Using agile to deliver exceptional customer service for a ‘digital’ generation
The demands of today’s customer are broad, varied and uncompromising. Couple this with unrealistic expectations and it’s no wonder why customer retention is one of the key agenda items in every boardroom around the world.
Here at Clarasys we have seen these challenges first hand. This case study explains how we helped one of our global clients improve their customer satisfaction by 23%. The project involved transforming their customer service from a 10 year old legacy platform to an industry leading implementation of Service Cloud in just 18 months.
Migrating an entire service organisation can be a daunting task, especially if you have a business that has been accustomed to the same technology ecosystem for a considerable amount of time.
It can sometimes seem impossible to imagine how things could possibly change when you consider the amount of time you’ve invested in your current system. A system you’ve been adding to over the years, so surely there cannot possibly be any other solution that could suit the way your organisation works?
For this particular client, it involved getting under the hood of a service organisation supporting 250,000 customers with over 4,500 agents at 100 global locations. Although functional, we quickly realised the client was swimming against the tide. Customer satisfaction had decreased, despite management doing their utmost to prevent it.
After holding interviews across all levels of the business, it told a familiar story. Front end agents wished they could do more, management struggled to get reports they needed, and senior leadership wanted to provide the best possible customer experience.
Outlining a strong foundation is essential when changing something that is so heavily ingrained into the culture of an organisation.
We assembled key stakeholders from across the globe and gathered them together for two weeks of focused workshops. For the purposes of discussion and to define a clear vision for the future, it was important to included employees from a variety of tiers within the business.
Our goal was to find out what worked well, how we could make it better and what caused the most pain for the customers and the agents trying to help them. We realised that establishing a clear vision that everyone understood, whilst hearing war stories from the front line helped senior stakeholders understand the work going on behind the numbers.
As a team, we discussed new and innovative ways of dealing with some of the most common issues facing customer service. These included 24/7 coverage, multilingual support, seamless interactions with technical teams and clarifying the distinction between issue and problem management. By the end of the two weeks we’d generated a feasible backlog of work that we could all envisage taking us to the very forefront of customer service desks.
Using the momentum from the workshop, the backlog was organised into functional areas and epics, with assigned product owners, all of whom were accountable for the end solution. Our consultants shaped the transformation roadmap and drove the successful delivery of the project; managing the delivery of four major releases over an 18-month period.
The clarity that our analysis had given us allowed us to shape our release plan and roadmap to the organisation. We staggered the implementation of key functionality elements and ensured that the architecture was both stable and scalable.
Using Clarasys Agile Methodology (CAM), we worked with the product owners to identify the minimum viable solution that was required to sit as the core of our solution; this would become our initial release to a pilot group of uses just six months into the project. Following this we had planned subsequent releases of layered functionality, incorporating user feedback with each iteration.
As we had delivered the solution in a truly iterative manner, we had not only familiarised the internal support teams and release managers with the solution, but their internal Business Analysts’, Developers and Quality Assurance team were all experts in scoping, planning and delivering under a continuous improvement and an agile delivery model.
Within a month of deployment, we were able to confidently wind down the onsite Clarasys team. This was a sign that we had not only performed the knowledge exchange needed for the solution to be supported by the client without us, but also because the solution itself was robust, even outperforming our own expectations.
Delivering a successful project is just half of the job for a consultant. If the client cannot be self sufficient after the solution has been handed over, then we have not fulfilled the remit of our role. Since the project went live over a year ago, we’ve had time to truly judge the success of what we achieved:
Our client saw a 23% increase in customer satisfaction survey results
A streamlined live chat solution increased agent availability by 40%. This decreased waiting times as well as decreasing time-to-resolution.
The customer’s perception of the agent’s knowledge, which was already high, increased by an additional 13%.
The project won an award for the most innovative use of live chat at the Service Cloud Awards.