Alright, Already. How Do I Really Improve Operations at My Company?

We last reviewed the impact of training on developing an excellent OpEx program at your organization. So now what? This week we look at operations itself. 

Alright, Alright, Alright … We have hired rocks stars and even ensured they have the right training place in order to continuously develop their skill set. Now let’s talk about running the show itself.  

This is our fourth foray into talking about OpEx and we already know the core mindset of a company that is focused on operational excellence is that of continuous improvement and this is where things really start to get interesting. 

The term “operations” is traditionally used to refer to a specific department within an organization. However, in the case of a company that is focused on OpEx the term operations is the day-to-day running of the business and if falls on every employee regardless of their title or department. 

Operationally “excellent” companies continuously analyze the duties performed by each person in every department and overall company results. By embracing this holistic approach, organizations proactively identify opportunities to enhance employee and customer experiences. OpEx organizations take these opportunities and implement changes allowing them to continuously improve.

In order for a company to even reach this stage, they have already defined and documented core policies and procedures. Not only are they documented they are well known throughout the company and followed. These processes impact employees before they are even hired and how a company deals with the results of losing an employee as well. Administrative duties are aligned to the correct support function allowing people managers to focus on employee development through ongoing 121 meetings; focusing on performance and continuous improvement. In true operational excellence style, these documented processes are continuously iterated on to increase their effectiveness as well as audited to ensure accountability. 

Unlike the other pillars of Operational Excellence, we have talked about success metrics here are not as black and white. The right success metrics to measure operations should include metrics related to employee management, customer perception, and efficiency/effectiveness below you’ll see some of our favorites. 

  • Employee Metrics: (eSAT, Retention, Coaching/Meeting Compliance)

Why these matters: According to a 2018 study conducted by the University of Southern California, less than 50% of employees are satisfied and engaged in their work. This has a direct impact on retention when an employee is dissatisfied with their work not only are they 1.5 times more likely to leave the company they are also 10% more likely to have poor customer experience results. 

In our earlier OpEx post about training and recruitment, we talked about how even having to replace a single employee costs a company on average $18,000 and that is after the damage has already been done in productivity, quality, and customer satisfaction.  

So we know that having unsatisfied employees impacts our retention but how do you know if they are unsatisfied? Sure, you can conduct an annual survey and by that time it may already be too late. However, if you are meeting with your direct supports (yes, I said supports) 121 on a regular basis, you can find out what is wrong and make an effort to improve their satisfaction before they completely disengage. This applies to every people manager from the frontline manager right up to the CEO themselves. 

  • Customer Perception Metrics: (Effort, CSAT, VOC)

Why this matters: According to Gartner, there is a platitude of reasons why Customer Effort (CES) matters with one of the top impacts being NPS results. Gartner goes on to say that companies with low customer effort have NPS scores that are 65 points higher than those with high customer effort scores. 

In a project that was conducted for a major software developer’s [name redacted to protect the then OpEx challenged] cloud-based platform. It was determined that all three of these metrics were at play. By using the voice of the customer data we were able to link concerns with the effort of understanding the companies billing policies and the ease of finding out if their software was impacted by a platform outage to over 40% of all customer dissatisfaction. We developed a redesign of the companies’ help center and internal messaging to curb this and as a result, we reduced customer desertification by over 90% related to these two issues. The bottom-line results for this improvement resulted in a 17% increase in customer retention and a 10 point increase in CSAT.

  • Efficiency Metrics:  (AHT, Schedule Adherence, %ACW/AHT)

Why this matters: While a lot of people look at these metrics and say they have no place in a CX driven organization nothing could be further from the truth, especially in a company that is hoping to achieve operational excellence. In a 2019 report from CallMiner has summarized AHT matters to the point of finding the optimal AHT for your business. What this actually means is that the shortest AHT may not net you the best results for the customer experience and even for your efficiency. 

Case Study: in a value stream mapping exercise conducted in 2018 TaskUs Consulting was able to identify multiple areas where AHT could be optimized to be efficient without any negative effects on the customer experience. By just changing one step on every call this eliminated 9 seconds per call at the end of the year these 9 seconds per call amounted to a cost savings of over $80K.

Ultimately the right metric(s) to measure success related to operations will vary based on the industry the company is competing in, the channels the company supports and even the company’s own maturity.

In our next entry in this series, we will talk about an overlooked area of OpEx: Client Success. 

Do you have questions about async that you don’t see here? Get in sync with Ben and drop him a note,


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November 06, 2019