First let me share the story of the cow bell (true story, I swear!).
In this call center when the cow bell rang, EVERYONE jumped to put out “the fire” which was a spike in call volume. This consisted of someone yelling “everyone on the phone”, someone else racing to the café to see if anyone could be pulled from break, and many other frantic actions. These fire drills happened several times every day and stress levels were very high. The interruptions were causing the leadership team to lose focus on important projects.
With a little bit of strategic thinking about automation, the fire drills almost instantly dropped to a couple times a week. The changes were all determined by setting up a process flow that mimicked the best practices of the fire drill, but did them in an automated way. And by automating, it was possible to step the reaction so the fire was often put out earlier with much less effort.
In this case, the first step was to change the call routing rules so the calls automatically overflowed to other queues when a threshold was reached. Then a second step was for a portion of the email response team to receive an alert to hop on the phone when another threshold was hit. With a few more steps added, it became rare for the cowbell to ring in that call center.
All of these rules were based on the same decisions that the crazed supervisors and managers were manually making each time the alarm went off, except now they were happening naturally and methodically.
That cow bell was ceremoniously buried deep in the ground!
5 Minute Task to Take Back Your Sanity: Identify you most common Fires in your call center NOW. Then write out your normal response. Now automate!
Some fires can be automated by systems as in the call routing. Other automations will just require documenting and educating your team on what steps to take. Most importantly ferret out those fires that result in a supervisor standing in your door asking “what should we do?” or the ones that send you rushing out your door because you just noticed a problem.