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New Black Belt needs help!!

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  • #49420

    Jodee
    Participant

    Hello!
    I am a brand new black belt who supports customer service in my business. I have been assigned my first project with the title “optimize the customer experience.” Unfortunatly, my company has ZERO current quality metrics in place. All current reportable data is around speed of execution and even those do not measure what I am looking for.
    The Voice of the Customer indicated low satisfaction in these five areas:
    Problem solving
    Finding alternate products/ product knowledge
    Response Time (follow-up)
    Accuracy of Response (Bad information)
    Overall confidence in all reps (prefer speaking to one person over another or continue to call in until they get the answer they receive).
    Can anyone offer me some advice on how to move forward with data collection? Every process we have is varied. We have very little standardization in any aspect and we have no current measurement system. Being that I have only lead a couple of Kaizen events and have limited experience, I am a little overwhelmed.
    Advise please??

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    #168917

    A T Ansari
    Participant

    Hello JodeeYou need to have basic things in place before beginning for any improvement project. Go for ISO if auto ancillary ISO/TS to standardize your operations and not for certificate. Then start six sigma.
    Quality is commitment of TOP MANAGEMENT, and as you mention “ZERO current quality metrics in place”, clearly shows the level of commitment!

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    #168918

    Brandon
    Participant

    Jodee, you are on a path to make a typical mistake of a new BB. A project titled “optimize the customer experience” is far too large in scope. That may be an appropriate title for a group of projects or a program objective.
    I suggest you frame a number of projects that will, in total, accomplish or move your firm to that objective. You have listed 5 areas to improve…there may be multiple projects within each of those.
    A great deal of the power of SS is that it is precise in looking at the details and finding solutions for each process. For that objective to be accomplished each project must be as granular as necessary to make each piece operate properly.
    Suggestion – within the 5 areas define all processes contributory to that objective. Write a quick Problem Statement for each. Use this drill to scope and prioritize the potential projects. Then as you decide the priority, FIX each process…remember fix the X’s and the Y will improve. You are seeking incremental improvements through each project.
    Good luck.

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    #168919

    Swaggerty
    Participant

    Hi Jodee,
       I’ve been where ur right now…so i know its pretty crazy.
        First of all, i suggest  u do a pareto analysis, to identify as to which of the above categories contributes the most to ur D-Sat. On a rough hunch, i would say “agent knowledge”.
            Probably the best part of working in a service industry is the availability of data ( some useful..most useless), so handling ur measure phase ( in terms of current C-Sat, AHT, abandon rate, etc, no of calls coming in) ought to be easy.
           Anyways, breaking things down further, is there any particular problem( category) that contributes to ur highest no of defects?
          Can u mistake proof this scenario ( For ex: Roll out flowcharts on the floor, etc??). Alternatively, can u hold huddles to enhance agent knowledge?
        Once you start identifying ur problem areas, and then start workin on potential solutions, your one step further to improving ur customer satisfaction
    George

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    #168933

    Eric Maass
    Participant

    Hi Jodee,
    I think some of the other responses have given some helpful advice…but since, you asked for advice in general, I’ll go ahead and add some more advice:
    1) Regarding your VOC: How many different people were interviewed? How were the interviewees selected?  If it was a small number (say, less than 10), or if the interviewees self-selected after bad experiences, you might not have an adequate and unbiased sample. You might want to redo the VOC gathering.
    2) If your VOC does seem reasonable – perhaps you might want to set up metrics for those areas
    3) Assuming your VOC is reasonable, it seems like several of the areas overlap, and might point to a common cause:a) Accuracy or Response (Bad Information) might relate tob) Finding alternative products / product knowledge   (ie, the respondees might think that they received bad information because the person was not knowledgeable about the products)…..which might relate to:c) Overall confidence in representatives,because the representatives don’t seem to be that knowledgeable,…and tod) Response time (follow up), because the rest of “Overall Confidence” implies that the respondees got the run around and had to go through several people to get an answer they have any confidence in.
    4) The general theme here seems largely to go with the knowledge of the representatives…which already implies a solution (ie, training), but you don’t want to jump to a conclusion and a solution too quickly.
    5) So….I would verify the VOC, perhaps do a new survey or study to gather VOC to confirm and get more insight.
    6) I would gather a team that includes some of the representatives, share the VOC with them, and have them help to select metrics (Measure),  determine if, as I t hink, these problems have a common cause (Analyze), then brainstorm with the team – and perhaps allowing other representatives to have a chance to hear what’s going on and to make suggestions (that helps with buy-in for the solution that comes later), and then select some alternative solutions for consider and perhaps piloting (Implement).
    Best regards,Eric

