L&D Best Practices: Mar/April 2014
By Linda Oliver, Director, Operations Development and Learning Management, and Carolyn Otto, Business Analyst Advanced, Operations Development and Learning Management (ODLM), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM)
BCBSM customers know they can count on us for their health insurance needs, and we are taking steps to make sure we always listen for their voice. In fact, improving customer experience is one of our corporate goals. As a Training department, we needed to ensure easy access to comprehensive Voice of the Customer information for our customer service representatives (CSRs) and their leaders. To facilitate this, we created a balanced scorecard that integrates critical feedback from training, quality, analytics, and operational call centers.
How the Strategy Evolved
Albert Einstein said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” Life is definitely happening in health care, and BCBSM is committed to keep riding. To do so smoothly, we invested in programs that provide us with Voice of the Customer data. This direct customer feedback from surveys, along with our voice analytics tools, gives us the ability to take the pulse of our customers’ perceptions and proactively prepare for upcoming trends. But we wanted to go a step further. We wanted to see how Voice of the Customer data compares to the quality data we already collected, such as accuracy, completeness, and follow-through. We also wanted to integrate coaching feedback, coaching methods, and individual and team call analytics. Thus, the Health Report balanced scorecard was born.
What the Strategy Entails
Our Training team prepares individual and team Health Reports monthly and shares the results at performance debrief meetings. In the debriefs, representatives from training, quality, analytics, and call center leadership discuss trends and strategize how to best use the data. From these meetings, holistic solutions are put into place involving process improvements, positive communication, huddle discussions, on-the-spot training, and documentation updates. The Health Report scorecards themselves include the following for CSRs and teams:
- Individualized coaching and quality feedback written specifically for each CSR based on his or her overall Health Report
- First call resolution and world-class call statistics
- Accuracy, completeness, and follow-through data
- Positive and negative direct customer quotes about their customer service experience
By combining this data from five distinct sources, we ensure that important elements are not overlooked and that all stakeholders are speaking the same language.
To integrate Voice of the Customer, we needed to build our infrastructure. With this came a few growing pains. The sheer size of the project was a challenge, as in 2013 we rolled out the new program to CSRs across the state, and we did it quickly. This meant we needed resources who could communicate meaningful data to all stakeholders through coaching, calibrations, and debrief meetings. We also needed to ensure the Health Reports were viewed as a positive tool rather than as a “gotcha.”
To do this, we focused on our outstanding pilot results. Comparing performance in June-July 2013 to January- February 2013 (the program began in January 2013), success looked like this:
- Reduced average number of calls to resolve a customer issue by 8 percent
- Improved first call resolution by 9 percent
- Increased percentage of world-class calls by 6 percent
With these pilot statistics, buy-in was easy.
Our results went beyond the call center statistics showing improved call handling. We know the integrated balanced scorecard approach also is contributing to improving our customers’ experience, as customer satisfaction with overall call center experience increased by 4 percent and customer satisfaction with CSR increased by 7 percent after implementation. We are sustaining these results by keeping leadership and individual contributors highly involved in reviewing actual customer comments and by expanding our solid infrastructure.
Implementing a balanced scorecard approach and its infrastructure creates an excitement for training that is palpable. Tips for beginning are:
- Establish a customer service strategy so feedback can be tied to a concrete process.
- Form partnerships and understand each stakeholder’s objectives and statistics. See how each area fits into the overall picture and build your infrastructure to support integration.
- Make sure your balanced scorecard is clear and userfriendly. It is the tangible key to success.
- Be prepared to actively support implementation. We believe our success is rooted in just-in-time coaching for CSRs and their leaders.
- Choose coaches who are catalysts. They must know the business and have the bandwidth to see the criticality of engaging all stakeholders and creating buy-in.
BCBSM’s balanced Health Report scorecard approach has enhanced our understanding and appreciation of how to improve customer experiences. Integrating data to provide an individualized scorecard report for our CSRs was a mighty task, but worth it.
