4 benefits of creating redundancy in customer services

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In order to perform the ever-necessary balancing act between costs and service, it becomes necessary to evaluate the most efficient practices to ensure the company is creating maximum customer satisfaction with minimal cost impact. One of the best ways to do that is to create redundancy within the organization to ensure that no customer needs “fall through the cracks”.

Here are four benefits of creating redundancy:

Increased efficiency. By having redundant systems in place, you can typically accomplish more with less, whether that includes resources or people. How is this possible, seeing that a redundant system is a whole other “shell” or layer around an existing process?

The key to effective redundant systems is by creating a natural overlap in existing systems. By connecting these overlaps, the redundant system is created.

For example, perhaps you need a staffing cycle that requires two staff members to operate a contact center for 12 or more hours. With only three existing staff members, you can’t afford to hire a fourth person to cover the extra layer. In spreading out three 8-hours shifts and overlapping them by 3 to 4 hours at peak times as needed, a semi-redundant layer is created with the existing personnel. While schedule changes may be in order for individual personnel, everyone remains gainfully employed without being overworked. Even if one employee is occupied at a peak time, a second one is in place to pick up any additional customer needs.

Increased consistency. The reason that franchises typically perform so well is that they provide a consistent experience no matter which store customers frequent. When you go to a McDonald’s restaurant, you always know what the burger and fries will taste like. When you visit Starbucks, you know you can get a drink made the way you like it, probably sit in a comfy chair and listen to some relaxing music while you read the paper or visit with friends. It’s a consistent experience. And customers like consistency because consistency provides a sense of security and trust. The more consistency you can build into your systems, the more trust you build with your customers.

Increased accuracy and professionalism. Have you ever composed an e-mail, and then sent it off without having the luxury of re-editing key phrases? When you receive a reply, you look back over the quoted text and say, “what was I thinking?”

I always find I have a better outlook and a more balanced perspective when I can put appropriate time and thought into planning and actions. Just like writing a report in grade school, it always helps to have several redundant drafts that “weed out” any inconsistencies or unneeded actions in your systems and processes. This way, you can always be presenting the most accurate and most professional face to your customers.

Increased availability. Your customers want to be able to get a hold of you when it’s convenient for them, not for you. And while you may not be able to have staff around-the-clock, it does help to have appropriate resources available at any time of day. With all the technology available to us in this day and age, there is no reason customers should not be able to have access to company information, whether it’s at night (online) or with live people during the day.

Depending on the needs of your niche market, you need to provide company availability to your customers in order to increase their level of satisfaction. There are few things more irritating than not being able to get competent information when you want it, or when you need it. How you encompass their needs will be unique to your industry and market, but the universal fact remains that you need to be accessible, and redundant communication systems help fill that void.

Creating redundancy requires a holistic approach to what it is you’re trying to accomplish with your customers throughout their experience with your company. By thoughtfully evaluating the different touch points they have in your processes, you will be helping to build confidence through professionalism, accessibility and consistency.

Just for fun…

“Basically my wife was immature. I’d be at home in my bath and she’d come in and sink my boats.” – Woody Allen

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve Martorano
Steve has been on the front lines with customers for over 25 years. He is currently Director of Customer Services for Polygon Northwest, a real estate developer in both the Seattle and Portland markets. Steve is also the creator of ThinkCustomerSatisfaction.com, an online resource designed to provide insights and training to customer professionals across many industries.

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