Call to Excellence Conference 2016 – Key Learnings

Call to Excellence Conference 2016 Key Learnings

Call to Excellence 2016 Conference 

The Call to Excellence 2016 Conference kicked off in Melbourne today with a bunch of great speakers and a very engaged and eager to learn audience.

Fiona Keough, CEO Auscontact is chairing the conference and opened with her usual energy (high!!!) and ensured that people got to know each other early on with some networking before getting into the keynote speaker for the day, Patrick Nesbitt from Australia Post.

Patrick took the audience on the transformation journey of Australia Post over the past 6 years. And its fair to say its been significant!

From starting with six state-based call centres with disparate systems and processes and consolidating them into two facilities (something I know a little about!) combined with the implementation of a completely new technology platform, leadership teams and a new workforce all while adopting to the changing customer landscape with significant reductions in mail volumes its one hell of a journey!

Here are some of the key takeaways from his presentation:

  • Put free wifi in the lunchroom to help get mobiles off the floor
  • We expect variation in peoples performance, but by having the tools to identify those variations we have the ability to pair up our low achievers with our high achievers
  • Moving our people from a talkist to a typist
  • We now test for tech literacy in recruitment. Service is teachable, tech just takes too long.
  • Be prepared when trialling new processes that it will lead to increased AHT
  • Also when talking about implementing something new it’s about educating our staff on having different conversations, not adding to the existing ones.
  • The Social Media team has grown from 1 person in 2011 to 15 in 2015. And right now its at 30!
  • The business has been transformed from a $50-60M cost centre to a $300M lead generation centre
  • Volumes have reduced by: -42% Paper-based complaints, -13% voice traffic, -26% email traffic
  • Volumes have increased 500% in their customer portal, 152% Social Media, 111% chat
  • Australia Post track 3 different measures in a post-transaction survey 1. NPS 2.Agent Satisfaction 3. they mix the third one up a bit, currently measuring First Call Resolution
  • Consider themselves good at multi-channel, aspirational to be good at omnichannel
  • Moving to the CBD (from the suburbs) has enabled recruitment of more tech-savvy candidates

The team at Post have done an amazing job and it will be interesting to keep track of their continued transformation.

We also received a great presentation from Fiona Evans, Customer Service VP for DHL.

Fiona began her presentation relating some of her personal experiences and how they related to the workplace – I’ll let her tell the story when you meet her but suffice to say it was interesting!

The key takeaway from Fiona’s presentation was the absolute commitment to an amazing customer experience and the importance of empowering your staff to be able to deliver one. Here are some key takeaways:

  • They have achieved a Grade of Service of 90% in 10 seconds since 2009!
  • Their culture is built around Speed, Right 1st Time, Can do, Passion
  • Check for values in recruitment. If values aren’t important to someone then they won’t be able to adopt ours
  • All the leaders are certified trainers
  • They run a DHL’s Got Talent night in every country with the winner flown to complete for the Global award in Dubai
  • Staff are empowered to send flowers, gift cars etc if they feel it is necessary (and Fiona provided some amazing stories of how this has been put to good use)
  • DHL have a Be Insanely Customer Centric (BICC) club. To be part of the club you have to meet minimum performance standards. Being part of the club gets you extra rewards and invitations to cool events.
  • Their business plan is significantly focussed on having motivated people
  • The regularly benchmark themselves against their best competitor
  • The focus on staff engagement is paying off. Turnover has reduced from 34% in 2009 to 10% in 2016. Sick leave has also decreased from 5.5% to 2.5%.

A great presentation and I am thinking there are a lot of people who were sitting in the room wondering where they can apply!

Of course, there were many other great speakers throughout the day as well as an informative panel discussion. Can’t give away all the secrets though 😉

Day 2 Call to Excellence Conference 2016 

Following up from a great first day, the second and final day was again jammed packed of quality speakers.

The day was chaired by Kevin Watts, General Manager, Global NBN Centre of Excellence, Telstra (that’s one hell of a title!) who did a great job of keeping everyone on track and ensuring the audience were kept on their toes!

Steve Nuttall, Director of Research, Fifth Quadrant gave some interesting insight into changing customer expectations:

  • 83% of Australian consumers expect personalisation to increase
  • 78% of consumers are happy to have organisations share data if it creates value for them
  • 74% of businesses are happy to have organisations share data if it creates value for them

One of the best contact centre experts I know (and all round good bloke!), Steve Mitchinson, then provided us with some insight into his latest role as Director of Customer Service Delivery, Department of Transport Western Australia.

Steve has a wealth of executive level experience in the contact centre/customer experience industry so it was a terrific insight into some of the thinking and tools he applies to assist him.

Following a delicious lunch (terrific buffet!) Rebecca Ullman, Senior Manager – Customer Operations, Canon Australia took to the stage and walked us through her experience with outsourcing/offshoring operations:

  • If your sole driver for outsourcing is cost reduction you will fail
  • You have to know the end to end process before you can outsource it
  • Outsource the processes that the consumer doesn’t value.
  • Beware of change fatigue with your workforce
  • Three causes of customer complaints:
    • Ill thought out processes
    • Ill-trained staff
    • People
  • Invest in quality compliance person in your off-shore operations to check compliance against your quality standards (not there’s)
  • Treat them like they are part of your family – share the same R&R programs, internal competitions

Rebecca’s three top suggestions:

  • Invest in people who provide the service YOUR CUSTOMERS value
  • For processes NOT valued by your customers  – review and simplify then automate, digitise or consider outsourcing
  • Quality counts – measure, watch and consistently tweak

Ulrike Ernst, Head of Service – Customer & Technical, BSH Home Appliances then gave us some great insight into the Bosch Siemens contact centre.

Ulrike has taken a small contact centre struggling to keep up with demand (think two hour wait times!) to working with her UK counterparts to now jointly manage the customer base across both countries.

By teaming up with the UK and leveraging their size and experience the transformation has been impressive:

  • Ability to offer extended hours to their customers
  • Reduced costs
  • UK uses the Australian centre to cover their nightshift (which was previously outsourced)
  • Service levels now 80% in 20 seconds

Ulrike’s next challenge is to move the location of her contact centre – applying her engineering skills and an engaged workforce I’m sure it will go smoothly!

Theo Naicker, Operations & Training Manager, Client Services, Colonial First State, Commonwealth Bank then officially claimed the first prize as the longest job title of the day!

Theo gave a very passionate and informative presentation on how to align your customer service strategy to the corporate strategy.

Along with some great tips he provided some visual stimulation with an example of a Business Value Chain and a Customer Needs Value Map (refer pictures).

In a great explanation, Theo used the example of a customer calling Ticketek wanting to buy concert tickets.

The customer service agent, wanting to provide a high level of service was trying to engage the customer in conversation when all the customer wanted was to buy concert tickets FAST to ensure they got the best seats.

The longer the customer service agent spoke, the further towards the back of stadium the customer was going to be sitting!

The lesson – understand what the customer wants and deliver to that expectation.

It was then panel time! Theo, Ulrike and Kevin threw it open to the audience to discuss what the call centre of the future might look like.

Some good thoughts from the audience including:

  • Contact centre agents will start to get a true total view of the customer
  • Working from home will continue to increase as an option
  • Increased automation of simple calls will lead to increased complexity of calls being handled by live operators

The remainder of the conference featured a Case Study by Anita Nath along with a workshop lead by Shayne Jackson before Kevin Watts wrapped up what was a great conference!

Hope you enjoyed the recap from the Call to Excellence 2016 conference.

To see what other events are coming please visit our Events Calendar.

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