John Schumacher is GM Service Support for Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand. John has been a key driver behind the transformation of Fujitsu’s Service Support organisation, which has recently won a number of awards for service excellence. We asked John to give some insight into how to create excellence in customer service…
Where does customer service start, and where does it stop?
It has to start with an aligned view on what constitutes Service. This is formed through understanding how customers and other parts of your organisation see you and your outcomes. What perception do people have of your service? And does that equate to what your staff see as representative of their efforts?
It starts with culture…
This is where the journey on Customer Service started for me. In the true sense – a Service Culture. A Service Culture has to galvanise everyone – their actions, their language, the way they respond to emails, what they live and breathe, when they see a demonstration of Service its recognised and reinforced as the right practice/behaviour/action.
After my first two months in my current role I reviewed as much feedback as I could get my hands on. I wanted to get an understanding of what people thought of my team, our services and the value we bring to the table. This is where everyone must start. I categorised the feedback into three main categories: Responsiveness, Ownership and Communication (ROC). And presented the findings to every team within Service Support (450 staff at the time across Australia and NZ). I simply presented the intent of ROC as a value set and established working groups and competitions to get the elements we needed in place as part of a bigger Foundation of Service Delivery framework. The response I got when presenting the feedback was overwhelming support and a willingness to change the perception of our peer groups, the account teams and ultimately the customer.
You can’t change what you can’t measure…
The first shift for us was to formally measure the good service we were providing, and move away from sending out warning emails about what not to do (which just reinforced negatives). We recognised and rewarded great people and great effort and banked on the fact that those who chose to not be diligent or focussed on Service would see the others made a fuss of and decide to join or leave. It was very important to ensure we recognise the contribution being made at the coal face so we introduced a Compliments Rewards program and for every compliment we received the Staff Member was recognised and given a reward. We now get over 300 compliments a month, where customers who have interacted with my team have felt compelled to write in and tell us it was great.
We now get over 300 compliments a month, where customers who have interacted with my team have felt compelled to write in and tell us it was great.
Get people thinking about customer service from the word Go…
The second major shift was to scrap the Induction training and start all over again. This combined with a review of recruitment established a new approach for how we treat someone new to our organisation. They are left in no doubt we are focussed on Service. We spend the first 5 days (of 12 days) training in Customer Service covering such topics as “What constitutes Service?” and “How to understand Service as an outcome?”. An important part of the training requires the new starter (usually a Service Desk Operator) having to send me an email explaining what Service Means to them and we both sign a Service pledge which gets presented in the graduation ceremony at the end of their training. These emails give a great insight into how the people who are actually servicing the customer are taking their time to think about it. And they are brilliant content wise. Best part is, the individual has spent the time thinking about Service as part of the whole process.
Build a support infrastructure to reinforce the Service Culture…
There are several other key elements that need to be established within a framework. Quality Call Management (Call Recording) for feedback, SLA reporting and breaches being explained in every single instance, ROC Unplugged which drives Service Improvements ideas, Customer Scorecards which are completed by the account team rating the level of Service, and a main portal for communications covering compliments and training registers/ career planning/ staff competitions / compliments leader boards / ROC values and history of ROC.
The success we have had with Foundation of Service Delivery means we will never stop focussing on Service and how to improve it. ROC is now being deployed across all Fujitsu Global Delivery Centres to strengthen the experience we provide customers worldwide and the plans to grow the Framework to a higher standard are already in place.
Over the past 18 months our people have genuinely responded as they want to feel they make a difference each day – and our customers have responded to this. Momentum is an amazing thing, the outcomes of ROC have far exceeded my expectation. People make the difference. Their willingness to deliver Service has really come to the fore with the right framework and training enabling them.
How do we know we are customer centric?
“That ROCS” – more than just a tag line…
For me this is about how people see their roles, the language they use daily, their thoughts and behaviours. It is also about whether we are looking at the right measures and indicators – not just SLAs, but customer commentary and feedback. What I have witnessed over the past 18 months is a vernacular coming into discussions with my peers and with other teams where upon noticing a great piece of feedback or a great initiative everyone (not just my team) is saying “that ROCs”. It’s a strong sign that the culture is being established and it has moved from just my presentations and commentary about intent and vision but that people are seeing it day in and day out through the actions of my staff and the response from our customers.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes…
Breaking down by functional team what Responsiveness, Ownership and Communication means for them and how they can demonstrate it. So here a customer centric sign would be that the approach to any opportunity or situation has a full view on how this impacts the customer. ‘Customer centric’ is more than delivering an SLA – it is about the whole operation being geared to achieve what the customer sees as a successful outcome (in their business terms).
Are there any secret formulas for success?
- Keep it simple. Get the message into achievable blocks, have an implementation schedule that doesn’t confuse or overload (we started with compliments being measured, recognition / rewards structure, and revised Training).
- Clarity. Make the effort to get people clear on what the situation is (or the challenge is) – I am a firm believer that awareness is the first step to any change, so share it all.
- Alignment. The management challenge is making sure you can measure it and most importantly that as a management team you are all aligned and passionate about the journey to establishing a true Service culture.
- Persistence. When you start the journey, don’t take your foot off the pedal. Our program could have easily come and gone in the early stages as we dealt with a multitude of day to day operation issues and challenges.
- Develop a common understanding. The number one lesson for me was that not everyone understands “Service as an outcome” – the goal for any management team must be to get that understanding assimilated across all practices.
- Self promotion. And lastly, promote the success and get the profile as high in the organisation as you can. We have the ROC program endorsed from the President of International Business through to the local management, all signed and framed in the training facility. This is the first thing new starters see when they join Fujitsu via my part of the organisation. It’s the first impression we make on them. Service is king.
My last comment on creating a service culture is that I get tremendous satisfaction out of seeing my staff make a difference. I love promoting their fantastic customer feedback, I enjoy seeing their emails about how ROC training has really prepared them for their role and I am proud of the people who have worked extremely hard to develop and deploy such a world class Service program.
It has been acknowledged by ITSMF as the best Service Desk project in 2012, highly commended by Customer Service Institute of Australia for Service Desk excellence 2012, acknowledged by Learn X for best learning team Award 2012 and is Globally making Fujitsu a stronger Service provider.