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On six minutes and Self service

1 July 2019
Sagit Salmon

Recently, the "six-minute law" has been instated in Israel. This law requires companies to answer customer calls in six minutes or less. The law applies to large organizations in the fields of communications, internet, banking, insurance, electricity, gas, water and emergency medicine. While the law does not apply to all companies or all calls, we are all customers and therefore are all too familiar with long waits on the phone. The aggravation and dissatisfaction are added to the already eminent problem (if there wasn't one, we wouldn't be calling).

 In a competitive market, companies differ from one another, partly due to the service they provide. Good service is not just about courtesy and solving problems, it's about quick, simple response at the right time.

Obviously, telephone service is not the only service available nowadays. There are several alternative digital service channels: websites, apps, Chatbot, text messaging, WhatsApp, social networks.

Then why do we need the "six-minute law"? And how can it be that in this multi-channeled age telephone call centers are still receiving so many calls?

It seems that the organizational service pie chart should be divided differently.


Here are some ideas:

We want people to call less? Let's provide them with some options. You constantly hear enthusiastic reports of some new idea that enables more independent and efficient service. Customers desire it, and technology has evolved and can now provide. Have we recently mapped all actions and information made accessible to customers? Do we hold clear data on the subjects of customers' call centers? Let's compare accessible to required data and try to close the gap. We might discover more information and actions that can and should be made accessible (including complex issues on which we've previously refrained to touch). We just might discover that some accessible data isn't sufficiently accessible (complicated, time consuming, wrong timing, incoherent wording).

What platform are we using? Does it coerce us to handle knowledge and processes more than once? If so, you might want to consider a change.

Do we aim to reduce the human factor in service (or at least not increase it)? Should we recruit more representatives to answer chat or text messages?

Let's utilize human resource differently and train work representatives on different channels.


What does the organization gain from all of the above? Loyalty, customer satisfaction, market advantage, saving on HR and maintenance. And the clients? They save time and gain independence and satisfaction. Also, it will give them peace of mind, which is equally important.

man screaming to phone
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