Sustainable Customer Contact Improvement: What Is It Really?

Improving sustainably is always a good idea. Many organizations have the desire to improve customer contact. The plans are usually there too, but in the meantime, the phone needs to be answered, and it’s very busy. As a result, little or nothing comes from all those improvement plans. Such a waste! And the busyness isn’t the only challenge. How do you improve sustainably, for example?

Sustainable Improvement: This Is What It Looks Like

If you want a sustainable change, you don’t look at how you can improve the situation NOW; you first take a step back. You map out the process, ask yourself if it makes sense, and if you are happy with it. Only then do you check if the system supports the processes and what the data says. If you do this right, you won’t face the same challenges every few years.

In customer services, you deal with a mix of challenges that I summarize under the headings people, processes, and pennies. If you know how to connect these three facets correctly, you have the ideal customer contact operation. What do these facets mean, what challenges come with them, and what should you do about them? I’ll help you further in this article!


Maybe you never think about it, but a customer service role is a psychologically complex situation. Employees often fall into this job, and their motivation is often the need for certainty and security. A steady income, for example. Ambition is usually not the primary factor. Therefore, you need to train and educate people extensively. Additionally, teams often consist of many different people, and unfortunately, you also see high staff turnover and absenteeism.

And that’s not all. Add to this that a customer service exists only because things go wrong in the organization. Crisis management, therefore. Double this with the junior knowledge and skills of management and the lack of leadership skills of team leaders and supervisors. (Read tips 2 and 3 ). This completes the list of people challenges.


Processes are about efficiency, automation, and the technical side that comes with it. While technology can contribute immensely, you shouldn’t deploy it blindly. Ask yourself: What technology is available, how do you use it, and where does it help sustainably improve your organization and customer contact?

A pitfall I see is that technology is sometimes deployed without translating what it means for the employees. I am all for technology if it truly helps and makes life better, easier, and more enjoyable. But keep empathizing with your employee: what does technology mean for him or her? How would you experience doing this work this way all day? Better yet, do you try it yourself before rolling it out to the floor?

To answer customer questions, you can have employees use template responses. With the help of technology, a suggestion is provided for which template to use. From a management perspective, you might think, ‘Wow, a nice saving of two seconds. That saves X amount of money.’ But what does that make you as an employee? A kind of glorified enter-button? Does this increase job satisfaction?
Sustainable Data

When you think of processes, you think of data. If you want to improve customer contact sustainably, you must make data-driven decisions. After all, you want to know that you’re doing the right thing and that you’re doing things right. It’s a waste to burn hours with an entire team on a problem that – with luck – occurs only once a week. So, you need the right data. And how do you get that? By setting up processes and systems correctly.


After people and processes, we still have pennies. As long as the customer service department stays within budget, there is generally little issue. Only when costs get out of hand does management wake up and want to improve. In many organizations, customer service occupies a low position and is still seen as a cost center. Freeing up budget is therefore challenging.

With the whole field I describe above, you might think that improving your customer contact is an impossible task. Fortunately, it isn’t! In this article, you will read about concrete steps you can take today to improve your customer service!

Can you do this yourself? Or do you need help? I’m just one phone call away!

Handbook for improving the customer contact operation.

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