The Big Lie about Multi-tasking

Some people say they can get more done when they multi-task.

But the truth is, they can’t. claims in 12 Reasons to Stop Multitasking Now! that multi-tasking can make you less, not more efficient.

In Psychology Today, Dr. Susan Weinshenk claims that you could lose up to 40% of your productivity when you multi-task.

Another Susan - Susan Kuchinskas – along with Dr. Patricia Farrell of WebMD explain that when our brains switch from one task to another – which is what happens when we multi-task – we’re less efficient and more prone to making mistakes.  To illustrate their point, they tell a story of a communications director at a large firm who is often on the phone and instant messaging several people at the same time.  In one recent gaffe, the communications director mistakenly emailed a reporter at The Wall Street Journal instead of her best friend, asking the Journal reporter to pick up her daughter from school.

Unfortunately, multi-tasking can happen a lot in a shared service center, particularly when agents are responsible for monitoring multiple intake channels.  A common example of “multiple intake channels” is email, telephone and chat: If an agent is talking to a one employee on the phone while responding to another employee in a chat window, there’s a clear opportunity to make a mistake.  The risk increases when that same agent is also monitoring employee requests coming through email.

So, what’s the solution?  How do you operate multiple intake channels efficiently, and keep your agents focused and working at peak efficiency?

The answer is in consolidation.

When the channels are separate, or not connected, an agent has to monitor and toggle between the multiple applications of Email, Chat, Telephone, and depending on the configuration, requests coming from a Self Service portal, too.

But when the channels are merged into a single environment, the agent’s life can suddenly get easier.  When each email is automatically converted to a case and routed to the agent’s dashboard, the agent no longer has to toggle out to the email inbox, and read the email.  When an inbound Chat is converted to a case, the agent doesn’t have to do any copying, pasting or attaching.  And when telephone calls automatically generate a new case on the agent’s screen - pre-populated with the employee’s information - fewer toggles and clicks are needed to get the work done.

Case management solutions can aggregate multiple intake streams, and automatically convert each of the Single Point of Contact 1requests into consistently formatted cases, regardless of their originating technology.   Each case is then delivered to the agent’s dashboard for processing.  What this means is that the agent can focus on a single application – their case management dashboard – and not bounce back and forth between different applications, while trying to manage multiple thought processes.

This consolidation enables the representatives to work more efficiently, without having to monitor each channel separately, and without having to subject themselves to the unproductive behavior of multi-tasking. Instead of divide their time among multiple intake channels, the agent can dedicate 100% of their mental focus to a consolidated set of cases.  This concentrated focus results in greater productivity, and higher customer satisfaction rates.

And you’re less likely to accidently IM the CEO, asking her to pick up your child from school.