Several years ago, we attended a call center industry conference where one site director discussed how they had reduced their headcount by 50% using technology. If an article featuring Netflix is any indication, people might be replacing technology. You can read the article via this link with Yahoo!.
Netflix, in their battle with Blockbuster, has adopted a strategy of human to human customer service instead of the email based customer service it has historically used.
According the article in Investor’s Business Daily by Patrick Sietz, Netflix started losing customers to Blockbuster. As a way to cut subscriber churn, Netflix moved to the call center only service model.
From a hiring view, we believe that Netflix might be helping new hire retention with this approach. By removing many of the front end automated voice system steps, callers will get to an agent quicker and not have to repeat the same information again with the agent. In our view, repeating this information causes frustration for the caller and subsequently the agent. By eliminating this potential frustration from the call, the agent may enjoy the job more which could lead to improved retention.
The article goes on to highlight areas where Netflix is using technology to improve customer care. Netflix is focusing on improving their web site self service based on key take-aways from caller interactions. Given Netflix’s use of analytics in its business, this makes a great deal of sense.
We give credit to Netflix for focusing their technology dollars on how they can best help the customer, not on ways to reduce the most cost at the expense of service.