The concept of ‘failure demand’, and its relevance to contact centres

Every organisation will have received complaints from customers, and they’re of course seen as being problematic. 

However, customer complaints are also invaluable to businesses given the scope they provide for organisations to pinpoint where they may presently be going wrong, and what they might need to do in order to prevent a current customer from becoming a former customer. 

Great numbers of businesses are still in the habit of treating customer complaints on a case-by-case basis, while making little effort to formally categorise and structure those complaints. In such situations, it is also often the case that any relevant and insightful findings are not communicated in an actionable way to a relevant department.

All of this hardly augurs well for any organisation that professes to be serious about maintaining or achieving the highest possible standards of customer service. 

So, how might your own organisation go about changing this, and how is the concept of “failure demand” relevant to the contact centre? 

The right contact centre analytics can make a big difference in improving customer service 

When it comes to call centre analytics, one of the most relevant forms might well be speech analytics, which enables businesses to quantify the reasons why customers complain. 

Speech analytics, then, can be greatly helpful to organisations’ efforts to single out the most important factors, at the same time as assessing trends and spikes, and providing hard recommendations arising from every call taken. 

Contact centres can draw upon real-time analytics in order to track words and phrases that are associated with complaints, such as “manager”, “supervisor”, “complain”, and “unhappy”. This, in turn, might allow for escalation to a supervisor, or for an agent to receive a screen pop-up providing them with a revised script or suggestions on how to deal with the call. 

Even emotion detection and sentiment analysis can play powerful roles, including as means of identifying unhappy or unwavering customers within a call. Supervisors can then be updated with such information, so that they can make their own decisions on whether to provide the agent with certain advice in response, or even to intervene more directly. 

Are you taking the right steps to manage the impacts of “failure demand” within your organisation? 

The term “failure demand” has been used in reference to calls that are made to a contact centre as a result of the given organisation’s failure to do something right for the customer. 

Such a failure to do something – for example, to call the customer back, or to send the customer something important – leads to the customer making a further demand on the system. This translates into extra work for the business to do, as a result of its earlier failure. 

An example of such “failure demand” could be the customer’s emails going unanswered, thereby leading the customer to make a call to the organisation – a phenomenon known as “first-stage” failure demand. But if the customer’s email is then answered at a later stage and this turns out to have been unnecessary because of the customer having already received an answer or gone elsewhere, this can be considered an example of “second-stage” failure demand. 

One of the problems with such redundant work, is the knock-on effect it has on other, still-live messages in the email queue. So, you can probably begin to see how easily a vicious circle of failure demand can be created. 

The good news is that there are ways of tackling the pressures that failure demand can exert on an organisation. By redesigning and restructuring the way in which work flows around your organisation, treating the contact centre as being at the heart of the organisation instead of a separate silo, you can help to minimise unnecessary contacts. This, in turn, can be key to improving the service the typical customer receives from the entire company, and not just from the call centre. 

Access invaluable insights from the most recent call centre research 

The above is just a sampling of the insights that our latest published contact centre and customer service research can provide here at ContactBabel. So, please don’t hesitate to click through today to discover the latest reports available to be downloaded for free.