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    #168940

    Jodee
    Participant

    Eric and Everyone,
    Thank you all for your suggestions. You have given me some hope that this project is actually do able and I can get started.
    I agree that it could turn into a body or program of work, which is kind of exciting for a first timer like me. Each experience will make the next time easier, right?
    Anyway, as far as verifying the VOC, I do have the VOE that supports the VOC almost dead on. The questions asked the employees to name the reasons why customers do not get first call resolution and many of the customer complains came up as employee complaints. Another survey with our sales department indicates similar results , so all three current surveys (of appropriate sample size) indicate the same thing. They all seem to have the same impact.
    Eric, I like how you looked at each of them possibly causing each other. I had kept looking at them as seperate problems, but I agree that they could be a loop. I will definely have to review that.
    Please let me know if you agree with my game plan. I am going to run a series of fishbone diagrams for each of the major topics to see if we can identify some of the root causes for the overall customer distrust and disatisfaction. Where there is overalp, is where I will direct my charter. I know my sponsor will be comfortable with what ever I choose because this is her first project as well. What do you all think? Am I in the right ball park?

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    #168963

    Sloan
    Participant

    Jodee,
    It sounds like you have a pretty good game plan in the works. I agree with what someone said earlier about the project title, “Improve the Customer Experience” being way too broad and too general.
    As you begin to categorize your area of opportunity and get down to the point where you can take action, I would encourage you to get razor sharp in your focus. I encourage my GB’s/BB’s to do this with their problem statement for their project charter. I cant tell you how many flowery, ambiguous, unfocused problem statements I have read over the last few years. When I sit down with the project leader, push all of the paperwork aside and ask someone to tell me what is wrong in as few words as possible, I get amazing clarity if the project leader really understands the problem. I tell people to give me the “elevator version” of the problem.
    Once someone can explain the problem in one short sentence, then I tell them to convince me “why I should care” about the problem. That is the business case. For example, I once worked with a tax department of a large global corporation. They said they had a problem keeping track of all of the tax filings and tax payments. The initial “problem statement” was a full paragraph that rambled on about the desire to be the best company and improve efficiency etc, etc. I read through it and circled one sentence that mentioned the actual problem. I asked if this was the problem they wanted to fix and they said it was. Then I asked, so what? Why is late filing and payment a problem? If I was the guy in charge, why would I care about that? The response was that the company paid penalties as a result of the late filings, but they did not have a figure for the total cost. After I sent them away to find the bottom line, they were all shocked to see that the company had spent huge $$ over the past several years paying penalties for late filing. It made the hair stand up on the back of my neck! To me, that’s the sign of a good business case. If someone can explain a problem in one sentence and then their business case makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck, you have a problem that needs to be fixed and fast!
    So as you work your way down from the broad, ambiguous to the specific actionable, pay close attention to the problem statement and the business case. You will set your teams up for quick wins and create the kind of urgency needed to move rapidly. Make your projects a little narrower and a little more granuler than you think is necessary. You will be surprised how much time some of the apparently “simple” projects will actually take.
    Good luck.
    Outlier

