A case study of actual work done on enhancing customer service excellence & customer experience management  by Hexagon Consulting senior consultants.

customer service excellence & customer experience management

Background & Context: Improvement of customer  experience and reduction of customer complaints, for a MNC bank’s contact center & back office operations, outsourced, to a service provider in India.

"the objective of this case study is to illustrate Hexagon Consulting’s expertise in customer service excellence and customer experience management, leveraging accredited & proven approaches and diagnostic methodologies like that of  the service bench-marking  framework TISSE 2012 of The International Customer Services Institute, (TICSI UK’s) and using innovative customer feedback led solutions of Hexagon Consulting's SMEs across organisational silo’s to enhance the end customer experience & service levels successfully and also contributing to also significantly enhancing product features, using customer feedback as levers.

Problem situation:

  • The customer service contact center and back office center of a large MNC bank based in India was experiencing an unusually large number of customer complaints daily on their credit card business and customer banking accounts. This had got compounded with multiple escalations & unusually large number of  irate complaints.  Escalation letters/emails from customers, were also frequently going  to the top management of the MNC bank in UK, whose operations were being serviced from India
  • Multiple reviews had been done internally with the customer services teams – but to no avail- and the situation despite months of reviews/interventions internally, including by the MNC bank seniors visiting the CS operations in India. Net, net the overall perception at the MNC bank was rather grim  - that their outsourced CS operating teams were not doing their job adequately.  

Diagnosis:

One of Hexagon Consulting’s Partner's was assigned the role by the MNC Bank and the Customer Service (CS) Operation’s center in India for doing a thorough & comprehensive review and to provide guidance to re-solve the customer service and frequent complaints problem.

  • A thorough end to end review the CS operations was done – i.e., across all the 5Ps - i.e. its Policies, People, Processes, Product, Premises and measurements of all KPIs. The comprehensive review was done on the ground on an end to end basis - across both the customer service back office and call centers over a period of about 2 weeks –and all aspects of the service operations, customer complaints, service issues, CSAT metrics, trends, were thoroughly reviewed to diagnose the problem.
  • The comprehensive assessment done by Hexagon Consulting’s senior consultants revealed that that there were a number of problems that needed to be comprehensively addressed, across a whole host of aspects of the  CS operations - as well as the whole banking/credit card business – on each of the many aspects, of the 5Ps of the operations.
  • Most of the issues were because of the silo ed approach with which each department of the MNC Bank and its outsourced CS operations was operating with.  The contact center, back office, product, marketing, sales, Technology, credit & compliance, Risk management, etc., were not engaged and talking to each other on a regular basis and together  attempting to resolve systemic customer pain areas, as a result of which the problems being faced by customers were just being handled (i.e. heard) by the “customer service” department (i.e. contact center), which was doing its best to address the customer’s problems, but in the absence of empowerment to solve most of the customer issues, and the right integrated organizational  framework of periodically reviewing and re-solving some of the systemic customer pain areas(for which collaboration and a joint customer centric problem resolution approach/framework was a prerequisite), they were on an average (on any typical day) unable to resolve 70% of the customer complaints to the satisfaction of the end customers.  So in effect the CS operations were just operating has customer listening posts. And while they did occasionally & regularly flag the main issues with their peers in the sister departments of the MNC bank, the bottom line was that the silo ed approach and lack of empowerment of the CS staff, was coming in the way daily to address the core systemic customer issues/complaints.

Solution:

