How A Growing Utility Managed To Cut Its Hiring In Half Even As Customer Numbers Grew – While Improving Service


This case study reveals how we transformed the quality of customer conversations in a contact centre to reduce costs and improve service

We helped our client improve first-call-resolution so much, that
while the number of customers making contact grew by 16%,
the overall number of telephony contacts grew by only 8%.

This meant that for a given increase in the number of customers,
the contact centre needed to grow staff numbers at only half the earlier rate.

We did this while improving customer satisfaction (NPS up >25 points),
improving staff satisfaction (Employee Promoter Score up 20 points). 
We left our client with the skills, motivation and IT tools
needed to sustain and continue to improve their capability.

Meet Alex (Our Contact Centre Manager)

Alex has had problems.  The speed of growth meant that customer numbers had outpaced the rate at which system changes were needed to support the growth. 

Alex had been hiring so quickly that he was at risk of having to reduce his high recruitment standards and possibly reduce staff quality simply to meet his service level goals.

His staff had received system training and product training on induction and were getting 1:1 coaching from their team leaders, but when he listened to calls Alex knew they could do better.  He worried that as the company grew service quality needed to become not just a requirement, but a differentiator for the company.

Alex worked out he had at most 18 months before these issues would become major problems for him.

What Changed

Within 6 weeks of working with Alex his staff were completely aligned to a
new way of working based around coaching and learning.

His Team Leaders were running group and individual coaching sessions with some support,
Alex had a full view of everything that was going on in an easy-to-use coaching monitoring system.

He was starting to see a positive impact on his Net Promoter Score and
compliments were coming in thick and fast even as complaints were dropping.

After 12 weeks the process was self-sustaining.  The team leaders were running the process themselves. 
Staff had less than 2 hours per month off-phone time for ongoing coaching,
much of which replaced previous off-phone time.

FCR was significantly improved and NPS was consistently up 10 points. 
Employee Promoter Score became so good that staff referrals became the primary source of new staff.


How we did it…

Week 1:  We built the business case for Alex and the executive team.  They wanted a return-on-investment in under 18 months.  We ended up promising 12!

Weeks 2-5:  We put in place a new culture across the 40 person call centre, implementing group and individual coaching.  We installed our coaching support system to assist and track the Team Leaders in their own process of learning to coach.

Weeks 6-9:  We started mind-the-gap meetings to intimately connect our coaching back to the promised business metrics – FCR, NPS & Contract Renewals.  Team Leaders started to coach unaided and we started to work to cement the process into the training and support elements of the organisation.

Week 10-12:  We bedded down the process with the teams and helped them set quarterly goals for the coming 4 quarters.  We helped team leaders and the training team integrate the GROW coaching support tool more tightly with the annual HR goals for individuals.  We helped Alex redefine his weekly and monthly meetings to give direction now based on solid data.  We provided a new dashboard of coaching results and business results.



Six months after the programme was completed we benchmarked again.  Things had gotten even better!  Not only had the programme improved outcomes, it had left the contact centre in a position to continue to improve themselves.

Alex is now focussed on working with his executive team to use his centre to differentiate his company without worrying that service level and quality issues will derail him.

Alex is running his (larger) contact centre today -- make contact with us to find out more and talk to Alex


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