This utility company had a regulatory obligation to ensure they were meeting certain customer service metrics. Their mission was to become leaders in customer service within their sector, not just to avoid the regulatory financial penalties of failing to meet these obligations, but because they realised the other benefits a great customer experience could bring to the business.
Their current performance was already good, but they were struggling to make it great due to a sprawling legacy IT estate, recent organisational changes and inefficient processes. To overcome these issues they engaged us to assist with the mobilisation of a new CRM programme. Their initial plan was that this new software would improve the ease with which customer data was stored and accessed, making customer service more efficient.
From our initial discussions and stakeholder interviews, it soon became clear that this would not be enough. As root causes of current problems were identified the project turned to an assessment of customer service processes. This meant the new CRM system would be put on hold to ensure that the real source of the problems was first identified.
Smart Tips Solution
We undertook an eight-week engagement to access the client’s pain points across their processes, systems and people with a focus on the problems that impacted on employee’s ability to perform their job effectively, which ultimately affects the level of customer service that can be provided.
To get a complete understanding of the problems, and their true causes, we worked with stakeholders across the business to assess the complete end-to-end operation. Alongside the traditional techniques of pain point analysis, vision definition, benefit analysis, roadmap development and project mobilisation planning, the assessment also involved;
- Stakeholder interviews and cross-functional workshops
- Work shadowing in contact centres
- Ride-alongs with front-line staff
The analysis uncovered a range of disparate issues including;
- Systematic issues sourced from legacy integrations. This meant call centre staff were unable to see the full history of customer cases, leading to frustration for the customer as they kept having to repeat themselves, and frustration for the operatives as they felt limited in their power to help
- Conflicting process and system updates. Multiple internal customer service projects being performed across different departments were causing more harm than good. Ultimately this was because there wasn’t a consistent view of what good service looked like and therefore no end goal for these projects to work towards
Now that we could show why problems were really occurring we worked with the senior business team to prioritise which ones should be tackled first, based on their impact on the business, ease of resolution and the benefits to be gained from the change. This then enabled us to create a roadmap of change activities and detailed project plans for the implementation of those priority initiatives.
The client used the findings from our analysis in senior board meetings to inform their strategic programmes. Prioritising changes in this manner meant the company could undertake change in a way that would deliver quick results and was also ‘bought in-to’ by the whole organisation since each department had been consulted in the formation of the plans.
As the company starts to implement their change programmes and implement quick wins we are continuing to provide support to ensure delivery achieves the project aims. Our principle of creating a legacy for our clients by facilitating knowledge transfer and training between our consultants and the client’s internal teams, also means they are better placed to maintain these positive changes in the future.
A senior manager from the organisation said of the Smart Tips project, “I am very pleased to say the engagement with the Smart Tips team has exceeded my expectations. Their approach, and in particular the customer service report, have been well received and generated lots of further positive discussions.”