improve customer service excellence and customer service delivery
  • The CEO of the MNC Bank was briefed of the actual situation with call type and customer compliant data properly analysed to bring out the main pain areas – and feedback collated from the CS staff as also from end customers using a fast “simulated CS survey analysis” done independently at our suggestion, by the independent quality department of the CS operations. Hexagon Consulting’s senior consultant leading the whole engagement, prepared a comprehensive BI backed report, which explained a detailed analysis, on customer feedback and employee feedback data, as well as call/transaction type analysis across  the CS back office and contact center, that while the general perception was that the outsourced customer service department was not handling the customer service issues/complaints properly and thus perceived to not being managed well, the actual situation was quite the opposite - as the staff was actually going the extra mile daily to attempt to resolve the problems, within the boundaries of the policies,  procedures  and technology and product limitations imposed on them from MNC Bank’s UK based corporate office.
  • It was further explained, basis data analytics done on the customer complaints, and customer service call types, that almost 70% of the customer problems had underlying systemic problems, where the solution actually was modifications in the policies, procedures & product features. Also a few technology enhancements, were urgently needed to be implemented. Thus many interventions were necessary by the other organizational departments (i.e. silos) of the MNC Bank - like Product, Credit, Risk & Compliance, IT, Procurement, etc - to enable their outsourced CS teams to do their job effectively.
  • We persuaded the Country head(CEO  of the MNC Bank to create an empowered senior forum across silos, for all the departmental heads of all the divisions to come together frequently (weekly to start with) and regularly review the major customer pain areas being faced by end customers  and join hands with the CS operations teams, to find systemic/policy/procedures/IT enabled solutions/enhancements in product, policies, technology, etc. - "as one team",  with a view to enable and empower the CS operations staff & teams to effectively resolve customer issues.  We requested the CEO to also attend the same for at least a few weeks to catalyze decision making and to facilitate  the effectiveness of the empowered group meetings and also to assist and contribute to taking some key customer pain areas – systemic decisions quickly. The analytics and BI data for this was provided by CS quality department, but the issues flagged for discussion were those that were normally the top 10 issues which needed senior participation/decisions by the other silo’s to review and resolve, (as the customer service reps were not empowered to handle/resolve them at their end).
  • A regular weekly review meeting was initiated, chaired by the CEO of the MNC Bank (facilitated by the Hexagon Consulting’s senior consultant), attended also by all the departmental heads, in which customer service operations presented hard factual data of the previous weeks’ customer feedback trends, analyzed using  Pareto charts  and other similar BI tools– to focus on the top 5/10 pain areas. The meeting objective was set by the CEO that all the department heads were expected to contribute as "one team"  to resolution of the systemic customer pain areas.
  • As the CEO was himself leading this exercise, the empowered management team of the MNC bank made rapid progress – decisions were taken quickly to iron out systemic policy/product/IT related bottlenecks, calls were taken quickly on eliminating difficult, but conflicting procedures, and on some long pending but critical technology enhancements. CEO himself acted as the catalyst which accelerated the whole improvement and debottlenecking implementation process.
  • Improved CSAT measurement KPIs, frequency of customer surveys, NPS methodologies and few other process enhancements across all aspects of the operations, were recommended by the Hexagon Consulting seniors to enhance the measurement of the right parameters with the right sampling (representative) and frequency to supplement the existing productivity oriented KPIs which were in place to measure & manage the CS Operations effectiveness - to serve end customers.
  • The more representative customer satisfaction scores/BI were also reviewed on a weekly basis with the senior most empowered management leadership of the MNC bank, correlated with the top pain areas & properly analysed key customer feedback points.
  • A continuous improvement cycle was thus institutionalized and organizational silos were thus effectively broken & bridged  keeping customer in the center & developing  & improving policies,  strategies, and where necessary rapid It investments  to debottleneck the CS departments to deliver high customer experience and also led to significant  reduction in customer service/compliant call/transaction volumes.
  • The process also led to some product enhancements of the MNC bank, including enhancing the delivery and distribution of the products across all customer contact channels.
  • Within 3 months, the organization started seeing some improvements in customer complaint reductions and improvements in end customer satisfaction and NPS scores. Within six months the CSAT scores had risen to the 85%+ levels from 60- 65% level earlier. 
  • Subsequently, over the next few months the organization adopted a comprehensive framework of continuous customer satisfaction improvement on an end to end basis – with customer service and customer experience management been seen as an organization wide responsibility and not just that of the customer service department  and this led to even more gains  for the organization on its journey to improve customer service and customer experience levels – and continued further reduction in customer complaints.
  • Eventually using the TISSE 2012 standard’s framework for benchmarking & enhancing organizational processes across people, products and processes the organization progressed on the path of doing formal assessments against the TISSE 2012 standard and eventually reached benchmark levels of near TISSE 2012 certification on the customer service standard, which helped to further improve the customer centricity of the operations and to  reassure all internal and external stakeholders of its customer centric framework.

Introduction to The International Standard for Service Excellence (TISSE 2012)

 The International Customer Service Institute (TICSI aims to inspire the achievement of the highest standards of professionalism in all aspects of service quality in every international market. With a need clearly identified for an independent organisation to set global customer service standards TICSI has created a  customer service standard (TISSE2012) as a cornerstone against which to benchmark organisations ( more details of the standard are in www.ticsi.org) .

