We all hate the experience of calling a service provider and being placed on hold for a very long time. Organisations that take their level of service seriously plan their call centres so that the waiting times for customers is within acceptable limits. Having said this, making people wait for something can in some instances increase the level of perceived value.
Call centre performance can be expressed by the Grade of Service, which is shown in the percentage of calls that are answered within a specific time, for example, 90% of calls are answered within 30 seconds. This Grade of Service depends on the volume of calls made to the centre, the number of available agents and the time it takes to process a contact. Although working in a call centre can be chaotic, the Erlang C formula describes the relationship between the Grade of Service and these variables quite accurately.
This article explains how to use the Erlang C formula in the R language to manage a contact centre by calculating the number of agents needed to meet a given service level. This approach is extended with a Monte Carlo situation to understand the stochastic nature of the real world better.
The notion of customer centricity is being challenged by some marketing scholars. This post introduces balanced centricity to move beyond marketing dogma. Balanced centricity means that the needs of all stakeholders need to be taken into account equally.
I have been asked to facilitate a roundtable discussion on customer perception of water utilities at the Smart Utilities 2013 Conference in Melbourne. These are some thoughts I gathered to help facilitating this discussion. Water utilities don’t need to be customer focused Engineers and scientists in water companies often believe that the level of service …
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Managing water quality is dominated by chemistry. Customers’ perception of water quality is, however, mostly a psychological dimension.
Providing reticulated water services requires a high level of investment in technology to be able to provide a safe and reliable supply. As such, the industry is dominated by professionals with engineering qualifications who develop and maintain the infrastructure required to deliver core services. Engineers are often wrapped in stereotypes, highly focused on the technical …
Continue reading “The Engineering-Marketing Interface in Water Utilities”
Judging by the available publications and conference papers, the water industry is dominated by engineers, scientists and economists, with much less attention given to research into customer service. The application of marketing theories to provide value to customers of water utilities is an under-researched area given the monopoly status of service providers. The purpose of …
Continue reading “From Asset Performance to Customer Experience in Water Utilities”
Tap water supply is provided through complex engineering. Utilities are staffed by engineers who believe that customer focus is not needed. Are they right?
The first rule in customer service is that the customer is always right, but is that really the case? This post is a philosophical analysis about whether customers are always right.
Following from our earlier post on customer complaints, Ian provides five things you can do to turn a negative customer experience into a positive one.
Customer complaints are a gift to the business and managers should embrace this valuable source of information.
Service with a smile is the popular mantra in customer service. Research shows that this can also be extended to management with a smile.
Market segmentation describes customers in numbers and places them in neat categories. But numbers and charts are not the same as true understanding. It requires sociological imagination to bring the numbers to life and truly understand your customers.