Anyone who has worked in or managed a customer service organization will quickly realize that almost all operational metrics collected include some form of “time” component.

First call resolution, call hold time, and time to first contact, are just a few examples of the many time based metrics.  When you think about it, the whole premise of customer service is based on time: we have SLAs that force us to respond within a certain amount of time regardless of the customer’s wishes, and we measure how quickly we write a knowledge document following the identification of a solution to a customer issue.

Combine this with our self-induced time pressures with today’s fast-paced society, and we get expectations for immediate responses to requests. This puts a tremendous amount of strain on customer support organizations. Add to this, the fact that information is doubling every year, and the number of repositories to try to manage this data continues to proliferate, the world of customer support becomes a chaotic place. IT is not impressed either.

So if everything related to the delivery of good customer support is related to time, then it is fair to suggest that time is the currency of customer support.

A common fallacy is that great customer support is simply a matter of doing things faster – picking up the phone faster, solving problems faster, and delivering knowledge to the knowledgebase faster. If that was all it took to deliver better customer support, everyone would be doing it and customer support would be universally great.

In reality, efficiency and effectiveness are at opposite ends of the spectrum. If you simply increase your speed you will likely degrade your effectiveness. The opposite is also true; if you focus on becoming more effective, you are likely to slow down your process. Therefore when you are looking for ways to improve your organization’s performance, you need to look at both ends of the spectrum at the same time.

At Coveo we believe that the speed of accessing information via a unified index, combined with the accuracy of the correlated and consolidated information, gives users the unique ability to influence both efficiency and effectiveness simultaneously.

Imagine being the person who spearheaded a project that delivered a whopping 67% improvement in efficiency of finding solutions to customer issues, and reduced the number of issues logged to R&D by 50% — in just three months. You can watch a short video on the IBM Netezza story here. How would efficiency improvements like this impact your business?

Stay tuned for my next blog where I will talk about the ROI of saving TIME.