The International Customer Service Institute (TICSI) is an international partnership organisation enabling the recognition and sharing of global best practice in customer service. The Institute was founded in 2005 in the United Kingdom with the ultimate goal to set the global standards of customer service in a diverse and constantly changing environment. The International Customer Service Institute was founded in 2005, operating from its headquarters in London and Dubai, however, represented all over the world through its global implementation and certification partnership network.TICSI was set up to collate and amass best practices in the service quality field and to provide the means for dissemination of the collected information to member organisations and individuals. With a knowledgeable and highly experienced team, service quality experts on a strategic advisory panel and worldwide partnership in Customer Service Excellence along with continuous research conducted into new practices and methodologies, TICSI is leading the field in global best practice in customer service and service quality

The International Standard for Service Excellence (TISSE2012) has been developed from the previous TISSE2010 by the Institute with the objective of making it the global standard for quality customer service.

The aim of TISSE2012 is to enable organisations to focus their attention on delivery of excellence in customer service while at the same time providing recognition of success through a formal third party certification scheme by British Standards Institution, BSI India (and there after provide the drive for continuous improvement).

Hexagon Consulting is The Institute’s India’s Regional TICSI Partner (RTP) to exclusively help organizations in the India region to achieve customer service excellence through implementation of the standard to assess and benchmark and assist organisations to improve their customer centricity & service standards.

 The International Standard for Service Excellence (TISSE2012) pulls together the main principles involved in improving/maintaining service delivery excellence, and provides a clear framework for step by step improvement by assisting in identifying the key criteria which need to be fulfilled for the organisation to achieve this goal.

 Excellent customer service is at the core of any organisation’s success and is derived from the performance of each and every unit in the system:

  1.  The work cycle of a customer focused organisation should always start with analysing the business environment (Analysis of Public Perception) and identifying the relative importance of the needs & expectations of their current and prospective customers (Customer Segmentation, Customer Feedback Analysis and Customer Experience Measurement).
  2. The findings will shape the path for developing the organisation’s objectives and strategies (Strategic Intent and Policies) required satisfying these needs in addition to meeting and exceeding expectations.
  3. Once the objectives and strategies are in place key customer experience related operating processes should be developed to ensure that the organisation builds an operational and delivery mechanism on an end to end basis that will deliver the desired (expected) products/services across all channels of customer contact in response to what customers perceive as important.
  4. Employees should have clear communication regarding their impact; their role has on consistent delivery of service excellence along with understanding their responsibilities through education and training, to ensure that skilled resources are available to deliver excellent customer service.
  5. Regular and objectively sampled reviews and examination of products/services and how they are delivered is crucial to ensure they meet with customer as well as organisational needs.
  6. Assessment of performance through measurement of the right metrics, applied at the right areas will enable the organisation to correctly identify improvements where they are most necessary.
  7. The results from the measurement of performance should be compared against existing policies, company strategy and key processes which can be used to direct improvement. Employees’ skills, products/ services and delivery channels should be continuously refined & improved in order to ensure delivery according to customer expectations along with their priorities.

Hexagon Consulting’s Strengths as your consulting partner

Our consultants based at Delhi in India, have deep understanding of the customer service operations and customer experience management, have considerable experience in India and overseas in systemically institutionalizing excellence in Customer Service and customer experience management. The above case study is an actual case study of some of the work done by on one of the Partners of Hexagon Consulting. We are passionate about customer service excellence and customer experience management .

Introduction to TISSE2012 Implementation process

 The main objective of implementing The International Standard for Service Excellence (TISSE2012) is initially to develop the Framework required for organisations to examine all aspects of customer service delivery and then to help them drive improvements internally to achieve Customer Service Excellence.

The International Standard for Service Excellence (TISSE2012) utilises the world accepted norm of PDCA throughout its adoption and implementation. The quality methodology known as “Plan-Do-Check-Act” (PDCA) is applied to all components of the Model and complements any other Quality framework that you may already be using.

 THE 5PS Service Excellence Model Framework

 For organisations the key differentiator in a competitive world is more often, the delivery of a consistently high standard of customer service. At the same time showing that they are responsive, reliable and respectful to customers’ needs.

The factors directly influencing the customer’s experience are the pillars of the 5Ps Service Excellence Model. The 5Ps Service Quality Model emphasises the importance of five key elements of service quality together with measurement of performance forming an essential analytical dimension:

1. Policies

2. Products/Services

3. Premises

4. Processes

5. People

and measurement of performance as well as  measurement of results on the right metrics.

