Gary D's Take

The Law of Unintended Consequence

The Law of Unintended Consequence

Sep 11, 2012

The law of unintended consequences, often cited but rarely defined, is that actions of people—and especially of government—always have effects that are unanticipated or unintended.~Rob Norton

Once upon a time there was a company that ran some call centers. They decided to connect them together and share resources. This would also allow them to close a satellite call center. The installation of the point  to point circuits to facilitate this would take about four months. The cutoff of two of the three existing voice circuits was scheduled in thirty days. The layoff of people in the satellite call center was done in two weeks. The calls from the satellite center were shifted to the other regional center, increasing call volume by fifty percent. In a two weeks , that center had only one voice circuit……to handle one hundred fifty percent more calls. Savings to the company…. four thousand dollars a month. Amount of lost business due to angry customers getting busy signals for two months….PRICELESS!

How did this happen? Simple , the person in charge of the changes had no responsibility for customer service and didn’t work for OR CONSULT WITH the person that did. Their objective was to get the cost savings on the books before the end of the quarter. This was what their bonus was tied to.

The moral of the story…incentivize the behaviors you want and they will happen. BUT……always remember the law of unintended consequences.

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