On the hunt for Failure Demand

There is a silent beast lurking in your contact centre yet your customers and people are always talking about it.

It lurks behind the fog of call reasons and wrap codes but if you look and listen carefully you’ll see it.

The name of the beast is FAILURE DEMAND and it’s stopping you and your team from delivering amazing customer experiences. 

It’s the opposite is VALUE DEMAND, the type of interactions you want to be having, where you add value and deliver on your customer promise.

Failure Demand is a scary beast because your customer is forced to contact you when they shouldn’t need to and distracts them from getting on with their day. 

Failure Demand is broken processes, hand offs that get lost or simply an oversight in the customer journey that actually builds in a failure (ever had the option to choose ‘status update’ in an IVR, that’s Failure Demand).

The problem with seeing Failure Demand is the fog. 

The fog comes from looking at the outcome of the interaction rather than the reason FOR the interaction. 

Here’s a really simple example: 

I contact my bank / power / phone provider because my latest statement has not arrived. The consultant would probably codify this as a ‘statement enquiry’. It’s not clear whether this is good or bad. 

This is in now in the fog where the Failure Demand beast lurks. 

The really sinister part of the Failure Demand beast is what happens next.

We codify the reason and then go ahead and build it into our forecasts which inevitably go up month after month, year after year even though we have an increasingly automated and digitised service landscape. I have seen Failure Demand as high as 30% of all interactions. Costs go up.

Then it gets worse, your people have an ever increasing number of more challenging interactions to solve and unhappy customers to placate. They get frustrated and lose confidence in the systems and processes and their leaders ability to support them. Engagement goes down. 

This all converges on Leaders who now have CSAT, engagement and cost issues to resolve. 

Unfortunately we aren’t given the language or the tools to deal with this issue when we start our contact centre careers, either as Consultants or Leaders (until now). 

The conventional management style that has prevailed has meant we have just ‘grown up’ managing around this beast looking at outcomes not root causes. This was the case for me. 

But there is another way and this is where an agile contact centre is different.

Talking about Failure Demand is common place because everyone knows what it is and how to spot it. Not only that, the people that work in an agile contact centre are empowered to take ownership over fixing Failure Demand and are supported with the tools to remove it by Brave Leaders who don’t rest until its fixed.

Fixing Failure Demand has many benefits. 

  • The recent Royal Commission into Banking made specific reference to products not working as advertised - these failures have had an impact on people’s quality of life. Fixing failures means happier customers who are loyal and talk about your brand with their friends and family.

  • Engaged teams who are more present, stay longer and go the extra mile because they have more meaning in their work work not grinding service recovery day after day. 

  • Leaders… imagine what you could do with the capacity, space, time that having 5% fewer interactions would give you

I’m ready to hunt down the beast, are you?

Contact Sean on 1300 524 457