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Record Breaking

I’m always surprised about the extent to which call centers and their planners feel obligated to perform their tasks according to rules that place so many limits on performance.  I have a story for you that may inspire you to look beyond those limitations.  Some rules should be followed.  Other rules should be broken.  The way to know the difference is the results.  If breaking the rules produces spectacular results, you know it was OK.

During a recent vacation, my wife and I volunteer to be contestants in an evening entertainment activity called “The Couples Game”.  So did two other couples from Calgary and Mexico City. The game involved six different challenges including a quiz, celebrity impersonations, and several timed tests of how each couple worked as a team.

Something remarkable happened during one of the timed challenges.  It made me think that perhaps people on vacation might experience greater mental agility towards rules.

The game show host was Diego. He demonstrated a challenge that made use of several ping pong balls. The first couple completed the challenge in 47 seconds.  The second couple followed with a time of 58 seconds.  My wife and I had the advantage of going last.

During the second couples performance, I realized the task could be completed much faster if it was conducted in more or less in the opposite manner as had been demonstrated by Diego.  So I whispered my plan to my wife. She replied with some concerns about not following the rules.  Her concerns were valid as my strategy was a clear contradiction of the established convention. I was not sure how others would react.

We completed the challenge.  The audience cheered loudly.  Diego’s was speechless for almost a minute, jaw open, eyes bulging, pacing back and fourth with his microphone to his chest. He kept glancing at his stopwatch and shaking his head. The audience continued to cheer.  Then Diego spoke.

“I am in shock. I have run this game for five years at resorts around the world.  This game has been part of our shows for 20 years.  This has never been done before.  I have never seen this before.  Ladies and gentleman, a new world record for ping pong…  FOURTEEN SECONDS.”

The audience erupted in applause that lasted for several more minutes.

I was profoundly impressed by the mental agility of the audience.  No one thought it was cheating.  No one complained about the rules being broken. Everyone saw the performance results without getting hung up on convention.  The next day guest were calling us over to comment positively on the divergent method that drove the win.

While this story is real in every detail, it’s not really about ping pong.  It’s actually about your call centers.  Rules have been established for how you should manage your call center resources and for how you should measure success.  Its ok to break the rules when  the results are spectacular.

SCO breaks all the rules that need to be broken.  SCO won’t anchor you to the wrong staffing levels in order to create the illusion of forecast accuracy. SCO forecasts are determined with no reliance on call counts.  The second-by-second details of your demand are intricately translated into staffing requirements.  Scheduling to the SCO plan will slash wait times and catapult the productivity and profitability of your call center.

Whatever WFM you have purchased, SCO will resolve its deepest darkest limitations. I invite you and your call center to break the rules so that you can enjoy spectacular record breaking results.

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