Typical Steps in the process of implementation

Described below are steps typically followed for bench marking/assessment/certification  on TISSE 2012 

Typical Implementation phases

 Phase I - Preparation Stage

In order to ensure a successful implementation process and to achieve a high service quality performance it is essential to clearly define the project objectives, agree on the project structure and establish a clear communication between all stakeholders.

Phase II – Initial assessment against TISSE 2012: Gap Analysis & Project Planning

The gap analysis assessments and any of interim/final audits are done v/s a 1000 points comprehensive & detailed TISSE2012 evaluation matrix, which checks inter alia the policies, procedures, infrastructure, technology, people aspects, etc and implementation/adoption of same in the organisation/site.

Phase III - Strategy Development - for mitigating gaps -i.e findings of Phase –II above

Phase IV - Strategy Implementation – for addressing gaps, per strategy developed in Phase III

Phase V - Re-assessment and Measurement   (process is similar to that done in Phase II)

Thereafter, client can move to Phase –V, which is the pre-final audit re-assessment and measurement against the TISSE 2012 standard’s requirements, (again done by Hexagon Consulting’s senior consultants) to re-assure itself that the opportunity areas have been adequately addressed. The process and approach followed for this is similar to that explained for Phase-II (initial assessment and gap analysis) above.

On satisfactory completion of Phase – V, client may choose to invite BSI for the final assessment – Phase VI, which is again done by using the same TICSI, TISSE-2012 online assessment tool, by the BSI auditors. Client has the option of also inviting Hexagon Consulting’s consultants to support the final audit done by BSI. On satisfactory completion of the final audit assessment by BSI, and in the event the mandatory criteria are all met and the minimum number of scores are obtained in the BSI audit, the final certification is awarded at one of the three levels, as summarised below:

Phase VI – Certification (done by BSI, India)

Organisations will implement TISSE2012 based upon guidance from the Regional TICSI Partner (RTP) duly trained and authorized by The International Customer Services Institute, UK. In India the exclusive RTP is HEXAGON CONSULTING.

 An independent certification body, will assess organizations’ service delivery performance against TISSE2012

Organizations will be re-assessed annually by the Regional Certification Partner (RCP). In India the RCP  for TICSI is BSI.

 Once  above is done the client may choose to take advantage of the assessment report  and opportunity areas identified to improve its operation customer service excellence levels (i.e. Phase III and IV) on its own or seek Hexagon Consulting’s help in addressing the gaps - whole/part of opportunity areas identified.

 

The TISSE 2012 customer service standard for benchmarking/certification has got three levels of maturity as summarised above.

Each of the three levels are regarded are graded quality International certifications of customer centricity and service quality,. And with the British Standard’s Institution’s endorsement against TISSE 2012’s requirements,  allows the client  organisation  to publish and display the same, to all its internal and external stakeholders, media, advertising, etc and to reassure all of its customer centricity. The certification is valid for 12 months and requires an annual reassessment to be done annually.

The focus of the standard is on having the right policies and procedures & operating practices. Communication of the same adequately across the organisation; implementation rigor of the same and adoption of the same adequately, so that the requirements of the standard are sufficiently internalised in the organisation.

 

PDCA

And just like what has been summarised in this case study, a continuous improvement cycle has to be set up in the organisation on an end to end basis across all organisational silos, similar to that described below, if tangible gains on end customer service and experience have to be achieved and sustained.

 

Continuous Improvement Cycle

customer satisfaction image.jpg

 

The TISSE 2012 standard is unique in terms of its applicability for improving customer service & CEM across:

- Service sectors

Manufacturing

B2C and B2B environments

Private and Public sectors (even some government organisations have taken advantage of this framework, to improve their efficiency, effectiveness and citizen centricity & satisfaction levels)

 

Above case study & white paper has been written by Hexagon Consulting’s, Analysts and Consultants, based on its deep expertise and experience of its senior consultants in the customer service & customer experience management domains, as well its own consulting work done in this space, and also important inputs derived from The International Customer Services Institute (TICSI) and the TISSE 2012 standard of TICSI. Lets reorganize our organisations around the customer and win - talk to us to know "how". Just click here - and leave your coordinates/questions on our contact page - and we'll be glad to help.