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    #168966

    Howe
    Participant

    Jodee,
    You are probably deep into your game plan by now but,  I would suggest that you 5S your process.  You mention that there are some responders that seem to know more than others.  It will be easier if as a team you sort through the “knowledge” and clean up  the incorrect information or “bad” information.  Once you sort through all of the different types of questions and responses you can begin to build a “standard” for response.  This standard will begin to serve you as your “baseline” for SS improvements.  You will have something to measure. 
    Process improvement will come as you standardize your responses and can begin to identify the patterns of questions.  Each responder can have a checklist of the standard questions and check off each time a question on the list is asked.  Each day the responders can have a short “market meeting” and share new questions and how many “hits” they recieved on the “standard questions”.  This will keep your list current (patterns will develop and then be added to your “standard questions” list) and your responders will be able to hear from each other how to respond.
    Give the team training on the nature of 5S and set it up as a week long Kaizen event, if possible.  Doing this first will make your Black belt project much more meaningful and succesful.
    Best of luck.  You will do a great job!!!
    Marion

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    #169002

    Eric Maass
    Participant

    Hi Jodee,
    Yes, I think your game plan should work!
    Best regards,Eric

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    #169010

    Ron
    Member

    Six Sigma toolkit is a process oriented system. I agree with other who have srtated your project definition is far to vague however, sometimes you have to work with what you get.
    Start by defining the measurements required to determine Customer Statisfaction then interogate the procees(s) utilized to deliver the customer experience.
    Use your tool that you learned

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    #169078

    BCG
    Participant

    It seems there are no foundations to support your project success. I would recommend you to narrow your scope to one specific problem and start getting information around it while developing DMAIC methodology. Standard work, FMEA’s, Job Instruction training are tools that you will be implementing during your project.
    One important thing you will need is 100% of Management  support.
    Good Luck!

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    #169080

    Jodee
    Participant

    Thank you to everyone who responded. I am slow moving, but I am trying desperately to find my primary and secondary metrics that I am looking to improve. Right now they are driven on satisfaction metrics across three different segments of our business. I need to pull them all apart to see where each business segment is in order to determine appropriate goals for each one. Once I do that, I will begin to write multiple charters for each of the business segments and narrow my first project to the one that will make the largest impact to the most needed business unit. I think I am being a bit over anxious. I want to start mapping and getting started in the DMAIC process, but am stuck in the discovery phase. I am still trying to figure out my problem before I can move in and begine to Define it clearly.
    Thank you for all of your advice. I will definetly be posting to this message board again as I move through my project :)

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    #169084

    Jonathon Andell
    Participant

    It sounds like you have some good data, and you got some good responses in this discussion forum. If you get the time I’d advise you to read Rob Lawton’s book “Creating a Customer-Centered Culture.”
    One last bit of advice: when you nail this down to a project or two, be sure you have identified the PROCESS(ES) being operated. That may cause you to look back to develop some process-specific metrics, but the tools of DMAIC (and Lean) should be effective at that stage.

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    #169088

    Gary L. Dillard
    Participant

    Jodee,
    It seems you received excellent information from many resources.  I am not SS certified, but a 15 year Inudustrial Engineer.  The last few years titlted as Continuous Improvement Coord. 
    Projects do need to be defined with ease of understanding and roadmap of goals. The 5 areas listed should be projects collecting the root cause of each and corrective action report out of each.
    Metrics need to visual!
    We used the SQDIP chart as a visual metric
    Safety, Quality, Delivery, Inventory, Performance
    One reply mentioned 5S 1st;  I agree completely ; however the new age term is now 5S + 1 or 6S
    Safety 1st ; Sort, Set, Shine, Standardize, Sustain
    TWI: Training Within Industry is a method used to capture job function descriptions to create standards for daily operations.  This gives standard work to become effective for managers and knowing how operations are handled routinely.
     
    good luck  GLD  IE

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    #169165

    Margaret
    Participant

    In order to optimize the customer experience, you need to determine what the current experience is, and what your customer sees as the “optimal experience.”  It is that simple.   You have the systems data to rely on, but focus groups with your customer’, as well as the reps whoi take the calls, will help you determine the VOC. 
    Sounds exciting!  Good luck.  

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