Posted by Richard Glanville
Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) continues to be an active topic of discussion amongst academic and corporate circles. Reams of print space have been dedicated to the virtues of Kaizen and how its theoretical concepts can be turned into successful operating models. CPI is a big deal for any business. After all, an inherent ability to improve the way you do your business is the foundation stone of competitive advantage. But the practical application of CPI still continues to elude businesses . What needs to be remembered is that CPI is a way of life ; it should be part of your organisational DNA , actively pursued throughout all business operations.
CPI in Action
All process improvements are designed to streamline the way that you and your teams work; so it is essentially about uncovering a ‘more efficient’ way of doing things. And that's exactly what one of our telecom clients set out to do when they invested in speech analytics and asked us, its loyalty and retention partner, to test its effectiveness. We responded by creating an game changing operational model that leveraged the speech analytics capability not only to improve loyalty rates, but to create performance projections that would inform future strategies.
A new training regime was implemented which leveraged the speech analytics tool to continuously drive agent performance. Bespoke coaching packs were designed that captured data from calls to identify drivers of customer churn and how they can be addressed. The information has been a call to action for Team Leaders, who could now review performance improvement plans and agree on new training regimes for their teams. It has also helped Operations Managers to accurately identify loyalty and 'save' trends, which means they are better able to schedule for future campaigns.
The improvement in retention performance was significant - within three months we saved our client an extra few thousand customers.What generated this CTI success and how can you replicate it? Here are a few guidelines we'd recommend…
Plan for change
Have a single objective in mind. Ours was to drive loyalty and save rates by leveraging speech analytics. Make sure your objective is clear and that all your planned actions contribute to it.
Rally the team
Any CPI initiative will involve change. Changes, for example, to your workflow models, teams and technology configurations. People are by nature change resistant so plan and manage their involvement with sensitivity and care. Our above mentioned program worked due to seamless collaboration between operations, loyalty and training teams. We recommend tools such as Change Curve and Kotter's 8-step change model to help manage expectations.
A controlled pilot is advisable when introducing change that may affect wider operational areas. Roll out a trial version to a pilot group – this allows the implementation team to review process in a controlled environment.
Be open to feedback
Process improvement must evolve, so constant feedback is essential. Our coaching packs were validated weekly by Team Managers and incremental changes introduced. Even now this is driving improvements in loyalty rates and enhanced customer experiences.
Can we replicate this ?
We hope so! Any process improvement should be replicable and scalable. It is recommended that CPI plan is designed to be robust and flexible so that it can be replicated by other areas of the business. After all, sharing best practice is what Business Excellence is all about…