Have been thinking more about the systemic structure of call centre service from a while back, and here is a diagram that integrates the four feedback loops:
By combining the feedback loops, it becomes clear that staff workload is the crux of maintaining an effective organization:
- Overworked staff are more likely to leave, losing experience (and thus effectiveness) and increasing recruiting cost
- High workload impairs service quality, driving away customers
- High workload also increases the number of calls (because problems aren't resolved first time), making the problem even worse
It's interesting that the element outside of staff workload's influence is the learning loop, in which learning and acting upon what customers have to say reduces the need for calls (this is the "lean service" perspective advocated by Stephen Parry and others). Could this be the key to unlocking the value of call centres?
I've built a working simulation model of this system with a web front-end that you will be able to play with. This will be up on this site soon.