Business Process Management
By Crystal Reilly, Vice President, Capital One University
At Capital One, people are our best asset. We start by hiring great people who are eager to learn and be challenged by their work. We know that helping our associates achieve their maximum potential is an essential part of growing our business and helping our customers succeed.
Each year, our corporate imperatives set the path for success in changing business conditions, as well as reflect our corporate values. To help associates deliver on these imperatives, COU partners with leaders across the company’s lines of business to ensure that everyone has access to learning that is aligned with business needs and each associate’s personal goals. We proactively deliver strategic, holistic development solutions rather than reactive training plans.
What Our Customers Deserve
One of Capital One’s corporate imperatives is to build a company that is well managed. Because of this focus, COU offers robust process excellence learning opportunities. And great processes on the inside allow us to deliver great customer service on the outside.
With our learning partners, COU provides tools, training, and resources to help associates attain various industry certifications, such as Six Sigma Certification, as well as in-house certifications that promote process excellence. Capital One has been on the well-managed journey for more than 10 years. During this time, hundreds of associates have achieved process certification and delivered strong results as leaders in their businesses. Business Process Management, Lean, Green Belt, and Black Belt projects have saved Capital One millions of dollars in the last year alone.
These certifications are an investment in our business and in our people. For the business, certification means that we can expect associates to apply a high level of process expertise in proven methodologies. Delivering in a streamlined, simple way also leads to happy customers and advocates. For associates, it means building an array of skills that can help them stretch into new roles or work toward a promotion.
Building on our Six Sigma successes, Capital One created the Process Excellence for Executive Leadership (PEEL) program. This yearlong program transforms participants into internal Lean Leaders and champions for problemsolving methodology. Supported by mentors, subject matter experts, and consultants, executives apply their learnings to real business problems. Graduates from the program go on to become mentors for future participants.
Using PEEL as a launching pad, we also rolled out the Connect to Process Excellence (C2PE) program. Based on the same problem-solving methodology as PEEL, C2PE is designed to develop the direct reports of the PEEL executives.
Certified by The Ohio State University, PEEL and C2PE equip leaders to focus on process improvement and to develop their organizations around a common problemsolving approach. The programs are based on five common principles:
- Being process-oriented
- Being able to lead as a teacher
- Developing systems thinking
- Performing and promoting test and learn cycles
- Adopting a “learner” mindset
Our Payroll Time and Labor team—led by a PEELcertified executive—recently transformed Capital One’s U.S. payroll service delivery model, significantly improving our payroll quality and reliability, and preparing for future growth. The transformation included changes to our sourcing strategy, technology platform, and pay processes.
We immediately saw the impacts of improved payroll accuracy and production time as we successfully integrated nearly 8,000 new associates in 2012 and 2013 through the acquisitions of ING DIRECT (now Capital One 360) and HSBC’s domestic credit card portfolio.
The team’s focus on continuous improvement has been dubbed a model of process excellence in HR and across Capital One, getting us well on our way to contributing to our corporate imperative of building a well-managed company.
From our experiences on the process excellence journey, we recommend a few steps to reap the benefits of a well-managed, well-executed process:
- First, define your critical and non-critical processes. This will allow you to examine the impacts of each process, prioritize them, and decide which ones should be reengineered first. It’s also important to understand who the customers of your processes are so you can assess who is affected, where, and how.
- Next, identify the executive who owns the critical process, and who on his or her team is responsible for managing the process day to day. Train these individuals on process excellence concepts and tools—educate and empower them to make improvements.
- It’s also helpful to engage true process experts who can coach process owners and managers as they define the process and determine how it can be monitored and controlled over time.
- Support from senior leadership truly is essential in this journey. We look to executives to make the decisions to lead through change, to consistently drive and track associate development, and to reward teams for success.
- Mastering these steps and providing learning and development opportunities can lead to not only new, more efficient ways of working but also to positive changes in company culture and customer advocacy.