We’re moving.

After twenty-five years in the same house, my wife and I will soon be living in a new place.

Moving isn’t fun. It’s not just leaving the home where we raised our two boys, but getting rid of all our unneeded items. We’re not hoarders or packrats, but it’s downright astonishing how much stuff (I won’t use the word junk) we gathered over the years.

beverly hillbillies

Businesses can be like that, too, can’t they? As companies grow, evolve, and consolidate, they accumulate “stuff.” Some of it is necessary, but sometimes it’s just junk–like redundant or conflicting processes. This is frustrating enough for employees, but it’s even worse for your customers.

As consumers, we’ve all experienced this. We enter our account number on a mobile device, only to have a customer service agent ask us to repeat it moments later. Why? Sometimes it’s because one company division created the mobile application, while another runs the contact center. Or sometimes we have to wait several minutes while an agent searches for the information to help us, because it’s stored in several places.

How can companies address this problem?

Three Ways to “Declutter” for Your Customers
Address Root Causes— Make every reasonable attempt to consolidate overlapping business functions and processes that impact your customer service. For example, have you combined separate customer databases you may have accumulated through the years? What about billing systems and support centers? Making these kinds of changes can be expensive, so consider the costs versus the benefits. There’s no one correct answer. You need to strike the right balance for your business and your customers.

Help Your Agents Help Your Customers— Customer care agents often need to consult multiple sources to help customers. Can your agents quickly access the information they need from a single desktop “cockpit”? Is their desktop customizable, allowing agent teams to organize for maximum efficiency?

Maintain Context— Today’s consumers interact with businesses over multiple channels like voice, chat, email, and the web. They may do so over a period of hours, days or even weeks. When they speak with one of your customer service representatives, does the agent know what occurred during the previous interactions? Or must your agent ask the caller to repeat what happened before? Cloud-based context services allow you to keep track of key information across time and channels, enabling agents to help consumers more quickly and accurately. This is the promise of “omnichannel” customer care.

I’ll leave you with a challenge. Try out your own company’s customer service to learn what it’s like for your customers. Are you providing a streamlined, omnichannel journey? Or do you need to declutter a bit? Let me know what you find out in the comments section.

I’ve got to go. The movers are here…


Jeff Campbell

No Longer with Cisco