Reducing errors and service failures from sale to installation.
Poor customer service
Virgin Media had experienced years of customer criticism for poor service, with low levels of customer retention. Initially focusing on new customers, they set out a medium-term objective to improve the customer experience, encompassing the process from the point of sale and order entry through to installation.
Development and implementation of one best way
The initial focus was the telephone sales area where ‘sales order entry’ had historically exhibited performance issues resulting in repeat customer calls (failure demand) as well as installation and service problems further down the line. Focussed training work was done to ensure skills transfer to the team.
A pilot programme was initiated in two telesales teams, both at the same sales site. The first step was supporting experienced sales agents in analysing and developing ‘best practice’ for effective sales techniques and processing orders into internal systems.
Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) was used to identify critical control points and the ‘one best way’ was developed and captured into user guides; simple and effective user-level documentation supported by modifications to the call structures.
The new best practice was trialled within the pilot teams and monitored for success using simple visual performance management tools. Additional improvement work also focused on the visual environment, introducing visual skills matrices (linked to training in the new one best way) and team performance boards used to support daily team briefings. Concurrently, the effectiveness of the team work area was improved using the ‘5S’ philosophy to keep order in the area and ensuring, for example, that key reference information was up to date and available.
The pilot proved immensely successful and senior managers had no hesitation in authorising the roll-out of what became known as the ‘model office’ approach, initially across the pilot site and subsequently across all the sales sites.
25% reduction in installation failures, lasting impact on customers
Engagement from sales staff was excellent, and feedback extremely positive. All key performance indicators improved in the pilot when compared to the rest of the site:
• Customers calling pre-install reduced to one third of previous levels.
• Installation failures reduced by a quarter.
The early success in the sales area created a group of advocates at senior management and director level with an appetite for deeper and broader implementation. The programme went on to deliver similar success stories in a number of key areas of the business, creating real impact with customers.