I saw this interesting article over the weekend – Beat the Clock « MIT Sloan Management Review.It discusses the power of time, especially consumer time, as a competitive weapon and is well worth a read. It seemed to me as I looked through it that decision management had a lot to offer. There were a number of approaches discussed and the use of decision management has potential in several of them:
- Doing It for Them
Using decision management to automate decisions so that systems can act on behalf of consumers, while exposing the rules to them so they can customize or personalize this behavior, can free them up to work on something else. For instance, a system could automate the response to a delayed shipment for a customer – instead of simply sending them an email it could act on the customer’s behalf. Using analytics to see what a customer is likely to want and exposing rules so they can be explicit means they decide how the system will act but they don’t have to be present to make it happen.
- Picking Up the Pace.
Having automated systems in place to approve orders or changes, for instance, or otherwise handle consumer requests without having to refer them to a supervisor is another companies can use decision management. All too many decisions (to refund a fee, to expedite something or to allow an exception) require a customer to wait while a supervisor is consulted. Yet many of these decisions can and should be made with the information to hand – the supervisor collects no new data. Automating these decisions can let customers get done faster and improve the odds of first contact resolution.
- Ending the Wait
Companies often spend a lot of time and money on managing lines and waits. Yet automated decisioning can often keep people out of the line in the first place. Automating approvals and pricing, for instance, can avoid the need for customers to talk to someone. Using decisioning technologies that explain their decisions can reduce the number of calls from consumers who don’t understand why you did what you did.
Decision management is a great way to improve customer service by giving your customers some of their time back.