Author: Zach Taylor

Date: September 5, 2019

Vaunted NASA engineer Gene Krantz, who directed the Apollo and Gemini space missions, was credited with coining the phrase “failure is not an option” in regards to solving the challenge of getting the Apollo 13 astronauts back to Earth safely. Is the same true for contact centers?

Too Many Options Can Lead to Errors

Researchers recently showed the effects of having too many choices. Shoppers at an upscale market were offered 24 types of specialty jams, complete with free samples. About 3 percent of people who tried a jam sample, also purchased a full-size jar. Then, they cut back on choices and set up a table offering only six jams. About the same number of people tasted the jam, but of this group, 30 percent purchased a jar. Sales increased tenfold by offering less choices.

Every year, in the United States, 7,000 to 9,000 people die as a result of a medication error while thousands experience harmful reaction related to a medication. The total cost of looking after patients with medication-related errors exceeds $40 billion each year. Medication errors are most common at the ordering or prescribing stage. Typical errors include the healthcare provider writing the wrong medication, wrong route or dose, or the wrong frequency.

Nearly 75% of medication errors have been attributed to distractions. On average, it takes at least ten years for a new compound to complete the journey from initial discovery to the marketplace, with clinical trials alone taking six to seven years on average. The average cost to research and develop each successful drug is estimated to be $2.6 billion.

Confused, but at a Higher Level?

The challenge is how to deal with what keeps us from being overwhelmed and unable to focus on the real problem or concern that is before us. The more balls we have in the air, the more likely it is that they will eventually hit the ground.

Like the medication industry, contact centers offer consumers unlimited choices on how to connect, and numerous ways to choose their destination in the hopes they’ve covered all bases. Contact centers whether cloud or on-premises, have hundreds of routing permutations, matches and strategies to work with. Every new channel portends to replace an existing one – but in reality customers are often frustrated and confused with having too many options, which leads to a fragmented customer experience.

If highly-skilled, highly-willed MD’s are making life-changing errors, chances are high that a distracted contact center organization is doing the same on an operational, customer interaction, and business impact level.

The Customers’ Best Choice May be “Less Choice”

The jam research at the upscale market proved that confidence and satisfaction in our decisions is directly linked to our beliefs about them. Amazingly, the people who were given less choice also said the jam they purchased tasted better – the lack of choices led to happier customers.

So What?

Instead of presenting customers with rising complexity for receiving service through self-service options, prompts, menus and other forms of self-directed engagement – the future of service will be based on a singular, powerful question – “How may we help you?”

The cloud, data analytics, and artificial intelligence will play a key role in achieving this. The complexity of engaging will shift away from the customer, to a host of Intelligent action agents that will seek out the best resource, human or artificial on behalf of the customer.

Don’t let your contact center fall into the complexity trap. Less choice may the best choice.

Used with permission from Cisco.