Remaining Service-Ready During Times of Change

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The power of doing the small things well.

In today’s ever-changing market environment, it’s never been more important to remain agile and business-ready in the face of change.

Over the past 14 years, Abtran’s Head of Performance, Deirdre McCarthy has led a number of complex change projects from the set up of our new Global Services Centre in India through to her role as Service Delivery Manager across a number of Abtran’s highly competitive and regulated client accounts.

In this blog post, Deirdre shares top tips on how to remain service-ready during times of change and the power of doing the small things well.

Revisit the Fundamentals
A changing regulatory landscape can often mean disruption to your business as well as more competitiion for your valued customers. And while the roll-out of new pricing and innovative new products may make your offering more competitive, it’s important not to overlook the value customers place on an easy and joined-up service experience.

That’s why it’s even more important to revisit the fundamentals during times of change and to review the customer journey process as a whole. For instance, how easy is it for customers to access your services? How many steps do they need to go through and are all of these steps necessary? Is your technology integrated to provide that single view of the customer and do your automated systems ensure customers can easily connect with a Customer Service Advisor if they need to? Are all your people equipped with the right systems, processes and performance measures to deliver a differentiated customer experience? And do you have the right mix of channels to serve your omni-channel customer?

Mapping the end-to end customer process from a People, Process and Technology perspective will make it easier to determine if changes need to be applied across the customer journey process as a whole and to then test those changes in a secure and controlled way to ensure they’re focused on the customer and service-ready.

Scale without Compromise
During times of heightened competiton, one of the first responses to change might be a ramp-up of sales and retention activity.

Here, it’s important to have clear goals and realistic plans. For instance, how will you acquire your customers? How will you keep them? And how will you ensure your Customer Operation is sufficiently resourced with the right people with the right experience to scale in a secure way?

One of the benefits of working with a BPO Partner like Abtran is that we help organisations to take the risk out of change by giving them access to the right People, Processes and Technology to scale their business securely and efficiently.

Listen to the Customer
During times of change, it’s even more important to keep a finger on the pulse of what customers are saying about your brand. While Business Intelligence and Data Analytics can offer a wealth of insights into trends and changing customer behaviours, it’s important to also look for qualituative feedback from your staff and to take the time to onboard their ideas and suggestions. During times of new product roll-outs or changing market conditions, many of our clients at Abtran avail of our Social Media Monitoring services. Not only does this give us the ability to ensure training materials and FAQs are continuously updated in line with customer queries, it also gives our clients the opportunity to make improvements or changes to a new product or service early on.

Importance of People
Very often, your people are the only human connection point with your brand. So having experienced people who are trained in appropriate empathy, listening and service techniques is just as important as training your people around changing processes and sales skills.

According to Abtran’s Global Consumer Insights report, the people who interact with your customers play a key role in influencing customer perception of a brand regardless of whether it’s a face-to-face, online or a voice interaction. During times of change, it’s partiularly important to review any gaps in training and to recognise the value of experienced, tenured staff while ensuring your teams are armed with the right listening, empathy skillsets across the sales and service functions.

Put the Right Metrics in Place
In a changing competitive or deregulating landscape, it’s important to recognise the importance of the Customer Service team as well as the Sales or Customer Acquisition function. Taking time to review quality and performance measures like First Call Resolution (FCR) as well as Average Call Handling Time (AHT) or ‘Talk Time’ can help to ensure your Sales as well as your Service teams are armed with the right balance of KPIs that reward them for delivering a high quality experience that leads to long-term and satisfied customer relationships.

Keep the Communication Lines Open
It’s important to remember that any change that impacts your customer in turn impacts your organisation as a whole. Keeping the communications lines open and issuing regular quality and training updates across all your teams not only ensures they remain informed but are also empowered to offer customer feedback and continuous improvement and to become an integral and proactive part of your organisation’s change programme.

At Abtran, we operate a very open and collaborative partnership approach with all our clients. This means we have visibility of change early on, which in turn enables us to pilot and test new ways of doing things. Our ability to share insights also helps our clients to become more connected with their customers’ changing needs and expectations while helping to shape their market strategy and differentiate their brand.

Remain Service-Ready for Success
For organisations that wish to stay relevant and connected with their customers, change can be a positive disrupter that drives a continuous programme of service improvement and innovation.

Here it’s important to remember that succeeding through change is not all always about the latest technologies or large-scale change programmes. Often, it’s the little things that can make a powerful impact in the way customers experience your brand. Building a culture that’s open to change not only empowers organisations to remain agile and ever-ready in the face of change but to become more connected with your people and your valued customers as a whole.

Find out More
In 2018, Abtran is celebrating 21 years of delivering service on behalf of trusted organisations operating in highly regulated and competitive market sectors. We take the risk out of change by helping our clients to remain compliant and service-ready and by delivering a stand-out customer experience to their customers. To find out more about how Abtran can help your organisation remain service-ready, visit: www.abtran.com/services/service-readiness/ or email the team at: info@abtran.com.

Gary Sayers

Chief Operating Officer

Gary has been with Abtran since 2011 and in his role as COO, he has overall responsibility for Abtran’s operational process. He ensures that Abtran maintains service excellence through consistent, industry leading delivery solutions. Gary works in close partnership with operational teams to execute the company’s vision, goals and growth strategies.

Gary has a wealth of experience in Customer Service Management, Operational Transformation, Customer Engagement, Operating Model efficiencies and Stakeholder Management across a number of sectors. In his role as COO, Gary has a significant focus on sponsoring the career development pathways of our people.

Gary holds a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and has a Degree in both Civil Engineering and Sustainable Energy Technology 

Marie Downey

Chief Performance Officer

Marie has worked with Abtran since 2019 and has 20 years of experience as an IT and service optimisation leader. In her role as Chief Performance Officer, Marie has overall responsibility for Abtran’s product service offering, service design, and service capability including all PMO activity. She is a highly skilled relationship and people manager and constantly seeks to innovate and collaborate to deliver the best service outcomes.  Since joining Abtran, Marie has overseen a number of successful mobilisations of new service contracts and led our strategic initiative portfolio. Prior to working with Abtran, Marie worked with several leading multinational organisations. She is a graduate of University College Cork, holding a Bachelors degree in Commerce and Masters degree in IT and Management Accounting.

Chief Technology Officer

Paul joined Abtran in early 2020, bringing nearly 20 years experience in the IT industry. 

As CTO, Paul’s technical leadership is centered upon articulating a clear vision and strategy. He is responsible for aligning the technology vision for Abtran with the business objectives. He has overall leadership of the execution of technology strategy, partnerships and external relationships. Paul draws on a wealth of experience in designing scalable distributed systems and is focused on evolving our IT engineering capability. Prior to joining Abtran, Paul worked with international FinTech and Telecommunications organisations. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Engineering from the University of Limerick.