Customer Service Transformation

We were engaged by a global health-care company to assess and improve their customer service capability. The organization had evolved through:

  • Internal consolidation of contact centers and support operations
  • Integration of acquired companies

Due to their fragmented operations and Business Unit Silos, the performance suffered. While customers loved the firm’s products, customer satisfaction waned. This had a detrimental impact on customer retention. The CEO was astounded to learn of the inconsistent Service Levels that were a common occurrence. For example, an incoming call to place an order resulted in an average speed of answer (ASA) that exceeded 2 minutes. This resulted in a high abandonment rate exceeding 8%. Customers were literally walking out the door.


We conducted a deep dive assessment of the customer service capability. In addition to the poor performance metrics we discovered, we also found that the supervision was ineffective. As with many organizations, supervisors were promoted into line management from lead functions and provided very little in terms of training and tools. As a result, performance was widely variable and individual-dependent. In addition, there was a serious lack of performance visibility. What few metrics did exist were lagging indicators, which were not immediately actionable by management. Corrective action was non-existent as a result and managers did not have the capability to see when performance levels were deteriorating.

Therefore, our rapid assessment included:

• Process Mapping
• Performance Baseline Establishment
• Initial Capacity Model
• Detailed Implementation Plan

We established implementation goals, an implementation team, and a governance process. This led to a rapid deployment of the solution.


Working with a joint customer team, we developed and implemented optimization tools:

• Capacity plan / schedules
• Daily operating report

These tools were intended to get short-interval management in place and begin to impact the performance through improvement management information. We also evaluated the Voice of the Customer (VOC) and discovered that the service model needed to be realigned to match customer needs. Recurring customers wanted fast support, with no value perceived in service rep continuity. Physicians, however, wanted fast support from the same rep to reduce order management time. Creating a variable service model based on the individual needs of the customer base was vital.

In addition, we found it necessary to redesign the organizational structure to:

• Match resources / skills with customer needs
• Create visibility & improved floor management

With the appropriate organizational structure, we then implemented process and policy changes to reduce workload & balance capacity between work cells and reps. Lastly, we created and implemented Metrics Management Tool & Reporting system. This capability provided real-time information to the managers so that they could make performance adjustments when issues occurred, thus creating a closed-loop performance system.


As a result of this focused initiative, we drove dramatic improvement in service levels to reach best-in-class performance. These metrics, after 4 months, were:

• Reduced average speed of answer by 75 percent (from 118 to 30 seconds)
• Reduced abandonment rate by 66 percent (from 8.8 to 3.0 percent)

In addition to these service improvements, the customer realized a 22% reduction in full-time equivalents (FTEs) at the same time. Over the next year, they were able to use the tools and methods we transferred to them to continue to improve performance levels. A four-fold improvement in performance while reducing cost by over 20% with changes that stuck. The key measure of success.

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