Six Sigma is a methodology that has brought significant improvements to many companies in a variety of sectors. And it looks like we’re barely scratching the surface of what’s possible when Six Sigma is applied correctly. Customer service is an area that’s notoriously difficult for companies to get right.
Even when you’re prepared to invest a lot of resources into your customer service, that’s still not a guarantee that you’re going to see good results. You also have to apply a controlled approach to optimizing your performance and service quality. That’s where Six Sigma comes in – let’s have a look at what it can do for you in this regard, and how to put it to proper use.
Assessing Your Current Situation and Goals
In order to utilize Six Sigma in your customer service setup, you must start by analyzing your current situation. Six Sigma works with measurable metrics, and the more of those you can gather, the better results you can expect. Try to gather as much information as you can about your operations.
How many customers you’re servicing in a given period, hours with heavy load, satisfaction rates, call duration, and anything else that might be relevant. All of those details will help you build a picture with which you can objectively measure the current performance of your customer service. This will help you figure out which areas need to be addressed with a higher priority.
With the help of Six Sigma, you can then start addressing issues that require urgent attention. Customer service problems tend to be concentrated in a few specific areas – like response time and service quality – and you will probably want to start with those. Any improvements you make should be quantifiable. That is, you should be able to measure their impact in an objective manner. This will help you ensure that you’re moving in the right direction. It will be a particularly important point when it comes to addressing waste. Six Sigma puts a strong emphasis on that, and it’s something that requires a lot of concrete data in order to work.
Measuring Results and Iterating
After you’re done implementing your changes, you should measure how they impact your operations. Some of the modifications you’ve made may not play out exactly as you intended, and they might actually reduce your productivity in some cases. This makes it important to pay attention to metrics, and make adjustments as needed. Don’t expect everything to be perfect from the first iteration. You’ll likely need to revise your implementation a few times before it works correctly.
If you play your cards right, Six Sigma can result in noticeable improvements to your customer service. It will take some time for the changes to start registering, especially if you’re dealing with a larger operation that generates more data. But once those improvements have materialized, their impact will be permanent. And you’ll have a lot of valuable data to work with that can help you improve things even further by iterating on your current situation.
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I have always believed that Six Sigma is a powerful tool that could be incorporated in all aspects of a company. This article does a great job displaying that. Implementing and striving for continuous improvement are small thing that go along way.