The “A” Team


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The escalation

What do you do when things get out of hand?  When your staff are bombarded with queries that they can’t handle?

There are two lines of thought…

Management Model 1:

First split your staff into two pools, the experienced people who know what they are doing and the less so (who presumably don’t)

Put your less experienced staff (the B team) at the front line where they can deal with — nearly all  — customer issues.

If they find an issue that they can’t deal with get them to escalate it to the more capable “A team”.

This model is good because…

  • There is a clear escalation path
  • You can pay people for their experience. A rate versus B rate
  • You don’t have to train everybody to do everything, so saving money
  • You can seat your “A team” in a back office so they don’t get distracted by customers
  • You can outsource the “B team” to somewhere cheap

Management Model 2:

Mix your highest performing most knowledgable people up with your less capable ones.  Put them all at the front line so they all deal with all the customer issues.

This model is good because…

  • When an new staff member has a problem they don’t know how to deal with, one of their more experienced colleagues can help out and they will learn how to solve it next time
  • Customers get their problems resolved and one call doesn’t become two (or 3)
  • If you have more difficult queries than you can deal with it forces managers to get rid of the really nasty problems at source rather than hiding them in an escalation team

Which would you rather have?

Everybody in the A team — expensive but knowledgable — or a huge (but cheap) B team that is neither?

If you think eduction is expensive try ignorance ~ Derek Bok

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Mr T Fool

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Image by Space Dust Design

Republished with author's permission from original post.

James Lawther
James Lawther is a middle-aged middle manager. To reach this highly elevated position he has worked for many organisations, from supermarkets to tax collectors and has had multiple roles from running a night shift to doing operational research. He gets upset by operations that don't work and mildly apoplectic about poor customer service.


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