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Customer Service Process Optimization

Our client wanted to reduce the cost to provide routine services to their customers without degrading the level of service that was provided.  Their industry is a mix of commodity products, where service and cost are key factors in keeping business, and customized products where service is critical to keeping the customer’s production lines running smoothly.

Key insights 
1. While both the customer service and product planning departments were doing the right things to serve customers well there was duplication of effort between the two teams.
2. Customer service staff often performed tasks requested by their customers without making the trade off between the time spent and the overall benefit derived. Consequently some opportunities for better service were missed while some low benefit tasks were performed.

We brought representatives of the customer service and product planning departments together and facilitated an agreement on which department should take the lead on each task in order to eliminate the duplication. In order to institutionalize these gains and to deal with future needs we set up a process for continual communication and discussion between the departments that focused on the common goal of customer satisfaction.
We built upon the existing classification of customer accounts to create a template of services appropriate to each class of customer and developed a plan to migrate each customer to this service standard. We showed customer service staff how they could apply the standard while keeping or increasing customer approval.

A plan to reduce the cost of customer service by $500K per year was developed and approved.