PDMS was engaged by a large logistics and services organisation to undertake a process review of the Customer Services (CS) team. The goal was to examine and evaluate the effectiveness of current end-to-end processes and procedures and develop process maps where required.
Nine processes were identified as being completed by the team. Given the six-week timeframe to ensure the project was completed before the busy Christmas period, we had to prioritise areas where we could add the most value and produce actionable outputs for the organisation take forward.
What did we do?
The project had to be handled sensitively so it was important for our business analysis team to quickly build collaborative relationships with the CS team. The key to our approach was to be facilitators rather than consultants, and follow a process based on collaboration, co-creation, and ultimate ownership by the CS team.
We set up a collaborative project room at our client’s site and conducted 30 workshops and interviews with staff. The outputs were a presentation of the findings and recommendations to the Executive Team.
The overarching methodology we employed followed the Double Diamond design process model.
Discovering the problem
We used the following techniques and exercises to discover the problems:
- Sailboat exercise – using sticky notes to identify positives (what’s the wind in your sails) and negatives (what’s dragging you down) to identify the most important areas to address
- Staff shadowing – shadowing members of staff as they did their tasks to better understand their daily experience to gain an accurate understanding of the processes
- Service Blueprints – unpacking the 9 original processes into 29 distinct processes and producing a Service Blueprint for each, consisting of a Customer Journey Map with pain points, hotspots and constraints across each stage of the journey
Using the Service Blueprint, we were able to structure, synthesize, communicate and identify opportunities, as well as encourage a collaborative and contextual mindset and tell a full story.
Defining the problem
We used the following techniques and exercises to define the problem:
- Ticket sorting – using the CS team’s Case Management System, we conducted a card sorting exercise with tickets from the last two years to identify the root case of each ticket raised, which allowed us to categorise the processes into five types
- Time Tracker and time spent – we asked the CS team to distribute 100 tokens across 5 process types to indicate where they felt they spent the proportion of their time – this exercise was conducted in groups of two or three to reduce the potential for groupthink and deviation
- Scoring – each of the 29 Service Blueprints were annotated with the number of tickets raised and attributed a score based on three factors: Frequency/Quantity, Time Taken, and Difficulty/Pain
- Process pain – plotting the 29 Blueprints on a grid with Difficulty/Pain on one axis and Frequency on the other with plot points scaled by time spent, to create a clear visual representation of where effort was expended and where improvements could be made to derive the greatest value
Developing the solutions
We used the following techniques and exercises to develop the solutions:
- Service blueprints – for each stage pain point or hotspot identified in the Service Blueprint, the CS team proposed solutions or opportunities for improvement
- Co-designing with a cross-functional team – we widened the conversation to other parts of the business, engaging with internal teams, such as projects and IT teams, to identify and discuss feasible solutions
- Strategic factors – we identified relevant factors from the organisation’s strategic business plan and cross-referenced them with solutions and opportunities identified to ensure they were aligned with the strategic direction of the organisation
Putting the solution into action
Following the workshops, research and analysis, we shared the information with the Executive team in an actionable format to allow them to build on it and deliver solutions to the existing operational challenges. We did this by including the following information in our detailed report:
- Effort vs impact plotting – we plotted the opportunities onto an Effort vs Impact grid to identify ‘quick win’ solutions and those which required larger projects to be set up
- Opportunity categorisation – we grouped the opportunities into eight groups then for each group, we provided a description, a series of recommendations and potential benefits
- High-level system requirements – our findings showed that the Case Management System was not fit for purpose and we performed a high-level gap analysis to identify the features to be improved, created, reduced and removed. A software product already in use elsewhere in the organisation was identified as potentially suitable and was to be trialled.
- Standardised complaints crib sheet – we produced a crib sheet with relevant examples to help the CS team identify which enquiries should be recorded in the organisation’s central complaints register
- Service blueprints – we handed over the Service Blueprints to continue as living documents within the organisation’s CS team
- Backlog/roadmap – the high impact/low or medium effort solutions identified were assigned owners and expected timescales
The project helped both the CS team and Executive team better understand their processes, identifying 29 processes as opposed of the original estimate of nine at the start of the project. Most importantly, we were able to help identify service improvements which would, in turn, help the team provide a more efficient and effective service to their end customers.