CRM and Six Sigma

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    Please let me know how Six Sigma can be useful for a Customer Relationship Services providing company.



    With customer relationship management, I would think that you want each customer handled in a particular manner. Variation among reps can be critical. 6 Sigma tools allow you to identify and measure and correct the variation. This allows for the smooth and consistent delivery of service to your customers.



    Would you be able to share any six sigma project in these areas. Thanks.



    Be very, very careful, as you will get what you measure and may regret it.  A balanced scorecard is the best approach to customer support, in most cases.
    I ran a call center which fielded requests for cancelations and tried to “save” sales.  20% was our target save rate.  With a lot of time and effort an associate could get to 30% but was it worth it?  (ie. did it stick?, was the customer profitable for us in the first place?)
    20% success was a far cry from six-sigma and many of the workers couldn’t stand working in an environment where they “failed” 4 of 5 trys.  Turnover was very high and we had to pay the top performers a lot to get them to stay on despite all the “soft” stuff we did for them. 
    In a more normal customer service call center (say, tech support), you can measure the “first-time-fixed” rate, but then it might be better economics to give out quick-fix instructions that work 80% of the time and ask customers to call back if the quick-fix fails to work for them.  Second calls from a phone number could be automatically routed to the next level of experts.
    You can build customer surveys into your process but you get a bias in the results.
    Achieving six-sigma quality at a reasonable cost-per-customer would require very careful definition of “success” and “failure”. 


    Hank Sobah

    It may be more appropriate to start with details behind actual customer interaction.  As Six Sigma emphasizes, intuition is not data.  Customer Data, how it’s collected and how it’s managed could be one of the most critical components of a true CRM project.  Many people implement a CRM Software package and never give the right consideration to the information that the solution is dependant on.  For example, how many times and how many different ways has an individual customer been entered into the database?  What about nicknames, aliases, mis-spellings, changed last names, new addresses and so on?   One of the first questions that should be asked, is do you have standards for you data – do you have some words abbreviated while others are spelled out, or abbreviated differently?  How many ways can you enter Pittsburgh?  Software exists to help you create and manage these standards, identify and scrub errors and duplicates, and identify different names that may actually be the same customer (ie: same company or houshold).  If you want to get deeper into it, you can also find tools that will help you identify complex relationships that exist within your customer database.  These types of things will help you to ensure less customer contact errors, omissions of some customers by mistake, or duplication of effort in managing relationships with several different people who may actually all be the same customer.  In short, there are powerful tools out there that help you be more certain that, when dealing with a client, you are dealing with the right person and actually improve your ability to manage the interactions and the relationship.  There is an excellent article at this link:
    And, there is more good info at http://www/
    Best of luck!

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