Raising the Bar on Technical Service Delivery
Phase I: Shifting from averages to individuals
How can a technical service delivery organization at a major national telecommunication company get better, when they’re already a top-of-class contact centre that values coaching and continual improvement? They engaged Orbit and discovered the difference between coaching for results and coaching for performance. And with that, just how much stronger their organization could actually get.
As a service touchpoint for customers, the performance of the technical service organization is critical. Making sure every contact centre experience is positive has a huge impact on loyalty, retention, and ultimately sales for the whole company.
They had previously put a number of measures in place to improve their performance and had installed Orbit’s Compas™ feedback platform to track results, but weren’t seeing the lift they wanted. Their good processes weren’t yielding sufficient gains. Delving deeper into the Compas data, Orbit looked beyond team averages to reveal the vast differences in performance by individuals.
What they found: Only a small percentage of team managers had a high number of their agents meeting all KPIs, with significant scope left for other agents to perform at the same level. The organization quickly realized that to get the gains they wanted, they had to help every individual get closer to the achievement levels of the successful top tier.
For that kind of coaching change to be successful, it has to start at the top.
When the organization was simply managing for results, they ticked off boxes and watched the numbers. With Orbit, they started looking at performance data differently. With the discovery that a small number of people were driving a disproportionate amount of our success came the realization that they had a great opportunity to bring more agents up to that level, by managing for individual performance.
At every level, the organization began thinking about the whole set of behaviours needed to improve the performance of individuals and ultimately deliver the results they wanted. Managers could be more effective if they became responsible for bringing their teams along, not just telling them how they did. They needed to move beyond managing process, towards more holistically managing for the success of each agent.
Four key success factors in the organization’s new approach were:
- Implementing accountability and effectiveness at all levels, including management. For example, all team managers have 15 agents whose scorecards roll up into their own. And, crucially, coaching and effectiveness now constitutes about half of a team manager’s total score.
- Increasing transparency and communication, so everyone understands what’s expected of them, how they’ll be measured, how they’ll be evaluated, and why. Trust is a key component of the mix. Agents and leaders need to feel certain they’re being primed for success.
- Making team leaders a part of the system’s development and involving them early, so they can help create the final process. This pays dividends down the road in acceptance, compliance and enthusiasm.
- Making the goals challenging but achievable when setting up scorecards and KPIs. Too much, too soon, is a disincentive.
The organization implemented Orbit’s Achieve 7™ coaching methodology in addition to the Compas feedback platform they’d already installed. As they implement the full performance system they identified which KPIs and performance gaps were most critical to success. Coaching conversations addressed those priorities and balanced scorecards were developed as part of the process of continual monitoring, adjusting, and improving.
In order to understand what is really going on, organizations have to look beyond the averages. When all levels of the organization are hiding behind averages, the top performers don’t get properly recognized and the less successful don’t get an opportunity to be better. It creates complacency and demotivates everyone.
Management has to be engaged in the program right to the top of the line. Without managers ensuring that performance behaviours are being taught, understood and implemented at every level, gains shrink and people fall back to their old habits.
Communication at all levels, including good listening and acting on promises, fuels the engagement of all individuals, without which progress stalls.
It’s a continuing journey. For an organization that had been hitting every target, it’s exciting to realize they can actually be even better. Their new motto is “Good to great, raising the bar.” With Orbit, they’ll make it not just a mantra but a reality.