Martina Horlacher, Sr. Account Manager, Sykes Enterprises
Our recent How-to-Guide introduced Sykes’ How to Guide: Create a Framework for Tangible CSAT and Sustainable Service Excellence. Continuous process improvement is an initiative that financial services institutions must embrace if they have any chance of keeping pace with the swiftly changing preferences, needs and expectations of their customers. However, we all know change is a big, scary concept that’s often hard for staff to embrace.
Gaining adoption is critical for your contact center to gain the full potential of this new framework, so we thought you might like to hear from our staff in Costa Rica about how they’ve reacted to the changes that came along with adopting the Framework for Tangible CSAT to deliver continuous business results.
The View from Operations
For Angelica D., Operations Manager at the center in Costa Rica, happy clients are what she lives for. To gain this result, she needs to work closely with her team to achieve a Green Scorecard that indicates all systems are Go in the interactions they have with customers. Getting this type of scorecard results means that the intelligence her team operates from and the actions planned in response must be executed gracefully and consistently for the customer.
The framework makes this equation work to create the happy customers she’s focused on by providing them with a view of their customers they most often don’t have in house. Being able to use the customer intelligence gathered and applied by the framework helps Angelica gain respect and prove the expertise of herself and her team by demonstrating that they have a full understanding of the drivers of customer satisfaction (CSAT). According to Angelica, “SPI allows us to be the trusted advisor we seek to be, with relevant data and to-the-point suggestions that help the client identify the added value we provide.”
The Benefits for Account Managers
The first component of the framework is Systematic Problem Identification (SPI). This tool analyzes all the data collected to identify problems and issues and evaluate the value of solving them based on the impact to CSAT and the cost for resolution. Matched with the Systematic Problem Solving (SPS) process, action plans are developed for the contact center staff to execute. What can make this challenging is that the action plans change and shift with the continuous evaluation of the data. So they are never set in stone. Obviously the framework will work best in an environment structured for continuous learning.
When we asked Oldemar M., an account manager in the center, how he felt about SPI, his response took a different tack about what it meant for his job and skills development. He says that the essence of the tool is about gaining efficiency in work flows, but also appreciates the discipline that the methodology behind the framework brought forth. Most of all, he likes the power.
“The tools will also give you power; power to have a deeper and smarter conversation with your team, your colleagues and your client; moving from what we think could be an opportunity to actually putting the ideas to the test,” explains Oldemar.
Involving the Teams
GEMBA is the third component of the Framework for Tangible CSAT and about getting the “feet on the street” involved in the process. It’s called a GEMBA walk and it’s about going out on the floor in the center and having real-time conversations with the agents to share and gather information. This component is critical to process adoption, as you’ll see.
GEMBA uses the walks and visual boards to gain answers to three questions:
- How are we doing?
- How do we know?
- What are we doing to make things better?
When we talked to Milton S., a team manager, he indicated that GEMBA has been great for boosting morale. The feedback he gets from team members is that they feel ownership for their roles because they’ve learned just how their performance affects daily operations. According to Milton, “The team was really surprised to see the detail in the metrics available and how even small actions can positively, or negatively, impact the final results.” He says that they’re inspired to learn more about the metrics and how they link together to help them learn how to make continuous improvements.
What the Agents Say
The fourth component of the framework is the culmination of GEMBA walks and visual management to create an agent feedback look that’s designed to be a best practice communication channel. This allows the agents to gain insight as to how their feedback was used and the impact it helped to create for the account. This component is the end of the process that also feeds back into the first component to establish continuity. The framework continues to cycle and the inclusive nature contributes to the agents adopting it and establishing new habits that drive higher performance. It also automates a big portion of the work which helps to keep the focus on solving the problem, rather than analyzing it to death.
The agents concur that the framework has had an impact on their work:
- Juan B. says he feels like the company has his back because, “The tool allows me to get answers to all of my questions.”
- Francisco A. likes the ease of use because, “It helps me get familiar with the procedures I need to follow.”
- Sebastian M. says the process allows him to simplify and speed up getting the answers he needs from the client. “I receive quick and intelligent responses to my questions in a very short timeframe which really helps my level of understanding.”
Continuous Process Improvement from End-to-End
As you can see, from operations management to the agent level, every layer of the contact center workforce finds value in the Framework for Tangible CSAT. This wasn’t an easy methodology to create. It took years of working with all the parties involved—including the clients—to achieve this quality and to develop the tools and processes that comprise the framework.
The key point is that the framework helps to raise the bar to improve customer service continuously.
As Ariana H., Account Supervisor, says, “We have visibility of our overall performance and all the variables that affect it, giving us an understanding the “inside” of our day to day operations. This, in turn, gives us the power to make accurate decisions in regards to where we want to be and how far we can go. We’re able to challenge ourselves to succeed and to constantly look for areas of improvement. The framework also teaches us that there is always room for improvement in everything we do.”