Design Thinking Increases Productivity
As we prep for next week’s Call Center Week, I think it’s the perfect time to highlight one of our most remarkable call center customer success stories. While we can’t name the customer (aren’t NDAs the worst?), their story is great inspiration for any call center looking to become more productive. They increased their call center reps’ productivity 750% by using a process called design thinking.
What is design thinking?
If you boil it down, design thinking is all about creative problem solving. Using a process developed by Stanford students, businesses of all kinds are using design thinking to work smarter.
“Just as business intelligence can be the enabler for faster, better-informed decisions, design thinking can be the driver for better-designed solutions for products and services,” Kaan Turnali, global senior director of Enterprise Analytics at SAP.
There are several different ways to conduct design thinking, and the one I’m about to share with you has three steps:
1. Define the problem and form insights
Before you ever start designing your solution, it’s critical to clearly define the problem. If you want your call center reps to be more productive, you need to figure out what’s getting in the way. You might think you already know, but the best way to uncover the real problem is to immerse yourself in your user’s world.
During this stage of the process, observe without interfering. If you see the user do something that surprises you, channel your inner 5-year-old and ask “why?” over and over until you truly understand. You might think you know everything there is to know about how your process works, but there’s always more to discover.
In the case of our call center customer mentioned above, their problem was rooted in a poor user interface that took 15 minutes for reps to log a single call. But your call center might have other problems slowing your reps down—like noisy coworkers, distractions from social media, or unproductive meetings.
2. Frame opportunities and brainstorm ideas
At this point, it’s easy to go into “problem-solver” mode. But no matter how obvious the solution seems, it’s important to slow down and explore different angles and ideas.
At Skuid, we do this through team brainstorming activities, where we spend five minutes writing ideas—no matter how strange—on sticky notes. Some of the ideas we come up with are down-right silly, but those oddball ideas can lead us to pretty creative solutions.
For our call center customer, the solution was a redesigned user interface that better fit their user needs. Using the information they gathered in their user research, they mapped out a data entry process that perfectly mirrors how their reps work.
3. Implement and experiment
It’s finally time for the rubber to meet the road. Implement your plan and see if you get the results you were expecting. See how your reps react to the changes and tweak your direction if it isn’t quite working. Often it takes trial and error to perfect the idea you came up with, but it’s well worth the effort.
After launching their new application, our call center customer listened to their reps’ feedback and changed the design. They were able to make these changes on the fly with Skuid’s drag-and-drop tools. And the results speak for themselves. Before implementing the new system, the average rep made 8,000 calls per year. With the new redesigned system, the average rep can make 60,000 calls per year—a 750% increase.