there is no prioritization according to due date or value of the task. There is just work. And it keeps coming…
Today, two key elements exist in service fulfillment or the completion of back office work:
1. Workflow – It’s the how – all the steps that must be completed before the work is done. Many of these process steps are fully automated and accomplished without any human intervention.
2. Workload – It’s the what. Reviewing a case, taking care of exceptions of all types, processing a new customer service agreement or application are all examples of workload. It’s the work that needs to get done.
The workload element is typically where work gets slowed down and backlogs occur because for most companies the way work is assigned and tracked is largely manual with little prioritization. The typical modus operandi is FIFO.
Re-thinking the way work gets done
Often times, companies make too many incorrect assumptions when it comes to the completion of customer-facing work and processes. All work is not due at the same time and all work items do not have the same value and priority. Recently I was working with a service provider in the telco space who realized this fact. Many of their provisioning and fulfillment tasks from customers were due several days or weeks in the future. They figured that prioritizing work based on customer needs and requested due dates would reduce workloads and improve customer service. Work should be worked on when it was required and not in an inefficient first in, first out basis. But doing this manually was seemingly impossible. They were right in what need to change, but how could they accomplish it?
Resetting the definition of on-time
The concept of on-time delivery is changing rapidly. Organizations like Google (Google Shopping Express for same day delivery is being piloted now in San Francisco) and Amazon are resetting what on-time delivery means. It does not always mean same day. What it means is that the customer sets the definition for on-time delivery, not the business. In this radically changing world where the customer increasingly defines the experience, businesses will have to revise how they manage workloads so that the task or process is prioritized by metrics such as time, business value and customer segment.
Inserting the Future into Workload
With companies like Amazon and Google, it’s obvious that the story of work is being rewritten right before our eyes. Genesys Enterprise Workload Management can help analyze the workload and determine prioritization, urgency, and value, including the value of time in how work is assigned to your employees, while blending nicely into almost any existing workflow infrastructure.
What’s your back office environment like? Do you have the concept of ‘future’ in your strategy to manage work? I’d love to hear any comments – thanks for reading!
Read more on the subject in the white paper titled Future of Work, and let us know how work is changing in your business.