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The 8 Forms of Wasted Effort in a Contact Center

Contact center leaders, it's time to get out those scissors and cut non-value-added activities to drive continuous improvement. If you can eliminate waste, you will ensure that only value-added work remains, which will in turn increase capacity and allow you to increase the strategic value of your contact center.

When talking about continuous improvement, it is essential to talk about waste. Waste is defined as anything that does not provide value to the customer. You could also think about waste as an obstacle that gets in the way of delivering value to customers. Another way to look at it is that waste is any task that unnecessarily annoys your team.

Removing waste can be liberating and fun. Involving others, including your team, to find ways to eliminate waste will also help establish more productive processes, products, and experiences. Doing so will also help improve employee engagement, as it will further link performance to the purpose for everyone involved.

Here are eight common forms of wasted effort in a contact center setting:

Unnecessary or excessive movement by people within the workspace

  • Searching for files on a computer
  • Unnecessary button clicks
  • Walking to and from a printer
  • Moving from meeting room to meeting room

Producing more of something than is required or before it is needed

  • Producing reports that no one uses
  • Emailing or replying to everyone
  • Making extra copies, just in case
  • Over-staffing resources beyond what's needed

Doing more work than necessary, potentially at a higher quality or quantity than required

  • Collecting unused information or data
  • Excessive reporting
  • Using multiple systems to accomplish the same tasks
  • Multiple signatures and signoffs

Wasted time spent waiting for the next step in a process

  • Waiting on approvals or signatures
  • Attendees being late to meetings
  • System delays or slowness
  • Flow of information slowdowns

Mistakes, errors, or efforts caused by incorrect information or quality concerns that need to be reworked

  • Defective products
  • Missing or incorrect information
  • Design errors
  • Data entry mistakes

Having excess products or materials that are not being processed or used by the customer

  • Excessive supplies
  • Equipment, files, and resources that are piled up
  • Excessive emails in someone's inbox
  • More content than necessary on a webpage

Unnecessary movement of products, materials, or information

  • Moving items in and out of storage
  • Multiple approval handoffs
  • Poorly designed layouts, requiring people and resources to move more than necessary
  • Excessive document filing

Not using the talent of employees, team, or the organization to the fullest

  • Not providing professional development
  • Not aligning tasks with strengths
  • Limited empowerment, authority, or responsibility
  • Failing to solicit feedback or ideas from members who do the work

Look at your personal and professional world to see various types of waste. I guarantee you that once you better understand and recognize the eight forms of waste, you will start to see examples everywhere. Next, work to determine the root causes of waste and eliminate them. Doing so will not only make you, your team, and contact center more productive and useful, but it will also help to drive a better customer experience.

With time freed up, your contact center team can focus on increasing their strategic value to the organization through tackling initiatives that provide higher value.