Single Point of Contact, Not Single Point of Resolution

After discussing the possibility of having one point of contact in the enterprise whether you have a squeaky chair or a computer problem, or a question for HR, one attendee of a recent HDI webinar asked a perfectly fair question:Do you want to have people handling health-related benefits questions or HIPAA-sensitive information who aren’t in HR? Or have desktop support going out to fix a squeaky chair?

The answer of course is no. So, how are the two things single point of contact and specialized capability simultaneously possible? The answer is that contact is not equal to resolution.

For years, service desks have used skills-based routing (i.e., getting the right question or issue to the people with the right skills to answer or resolve it). Here is a massive opportunity for intelligent automation and such applications of it as chat bots and intelligent IVRs (Interactive Voice Response systems).

Example: Chris has a squeaky chair. After the initial outgoing message, your intelligent IVR or your chatbot asks, “What can we help you with today?” If you answer, “Squeaky chair,” your call is routed to Facilities to fix or replace your chair. If you say, “I have a benefits question,” your contact is routed to HR. The point of contact was the same telephone number or chat window, but the resolution came from a different area.

Of course, this is far more involved in practice than in theory: The intelligent IVR must be informed and trained on key words, and the same is true for the bots. This requires service design, knowledge management, plus planning and execution. It requires a behavior shift from “call HR for HR and Facilities for Facilities” to “Use the service portal for everything or call this one central number.” It requires training for the level 1 people who answer the phone when end-users can’t or won’t use the IVR or chatbot and coordination of efforts across all the business units who are opting into this approach. This can and should be part of any Enterprise Service Management (ESM) journey your organization is going to undertake.

With this approach, users/customers no longer have to waste valuable time figuring out whom to contact, but this approach presupposes a large amount of background work and not an insignificant expenditure of funds.

Let’s look briefly into the three classic areas of consideration people, process, and technology’s they relate to creating this employee-friendly scenario.

  • People. Such an undertaking requires staff hours, executive buy-in, and lots of organizational change management built in from the start. This is an organizational shift, not a project.
  • Process. The business units have to align their processes so that the right things happen every time regardless of which unit is responsible, and the customer or employee experience remains consistent.
  • Technology. The service management tool set you choose (or are already using) has to meet the need without requiring either the end-users or the people providing the resolutions to jump through hoops. You will need the skills and means to configure the tool(s) so that tickets (cases) can be assigned across any connected units, and access to sensitive information is kept in accordance with applicable regulations and standards, including, but not limited to, HIPAA, PCI DSS, and GDPR.

When done right, Enterprise Service Management can have many beneficial effects on the organization, ranging from increased productivity and efficiency, to greater employee satisfaction, to greater customer satisfaction, to better business outcomes including positive impact on revenue and stock value. Having a true single point of contact service desk is just one small part of all that.

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