Guest Post By James Lawther, Head of Operations Excellence at Royal & Sun Alliance, UK For my sins I am British and we can’t get enough “Triple A” customer service. Oddly if I talk to my American colleagues about “Triple A” customer service I get a very mixed response. The polite ones look at me quizzically; those who have been stranded at the side of the road with a car full of children tend to be a bit more forth right. It took me a while to realise (sorry realize) that Triple A are the guys who fix cars. So to avoid doubt let meRead More →

A report on its own provides little value. It is the analysis partnered with management judgment that holds all of the power. Sadly, there is an epidemic of low value reporting in Corporate America. Millions of pages in excel reports, large data dumps and endless CRM queries that give us the “what”, but nothing more. Leaders are being forced to work on lower value, number crunching activities, our decision making takes longer and ultimately our business results suffer. However, we can treat this epidemic. We can coach and develop our team members to move down the spectrum from reporting to analysis: from data to information.Read More →

If you are in an operations role, you likely enjoy problem solving. It can be fun, challenging and satisfying. But, there is a BIG problem with problem solving….it happens too late in the process. At that point, we did not meet our customers’ needs, we missed our performance goals or we spent more than what we budgeted. In addition, when we invest most of our time in problem solving and fighting fires, we no longer have the time for more value added activities like coaching, training, mentoring, strategic planning etc. Problem prevention is where the party is!  By focusing most of our time on problemRead More →

Today’s post is a combination of venting and advising. Over the past two weeks, I experienced two, completely different customer experiences at a global, well known eyeglass chain; Lenscrafters. One was terrible and the other one was outstanding. Are your customers experiencing the same thing or have you taken measures to ensure and demand consistent and/or repeatable processes? Here’s my “customer experience” story… The purpose of both Lenscrafters’ visits was to adjust the frames on my glasses. If you wear plastic frames like I do, you know that they stretch out and get looser over time and need to be tweaked on a regular basis.Read More →

If you are using a CRM system to manage your technical support or customer service tickets, then you are likely using related system notifications. These are notifications triggered by an action or inaction, and sent to a designated group of employees, customers or both. Customer service teams use notifications for two main purposes, either to generate awareness about a business activity and/or to spur some type of action, such as checking back in with a customer or following up with another department to check on case progress. Ultimately, effective use of CRM notifications will help you achieve your customer outcomes such as achievement of SLAsRead More →

If your position is at a Director level or above, you likely spend most of your time in meetings.  And, while in these meetings, there is often talk about the “front line personnel”… whether you call them agents, analysts, reps etc. What is disturbing about this talk is how many assumptions we make. (And when I say we, I am including myself.)  We rely on opinions formed from months past, anecdotes or second/third hand information, and apply this to current state decision making- which may or may not be relevant. So, what is a leader to do? Get out of the conference room and backRead More →

Leveraging Twitter will help you stay up to date on operations best practices for sales, customer service, marketing and more. Below, please find my picks for operations thought leaders to follow on Twitter. These tweeps publish high quality, operations related content on a consistent basis. Click on the @username to connect to Twitter and follow them. Did I miss an operations expert? Please add their username in the comments section. @ASQ For people passionate about improvement, ASQ is the global knowledge network that links the best ideas, tools, and experts. @BernardMarr Leading global authority and best-selling author on delivering, managing and measuring enterprise performance @bobchampagneRead More →

Are you one of those impatient, results driven, over achiever types? Yeah, me too. However, recently I have changed my mindset a bit, and have begun to savor in the joy of learning, not just the outcomes. Here are some examples. It started with an experiment. In an effort to teach a group of front line leaders how to manage, control and improve processes we did the formal training, but then followed that with some practice exercises. The managers were assigned coaches (I was one of them) and were asked to address real business problems in small teams. What made this different from all ofRead More →

Over the years I have led or been the end user (or victim) of business outsourcing initiatives. Some were very successful, while others were a flop. What’s an Ops Leader to do? Here are 4 specific steps that you can take to increase the likelihood that your project will be successful. Have others? Please add them in the comments section. 1) Ask About The Contract Early In The Sales Cycle During the sales process, some vendors will tell you everything that you want to hear. Then, when it comes down to the contract negotiations, they refuse to agree to certain things in writing. Our legalRead More →