Communication today

Our contributing author Dr. Klaus-Ulrich Moeller calls for a ”Responsibility matrix” for UCC solutions.

Everyone has experienced it: A technical malfunction occurs – be it in telephony, the DSL connection or both – and a person in charge must be brought on the line as quickly as possible. The stupid thing is:

In the new communicative glamor world of providers, network operators, telephone and tariff providers, it is becoming increasingly difficult to identify a person in charge at all.

In this complex network of interlocking functions, it is impossible to identify where the fault lies. In June, the author of this article had to deal with four different providers during a breakdown of their DSL connection:

Telekom, GMX, 1&1, and the house company that is configuring the entire system here via the router – although it should be said explicitly that the names are not important at all. Neither is it a question of tracing the 50 or so telephone calls that had to be made; nor of complaining about the endless queues and call forwarding triggered by modern UC systems in communications; nor of complaining that responsibilities were shifted back and forth for 20 days and nor of charging the euro, which was used to procure new home appliances on the advice of the ”experts”, which were later to be replaced.

What is responsibility?

The question here is how to redefine the term ”responsibility” in the new world of networked communication. Who is responsible for anything anymore? Not in the legal sense, but in the interest of the customer. This term has gone completely down the drain. In the meantime, all ”call center” employees are well trained when it comes to friendliness and polite customer approach. ”Thank you for waiting so long” is an integral part of every conversation. Only rarely does someone interrupt me, the conversation of polite -there is only one thing these employees cannot do: Solve my problem or take responsibility for it. With each of the some 6 redirects per call, the responsibility is also redirected. UCC leads to shorter waiting times, but I will never reach the same employee again. If you call again, the whole procedure starts all over again: Customer number, date of birth, what’s the issue? ”Wait, I’ll just have a look at your data here” – you want to call out to him desperately and increasingly annoyed: This data has already been looked at in the last half hour by 6 others, but nobody was able to help me”.

Establishing a structure of responsibility

Such situations take place hundreds of times a day. Obviously, a first step would be to underpin the communication structure (let’s call it the workflow) in the call centers of large companies with a ”responsibility structure”. The UCC functionalities of accessibility, forwarding, absence and presence displays, the availability of all phone numbers possible today, are not ”per se” helpful, they annoy the end customer in many cases and increasingly. The customer does not want to be addressed six times politely, but rather wants to have a person who can take care of their problem with just one single redirect, ho will then remain their contact person, who, as we have said, feels responsible and personally controls further communication with the customer.

If we manage to better underpin the technological possibilities of UCC – not only for the telecommunications providers themselves, but also for the larger companies – with a clear ”responsibility matrix” instead of a ”reachability matrix”, we would have already gained a lot for contact with the customer.

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