Why Do We Buy Products? To Do a Job, Says Harvard Professor

Hire WorkFlex Products to Do Jobs for Contact Center Employees

Ask your co-workers why they buy things and they’ll probably say, “Because I want them,” or “Because I need them.” That makes eminent sense, right? Those funky new shoes you bought? You were seized with possessive passion the moment you laid eyes on them – i.e., you wanted them! The scrub brush? Well, you needed that to get the icky gray ring in the bathtub to go away. Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen says neither of those answers is really accurate. According to him, you bought both of those items to “do a job.” To expand on that brief explanation, he notes, “When we have a job to do, we have to find something to get the job done. The causal mechanism that causes us to buy a product or service is that there’s a job that needs to be done.”

Upon reflection, I can’t really argue with the good professor’s assertion. It’s easy to see how it applies to the scrub brush, but it applies even to the shoes. What’s the job you wanted them to tackle? Let’s be honest, it wasn’t to walk you to work. They have three-inch heels. The truth is that you “hired” them to do the job of looking fabulous with the funky new outfit you bought for your cousin’s wedding so the entire ensemble can do the job of making you look unique and fabulous at the event where you’ll be seeing lots of people you haven’t seen in years and whom you want to wow. It’s hard work, but those shoes are up to it!

My musings turned to WorkFlex, since we make and sell products. We’re always talking about the features and benefits of using our software, but what is the job they do for our clients? I thought about the contact center workforce managers who spend all day staring at computer screens and spreadsheets looking for imbalances between the amount of customer contacts the center is trying to address and the number of employees available to handle each contact. It’s an exhausting, eye-straining activity interrupted frequently by requests for schedule changes from the service-providing employees. One of our products does these jobs for them. It monitors the contact volume and the available staff and recommends steps the workforce managers can take to keep the two balanced. All they have to do is click to accept a proposed solution and the WorkFlex system implements it. The other product does the job of eliminating any need for them to handle schedule-change requests. The products do the tedious, repetitive, manual tasks workforce managers are forced to focus on to keep the contact center functioning as intended. By doing these jobs, WorkFlex frees workforce managers to do other things usually pushed to the back burner or ignored for lack to time.

A WorkFlex product performs an invaluable job for the front-line contact center workforce, too. It does the job of giving them work flexibility, something they crave, but which is rare in the industry. Employees can change their work schedule themselves and without permission when they need or want to. No longer do they have to add to the workforce manager’s daily task list to take some time off, work extra hours, or change work activity because they need a break from the phone. A WorkFlex product also does a valuable job for their team supervisors. It keeps track of what the employees are doing – are they logged in, are they spending too much time handling calls, are they trying to take time off – and does it on a mobile device so they can move around the floor instead of sitting at a desk all day.

WorkFlex products do a job — multiple jobs —  for people in contact centers and they do them really well. Is it time you “hired” them for the people in yours?

-Maya Callahan

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