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How greater flow can increase efficiency in your business’ customer service

Water is powerful not because of its composition, but rather because of its flow.  Flow is so powerful, that it has been adopted as an approach to Lean Thinking.  The lean business process approach focuses on improving the “flow” or smoothness of work, thereby reducing waste in the system. Ultimately, lean thinking increases flow and transparency within the workplace.

“Water is powerful. It can wash away earth, put out fire, and even destroy iron.” – Arthur Golden

What is Flow?

One of the goals of Lean Thinking is to reduce the muda, or unevenness, in a system. Unevenness occurs when steps do not flow properly into each other, which creates delays and inefficiency. By eliminating these delays, unevenness is reduced, and flow is created in its place. In the customer service department of any organization, muda is bound to exist, as inbound calls from customers may be spread between customer service representatives (CSRs) in an uneven matter.

Transparency in serving customers

We’ve all been there, waiting in line at a store when one cashier is working tirelessly, while 3 other people are standing around. There’s nothing worse than having one employee managing 80% of customer contact, and someone else managing 20%.  That’s not fair to either party.  This single queue, however, allows for all work to be as evenly distributed between employees as possible, creating a better working environment, where every employee is accountable for their work.

A single queue consists of a line of customers, who are automatically assigned to CSRs, based on a “First Come, First Served” basis, also known as “First In, First Out” (FIFO).  Queuing psychologists have suggested that the biggest issue customers have with queues is not actually having to wait in line, but perceived unfairness when others show up later, but get served first.  This can be remedied among your Customer Service Representatives with an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, a technology that will answer your calls and direct customers to the correct CSRs, reducing the inefficiency created by transferring calls, CSRs picking up calls not meant for them, and simple tasks that could have simply been handled automatically.

A properly set up IVR can notify customers of expected wait times, and their place in line, so they know that no one is going to show up after them and be served first, creating not only greater efficiency but also the perception of fairness amongst your customers.

Implementing an IVR and a single queue can be a large undertaking for your organization; our experienced implementation-focused consultants will be with you every step of the way to make sure that the transition is seamless. If you’re looking to create more flow and transparency in your organization, contact us at [email protected] to see how we can help.


Questions? Contact Us

If you want to learn how to instill a culture of Continuous Improvement within your organization contact us at Propel Solutions today. We specialize in creating high performing teams and have a proven track record of powerful results.

Propel Solutions 

  • 📍 789 W. Pender Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 📞  604-346-5185
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