Customer service segmentation is a difficult and potentially dangerous issue to approach. For those not familiar with customer segmentation in general, it’s the process of dividing up customers into smaller groups based on key shared aspects such as demographic, account type, product type, age or other issues. The thing is, it’s a bit of a slippery slope.
Customer service segmentation can very quickly become a problem if control and discretion is lost. The most obvious issue is going to be profiling people in inappropriate ways such as age or gender, which is bad business practice, even if it could make things easier in some cases.
The other problem, though, is that if you start segmenting on a ton of variables, not only can it get wildly out of control and become convoluted, but overlap of who goes where can become incredibly problematic, resulting in a collapse of efficiency and logic.
Well, before I go into some tips on how to properly implement this, permit me one thing. I want to tell you that I personally think this is a horrible idea. But, since my opinion is just that, and you’re likely to attempt this anyhow, allow me to give you some insight into this being less negative in its consequences.
#1 – Base Around Issues and Account Types Only
The first thing to consider is to use not age, gender or other things like that as your segmentation basis, but rather around the issues being handled, and the types of accounts that are being handled.
This level of segmentation is kind of already in place most of the time, but being more specific in your segmentation here isn’t necessarily a bad thing, so if you must do it, use these as your prime variables and don’t get carried away.
#2 – Allow Crossing
When individuals get routed to the wrong part of a segmented scenario, then your agents need to be cross-trained to handle things beyond their segmentation range. Redirecting people is obnoxious and time consuming (and leaves room for things to go wrong – dropped calls etc.), so having them able to handle things normally out of their purview on the occasion it happens is just a good practice.
One of the problems with segmentation is this becoming a major issue if you’re not cross-training your agents, and it’s the first place things can go wrong.
#3 – Segment by Channel
Finally, also consider basing your segmentation, if the first tenet isn’t enough, around your communications channels. Multi channel support is a big thing now, for obvious reasons, and if you segment your service by having accounts allow users to specify the support channel of their choice ahead of time, so that when they make contact, that department has the data more readily on hand, so they don’t have to spend as much time consulting CRM upon contact.
I’m not a fan of extreme use of customer service segmentation, but there is a tendency to implement this to some level. If you follow these principles closely, being careful with your variables of basis, and making sure that cross training is there to handle overlap or misdirection, then it’s not a disaster if you feel the need to use this practice. I just recommend avoiding it unless it’s necessary.