Datawatch is one of the first companies to adopt the British Code of Service Management with its Quetzal/SC product.
According to Tony Sumpster, UK operations director of Datawatch, successful service-level management is based upon the understanding that the service parameters which are set anticipate every possible event and not simply those entered into by the customers' end-user and the service supplier (the helpdesk or customer service management desk).
In Datawatch's view this explains why organisations need to invest time in understanding every potential problem scenario before designing the service management process that will underpin a service provider's ability to support every customer.
Service-level management is the process that defines, manages and controls the perceived service which needs to be delivered/contracted between service providers, the business and/or the customer/end-user and third-party suppliers.
It is the latter party that often disrupts the service level which is in place and therefore it must be understood that there may be multiple service-level targets need to be operated to satisfy one service-level agreement.
Service level targets are the control processes with which the service provider will manage a customer call and have sight of issues as they occur and can escalate additional actions to ensure a call is resolved in time.
Typically, time and customers' expectations can be lost when a third-party supplier is contracted to provide the fix.
In the event a that call is in danger of going beyond its service level agreement, the targets provide that visibility to allow the service provider to manage the customers' expectations and communicate status. And of course performance reporting is essential to ensure that service-level improvements can be made and the correct resources are available to underpin the support process.
Without having appropriate execution of all parts of the process, service level management cannot realistically proceed. Therefore, regardless of the pain involved in the planning and study stages, these are critical to success.
CASE STUDY: BARCLAYS BANKS ON MANAGEMENT MODEL
Each day, Barclays Bank processes tens of thousands of transborder payment and cash transactions. This is a highly competitive market and so to ensure that service levels are maintained at the highest possible levels, Barclays has its own Quality Management Model, which in turn is aligned to its Business Excellence Strategy. Together, these form the cornerstone keeping the bank at the forefront of the market by allowing automatic exception handling and a single point of contact for all customer enquiries. Indicating the importance of the operation, Ian Taylor, head of customer service solutions, says, "The stakes are high, as even an overnight delay in the transfer of funds can result in severe financial penalties."
Apart from automating exception handling, Barclays' focus is on response speed, service quality and value-added information. In order to meet these objectives, Barclays uses Pegasystems products that sit at Barclays' UK hub which supports regional centres in Dublin, Frankfurt, Paris and New York. According to Taylor, customer response times have improved over 200% and allowed the bank to come within striking distance of achieving a target resolution time of 24 hours on all exceptions. Cases are ranked according to urgency and the operator has an opportunity to prioritise outstanding queries.
Additional benefits include operational and efficiency savings in the region of 30% despite growth of 12% per annum over the last 80 years.
Taylor concludes: "Barclays is gathering valuable customer feedback and is now a leader in the field of customer service provision."
CASE STUDY: VINTAGE MOVE BY DIRECT WINES
Direct Wines is a wine mail order company based in Theale. It has 354 staff and a #78 million turnover. It also runs wine clubs in association with British Airways, NatWest and Midland Bank. It is to install 250 GT-X licences in a business-wide initiative to improve customer services and sales processing. GT-X, Graham Technology's customer management system, has been selected for its flexibility, which enables Direct Wines to easily adapt calling procedures to reflect seasonal harvests, political crises and market trends.
GT-X replaces a character-based system which required agents to remember a variety of different systems procedures and their application in specific circumstances. In contrast, GT-X has one single front-end, enabling operators to handle an infinite number of customer cases and access all information at the touch of a button. Order forms are also processed to the same level of detail, and customers are handled with greater competence and efficiency.
The evaluation required a seven-strong project team making on-site visits to six other companies before Direct Wines selected GT-X as its customer management package. According to Elaine Lee, marketing operations controller at Direct Wines: "The wine industry is subject to fluctuations, be it poor harvests due to frosts, or a problem specific to a certain country or region. We need to be able to alter our scripts to reflect these changes and anticipate customer demand, but couldn't do so with our old technology.
The fact that GT-X makes allowances for customer issues was the feature which clinched it for us. GT-X enables the operator to think from a customer perspective and tailor the system to their needs."
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