Solving the “Swivel Chair” Problem in Customer Service

The “swivel chair” concept is a process whereby a worker manually enters the same data into multiple systems. When it comes to modern customer service, this describes the complex environment that most teams use to serve customers. Whether it’s pushing the right info into one system or pulling it from another, most Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) essentially act as amateur air traffic controllers with all the monitors and systems they operate and manage.

For example, one email inquiry might first hit a CSR or team mailbox in Outlook, have a case created in the CRM, the order entered into the ERP, and follow-up inquiries investigated in the archive solution. Many of these systems are not interconnected which causes teams to operate in their own unique silos.

Often, these silos involve two totally different teams (shared services vs. customer care), perhaps located in a different geography or time zone, with various user permissions or system visibility. For one medical device supplier, an inquiry regarding a billing mistake hits three different systems, two hemispheres, and up to five days to resolve.

So What?

Good question. These antiquated processes often lead to delays for your customers which ultimately impact the net promoter score and overall customer experience — directly impacting revenue and overall profitability!

For many manufacturers and distributors, the tiptop of the sales funnel or customer experience strategy resides in how customer service teams handle customer inquiries, RFQs/RFPs, and sales orders.

One industrial manufacturer decided to bring their omni-channel order management and inbound inquiries all into Esker’s cloud platform. Their overarching strategy was to optimise sales through work/team enablement. This is a strategy to create pods of highly specialised teams that use analytics and intelligent routing to centralise the work as opposed to letting RFQs slip through the cracks in an individual’s mailbox.

By leveraging a fully integrated order-to-cash platform, companies are able to break down the silos in their business, creating a new global template for how teams should operate. Whether it all lives in one system or you use a platform to fill in gaps and better connect your core systems, your bottom line and customers feel the greatest impact!

What’s in it for You?

With the increased challenges due to global supply chain shortages, companies are focusing on protecting margin and creating a more resilient supply chain. The work/team strategy for example is designed to:

  • Increase staff productivity by automating the tedious busy work and communication between systems
  • Meet demand fluctuations and lighten the load of staff by providing visibility of the entire organisational workload across multiple work teams
  • Improved EBITDA through lowering SG&A overhead
  • Faster OTIFNE rates through eliminating manual entry and tracking team SLAs
  • Ability to perform forensics on a root-cause analysis through having all customer communication and internal conversations logged with the order/inquiry
  • Elimination of business silos through internal conversations functionality easily allowing various departments to collaborate

One size doesn’t fit all, and your organisation or marketplace likely has unique needs and nuances. For example, one large healthcare company has automated its order management process but has certain order types that are not catalogued and need to be reviewed and processed by an experienced work team. Find yourself a platform you can grow into that has the flexibility to be customised to your unique requirements.

After all, aren’t your customers and bottom line worth it?

Cowritten by Nick Carpenter, Business Development Manager and John Kokott, Business Development Manager