Methodology/approach: The authors developed a checklist of best practices for call centers from the literature. These checklists were discussed with call center staff and their managers and compared to their standard operating procedures and measurement/staff evaluation systems. All participants acknowledged that this was an experiment and the results could not be used for employee evaluation. Through multiple iterations with call center staff and managers; the researchers developed a three part call evaluation system to include (1) value demand (2) failure demand and (3) not able to determine. This call evaluation system was used for several days. The ratio of the three categories was charted in a simple spreadsheet.
Findings: Managers of service operations are deeply interested in simultaneously improving efficiencies and customer satisfaction. Any validated tool to achieve these goals is highly valued. The findings indicated that the value/failure demand measurement system was useful and many failure demand occurrences occurred. Managers will consider improvements based on these data.
Research Limitations: This study describes a tiny sample of the service economy and is limited to direct service providers in call centers and their managers. This first step did not validate value from the point of view of the customer. This would be the next logical step for additional research.
Practical implications: Service providers need simple tools to assess operations; improve quality and efficiency. This was the first step in what we hope will be the development of an easy-to-use tool for the continuous improvement of services.
Keywords: Service; quality; value; demand; failure; customer; lean