The quality of customer service, customer experience and office design – is there a connection?

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Holiday Extras - Contact centre

Here’s some insights and research that I’d like you to consider:

One, the world is full of different types of people, both introverts and extroverts. According to Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, at least a third of the world’s population are more introvert than extrovert, and some of the world’s great artists, leaders, inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs are introverts too.

Two, here’s some insights about typical introvert behaviour:

What is introversion

Characteristics of introverts

These images come from an interesting slideshow, infographic and article that you can find here. They made me think that many modern workplaces and cultures can tend to work better for extroverts rather than introverts. Given that, I wonder how much we ‘lose’ in terms of performance, engagement, insight etc if you are introvert in one of those environments.

Three, a recent article in The Economist reported that Gensler, a design firm, through it’s research has uncovered some interesting insights about the impact of office design on performance, productivity, innovation and collaboration. Over the last five years, they have asked more than 90,000 people in 155 companies across ten different sectors for their thoughts on modern office design and, in particular, open-plan office design. They found that:

  • Many workers find modern offices and, in particular, open plan offices difficult places to concentrate and focus due to general office noise (phones, conversations, computers etc);
  • They also say that open plan design can work against collaboration and open communication because many of them don’t want to disturb others or want their conversations to be heard;
  • Finally, to quote Gensler, they found that “The ….unexpected revelation is that the most significant factor in workplace effectiveness is not collaboration, it’s individual focus work. And we also found that focus is also the workplace environment’s least effectively supported activity.”

Now, given the focus of this blog is to explore how best to improve customer service and customer experience, I think the the insights and research above raise a number of interesting questions:

  1. What type of people are currently being employed in customer service roles?
  2. What are the best type of people for customer service roles? Are they introverts or extroverts?
  3. Are current customer service environments, particularly contact centres, many of which are open-plan and noisy environments, conducive to focus and performance?
  4. Could the cost of moving to a quieter way of working (this could involve office re-design or increased use of remote working) be offset with increases in performance, attention to detail and the solving of customers problems?

I’m not sure there are definitive answers to these questions but I thought they deserved asking.

What do you think. I’d appreciate your thoughts on this.

Thanks to Holidayextras for the image.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.

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