Looking Upstream - The benefits of focussing on your people

Written by Jonathan Paton
21 Jun 2023
Transformation People and Culture Customer Service

Considering broader people transformation, rather than isolated symptom-driven fixes, can have a huge impact on your EBITDA. In this blog, Jonathan Paton shares his thoughts on adopting the 'upstream' approach.

People are important. They run our businesses!

You’ve heard it before: “Our people come first.” Many companies mention this statement as part of a broader culture definition. After all, it’s people who enable servicing processes to be fulfilled, ultimately delivering a service or outcome for customers.

However, when regularly monitored ‘standard’ service metrics start to dip, it’s very easy to become distracted from this and focus on the symptom. For instance, you might notice negative trends in Average Handle Time (AHT) or Net Promoter Score (NPS). How often would you react by questioning ‘Are the processes being followed correctly?’, or ‘Are we staffing at the right levels?’. These may well be correct avenues to dive into, but is there also a more fundamental issue?

It's the same story for First Time Resolution and Attrition too. You might wonder, ‘Do we have clarity in our front-line support tools?’, but this still on many occasions overlooks the root cause of the problem.

It’s very common that people are neglected from these thoughts. By just looking at process adherence, capacity management, support tools etc, often the most important question not being asked is ‘Are our people ok?’.

Power to the people

People are the start of every process. By making the conscious decision to engage and empower your teams, you’re better placed to drive long-term improvements in service quality.

It’s crucial that everyone knows their role, and how these fit into the bigger picture of what you’re trying to achieve. If your people understand how they’re personally making a difference, they will become inspired to deliver with confidence and purpose. These factors all contribute to how well processes are then followed, which hugely influence the levels of service provided to customers.

Despite the clear flow-through of this thinking, many organisations will only actively consider ‘employee engagement’ via quarterly or half-year surveys before reacting off the back of results, often creating more change that has negative impacts on people.

A better way - Adopting a complete approach

At BFY we deliver a range of tactical Operational Excellence projects, to improve metrics such as NPS and AHT, and it’s clear that these types of projects are invaluable in remedying recurring problematic areas.

We also see the bigger picture, offering fundamental People and Culture Transformation initiatives, focusing on improving people and how they are managed, to set things in place 'upstream' in the servicing process. Whether on their own or combined with Operational Excellence projects, this can have a hugely positive long-term impact on downstream customer servicing; reducing handling time, repeat contacts, as well as attrition – all reducing bottom line costs.

You may be looking to reduce attrition within your in-house frontline servicing teams or external service provider. Perhaps AHT and repeat contacts are the issue, or you’re looking to improve NPS/CSAT. Whichever it is, we can help you unlock the benefits of positive transformational change, focusing on the most important part of your business – your people.

To find out more about how we can help, contact Jonathan Paton.

Jonathan Paton

Jon specialises in Customer Operations leadership, customer contact, and operational service delivery transformation/improvement.

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