Archives for November 2012

The Multi-Tasking Fallacy

I used to make sweets in a factory for a living.  We obsessed about “set up time”.  The amount of time it takes to switch from one product to another.  Just think about it for a second, every time we switched from making a product with nuts to one without, maybe Snickers to Mars bars […]

The Birth of the Sacred Cow

Legend has it that the tie that I wore to work this morning started life hundreds of years ago as a neck cloth that was “easily changed to minimise the soiling of a doublet.” Or, to put it in rather less grand terms, a bib. From function to fashion 400 years ago, Croatian mercenaries fighting […]

Are You Susceptible to Suggestion?

How to get elected How would you like to be the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom? One perfectly legitimate move you could take is to change your name to Adam Abbott. In the UK ballot papers are presented in alphabetical order, so with a name like that you would be at the top […]

Never Take Responsibility

This is a guest post by Robby Slaughter We all want engaged employees who are highly productive, efficient and upbeat at work. The challenge is that in so many organizations, workplace morale is mediocre at best. We work in cultures where people do the minimum because they don’t see any reason to put in more […]

What Can Your Mother Teach You About Incentives?

In 2003 the economist Anton Suvorov developed the “principal agent theory”.  He investigated the way agents (think employees or children) react to the interventions of principals (think bosses or parents).  He looked at the way rewards and bonuses act.  All very clever and insightful stuff. I was discussing it with my mother.  She smiled at […]

Call Centre Metrics the Zappos Way

This is a guest post by Ashley Furness Zappos is renowned worldwide as a standout performer in customer service, partially for the e-retailer’s unique approach to customer performance and productivity management. Zappos invests in its call centres, seeing them  not as cost, but as an opportunity to market. Recently, I sat down with the company’s […]

Call Centre Forecasts: Don’t Waste Your Time

Every call centre has them; bad days. Call volumes are higher than expected and staff don’t show up.  The result is a mile long queue of frustrated customers; a group of deeply fed up agents and a set of supervisors running around futilely trying to “manage” the situation. A bad day. The post-mortem If the […]