By Nick Lane, Director, Strategy and Planning, Everything Everywhere
Everything Everywhere runs two of the UK’s most famous brands: T-Mobile and Orange. The company has enjoyed a strong reputation of innovation and customer satisfaction. However, during the mid-2000s, we lost a little momentum, and, as a result, our customer satisfaction numbers struggled. In an effort to mend our customer relationships, we set a new goal to help drive loyalty and retention—to become the best-loved communications brand in the industry. But what did this mean for our employees and how would the company meet this ambitious goal?
After carefully examining the situation, we decided to focus on improvement in four areas:
We started by talking to our contact center agents about their priorities and asked if corporate processes were preventing them from performing at a high level. While satisfaction levels and resolution rate rankings were positive, the problem that was uncovered was variation in scores. How could two agents who were doing the same job achieve 92 percent and 58 percent customer satisfaction rates, respectively?
Employee feedback painted a clear picture—improvements in policy and processes, indeed, would improve efficiency, but the real benefit to the bottom line would be secured when all agents began achieving an 80 to 90 percent customer satisfaction rate.
In an effort to tackle these issues, the company initiated the “Brilliance Program.” The overarching goal of the program focused on making the company the best-loved communications brand in the industry. How would we achieve this goal? By narrowing the score variations on performance between agents, and ensuring that customers consistently walked away from every transaction feeling loved.
Driven by Merced Systems’ expertise with improving business execution, Everything Everywhere essentially turned performance management of its team over to its customers. Feedback mechanisms were put in place, and individual agents were able to work with their managers to understand how customers were rating their performance.
Customers were asked directly for feedback after every encounter depending on how they contacted us including SMS, WAP, e-mail, or IVR.
Like any significant organizational change, ensuring that changes occurred was crucial. Agents appreciate the fact that they now are obtaining direct and accurate feedback on their performance from the customers they are supporting. We moved from fixed to variable pay (the good employees welcomed), so if agents are doing a good job, they are rewarded for it, whereas in the past, they might have witnessed mediocre service being rewarded—a practice that was frustrating our top performers.
However, we went in with the understanding that soliciting this type of information invited generic feedback from customers. To help address this issue, we split feedback into two types:
1. Resolution: Did the agent resolve the issue in a timely and efficient manner?
2. Knowledge: Did Everything Everywhere reallyhelp the customer and demonstrate the needed knowledge?
3. Care: Did Everything Everywhere demonstrate care?
Agents now receive customer feedback via online balanced scorecards that highlight peer performance, efficiency, and effectiveness.
Everything Everywhere has seen a jump in many of the areas being measured. Since rolling out the Brilliance program, the company has seen a 27-point increase in its NPS and a 12 percent increase in scores at the agent level. In addition, overall customer experience scores increased since customers were empowered to share their opinions and reward high performers. On the flip side, customers were able to voice their concerns if the contact center agent performed poorly.
For employees, the Brilliance program has resulted in increased bonus payments. A 27 percent increase in NPS had a significant commercial implication on the business. But according to the company, it has been money well spent, returning more than the overall program investment.
Nick Lane is director of Strategy and Planning at Everything Everywhere. For more information, visit http://everythingeverywhere.com.