Simple stuff that works

Friday, June 30th, 2017

I have been helping clients with a couple of systemisation issues lately.

The first, a manufacturer and installer, said that he wanted to introduce a culture of caring for the customer into his business.  In pursuit of this he has introduced some KPIs around delivery times and defects and held meetings with his employees to explain the kinds of behaviour he wants.  Unfortunately these initiatives appeared to be having no effect.

Further discussion revealed that one of the symptoms of what he saw as a lack of this culture was that clients could not get hold of the Service Department on the phone and that calls often went unanswered.  He had installed a sophisticated call automation and routing system to try to solve this; if the Customer Service Co-ordinator was away from her desk the call rang on all the other phones in the building and all staff were told that it should be answered within three rings – but no-one ever picked up.  My client was getting to the stage where he was considering disciplinary action if he heard an unanswered phone.

I suggested that firstly he make the Service Manager responsible for making sure all service calls were answered within three rings and secondly he turn the re-routing software off.

The second client , an IT support company, has struggled to get support issues resolved in priority and age order so that clients are often irritated by calls taking too long to solve and escalating the problem to him.  Open calls were displayed as a single list on a flat screen on the wall and helpdesk staff chose which call to pick up as they finished the one they been working on.  The only measurement used was response time.

I suggested that firstly, the helpdesk manager should be made responsible for hitting a fix time target, secondly that all open calls be allocated to technicians, thirdly that each technician’s queue be shown separately and display fix time performance not response time.

Neither of my clients’ problems were caused by bad culture, lazy employees or inadequate software.  They arose because my client had not made individual employees clearly accountable for a single measured outcome.

If you’d like to learn more simple stuff that works, and how systemisation is all about simple stuff that works, you might want to register for this event.


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