Ed Shepherdson
SVP, Enterprise Solutions

Have you ever sat down at your computer in the evening to do a little bit of research on the internet for some topic that is of interest to you, and then the next thing you know it is 1am in the morning?   You’re astonished that you spent that much time searching, and you may or may not have found the information you were looking for.   Searching for information, especially on the internet, puts many of us into a trance of hitting the next link thinking maybe the answer is there.   One topic leads to another, so on and so on.   I know you have all been there.

Everyday our workforce goes to the office to perform their job as effectively and efficiently as possible, however for many especially customer service oriented roles the knowledge they need to access is not readily available so they spend time “ALT-TABBING” between applications or searching on the internet to find the answer.    Every time a person has to context switch or move between systems to find information to solve their problem it is an opportunity for the distraction demon to pull them into an alternate direction.   Each time this occurs there is a little piece of time that gets chewed up never to return again.  In time sensitive organizations like customer service these little chunks of times can add up very quickly.

In my last blog post, I talked about the Currency of Customer Service being “Time.” Let’s walk through a basic example that supports this claim.

Suppose you have 50 people in your support organization and in an 8 hour shift they lose 10 minutes of time each day searching or flipping between applications for information. Simple math can calculate that 50 times 10 = 500 minutes in one day, or a total of 8 hours across your entire support team. Now let’s say the fully loaded cost (including salary, benefits, overhead, etc) for a good technical analyst is $100k – this equates to about $48 / hour in costs to your organization.    Therefore, since 500 minutes equates to 8.3 hours, we could calculate that we just lost approximately $400 for that day (or an entire shift for one support agent!) and $95K for a full year.   That is almost the annual cost of 1 full headcount!

Did you realize that .02% of your agents daily time could cost you that much?  Do you know how much time your agents spend searching or “ALT TABBING”?    In a Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) report, their membership of support professionals report that only 37% of agents feel they have access to the knowledge they need to answer questions.  This same group said they typically flip between an average of 12 applications to do their job.  Hmmm….I wonder how much time is spent toggling between applications, and what the cost is to the organization?

It sounds so simple and it really is!  That is why I believe wasted time looking for information to many companies, is just assumed as a cost of doing business. And yet, saving time looking for information in support organizations, is just the tip of the iceberg.  Being able to access to the right knowledge and customer information quickly, reduces the time spent searching and flipping through applications, which sure it saves TIME, but think of all the other benefits that time savings can translate into, including improvements in customer satisfaction, and much more.

In my next blog post, I’ll discuss the many benefits that having anywhere, anytime access to customer information, regardless of where it’s stored, can have on support organizations. Sure, saving time is critical, and at the core of customer support teams, but the greater affect that saving time can have across the department can have dramatic impacts on customer satisfaction levels, and the bottom line.

About Ed Shepherdson

As the Senior Vice President of Enterprise Solutions, Ed Shepherdson oversees Coveo’s Knowledge 360 Solutions, with a strong focus on the company’s Knowledge 360 Solutions for Customer Service. Mr. Shepherdson brings 30 years of experience in the technology industry to his role with Coveo. Prior to joining Coveo, he spent 18 years at Cognos, now an IBM company, where he most recently served as Vice President of Global Customer Support. While at Cognos, Mr. Shepherdson also held a variety of senior positions in the company’s Research and Development and Applications Development teams. Mr. Shepherdson has also served as an Advisory Board member in several industry associations, including the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) and Service Strategies Corporation, which sets the standards for the Technology Services and Support Industry. Mr. Shepherdson holds a Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership and completed the Ivey Executive Program at the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University. Outside of work, he is an avid golfer, enjoys watching Jr. hockey and spending time with his wife, son and daughter.

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