Magazine article Management Today

Don't You Believe It ... Activity Rates Matter

Magazine article Management Today

Don't You Believe It ... Activity Rates Matter

Article excerpt

People who run salesforces, call centres or credit control departments often care deeply about activity rates, usually expressed as the number of calls made. This is dangerous - in any work sufficiently complex to need a human being to do it, focusing on activity rates can lead you in the wrong direction. Here are some reasons why ...

It confuses input with output. If I make 10 calls to a customer service department in two weeks, it boosts its activity rate, but it means that the firm is not solving my problem and I'm probably badmouthing it to everyone I meet. Better would be one longer call that solves my problem and turns me into a happy customer who recommends the service to friends.

It can promote stupid behaviour. I recall a clever Italian medical textbook salesman, Santiago. He concentrated his efforts on a handful of top professors, knowing that by selling to the opinion-formers, sales to their less august colleagues would automatically follow. It was lucrative and low-stress, but Santi's sales director didn't care - he simply wanted to see him making more appointments and pressing more flesh, even though it would have resulted in fewer sales. …

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