We have all heard the saying to think outside the box. It gets thrown around a lot. Instead of the same-old, same-old phrase thinking outside the box – I like to call it thinking outside the decision, and is directed more towards decision makers in any company or organization.
What does it mean – just as it sounds thinking outside the decision.
Too often managers are quick to make a decision and don’t approach it with enough thought and may quickly decide that path to take. The problem is if the decision will impact multiple groups or departments, the decision might not be correct. Thinking outside the decision simply means to spend a little more time on your thought process to ensure that the decision is the right decision to be made.
Here is a scenario:
You are the Manager of a call center, limited resources means that you can’t handle every request and you need to prioritize requests but first priority is always meeting your SLA (i.e., customer expectations or answering those damn calls). You are approached by the Account Manager of one of your largest accounts (they pay the bills, and feed your children and put the roof over your head … you get the picture) and are asked to assist with some customer service (as the Account Manager has phrased it).
You are a 24x7x365 call center and you run three shifts but are very tight because you only have 15-agents. Your center takes in 8-9,000 calls per month and does make outbound calls but primarily to follow-up. You are not a revenue center – so customer service does just that, no selling or upselling (and you don’t plan to get into that business).
The Account Manager along with the VP of Sales are running a campaign to increase the number of individual retail sites the merchant operates. Most of the process has been taken care of, the new sites are set-up in your systems but they are not selling anything and upon closer inspection it’s been determined that 80% of the new locations haven’t even called in to have their accounts activated.
The project is for customer service to call the locations (there could be up to 300 locations to call, across the country and in different time zones), walk them through the account activation process and provide some basic training.
The Sales team figures that by doing this you could get up to 75% of the locations (75% of 80%) selling product and generating sales which adds to the companies bottom line (and to the Account Managers and VP’s bonus).
What do you do?
I’ll answer what I would do – but would love to hear your solution and why you went about deciding what you did. I’ll post my solution shortly after.