Catalyst Strategic Consultants

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The Dreaded Handoff

How did such a universal failure become a central feature in most biz processes?

You know how it works. You spend 15 minutes laying out your concern as a customer with one of our stellar large scale [or small scale!] enterprises. “Thank you. I’ll just transfer you to the people who can help you with that….”

The presumption – and it really is a fantastically exaggerated notion – is that the next in line person:
– starts possessed of all the information that was previously provided
– has a better grasp of and higher levels of caring for the needs of the customer
– will add unique value to furthering the solution
– gets the full impact and urgency of what has been said earlier which content will arrive undiluted to the next in line who will interpret it exactly as the teller intended


Say what???

And you have the privilege of starting all over again. Right from the beginning. With all the same questions. And nothing coming back. Just an uncomprehending blank. Worse yet. Staff get crabby about your complaint about the limited headway being made.

It’s based on the idea that any one person handling a part of the issue is substitutable for any other part. That way it’s scalable and not captuve to the expertise of any one person in the organization.

Handoffs – they almost never work. The next person in line has to start all over again because they have nothing. Staff are highly differentiated in their expertise and ability to deal with questions.

Maybe they have notes of what was done previously. But I find that people are progressively less scrupulous in taking notes. And in this increasingly literal world folks show little ability or interest to make lateral jumps. The leaps that show that they get what the issue is and have connected up your need to the system they control access to.

Airlines /Health Care /Maintenance/Banking- it’s everywhere.
And nowadays, you get to answer to a computer voice in a prescreeninng phone process. “Enter your 10 digit credit card number”. You’d think that would place your file in front o the agent. But then they ask you for it all over again when finally you get a real voice on the line.

Nowhere has a more dishonored, less reliable practice been more universally implemented.   It’s an outgrowth of the computer age when the promise was that the intelligence of the enterprise was supposedly contained in the systems. If only it didn’t alienate and dehumanize our customers, let along dumbing down the interface and driving those who are relying on us crazy.

Some firms are cottoning on to the value of a less opaque [and pardon me – dumb/ dense/ stupid/ tiresome] interface with their customer.   Ask yourself – is that us?

Doug Bouey
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

What’s Our Business?

Bringing out the best in you, your company and your people.

Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


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