June 17, 2013 @ 5:33 PM

21st-Century Performance Management Article Part Two: Service Quality and Customer Satisfaction (Fujitsu)

By Gregory J. Robb

The 21st-Century call center is a quickly-evolving contact center for a world’s worth of customer issues and expectations. In our previous installment, we examined how the Fujitsu Group recognized the need for a new contact center customer-centric service model: Sense and Respond. We continue our three-part series by examining the link between call center service quality and customer satisfaction.

Sense and Respond Explained

The 20th Century industrial complex had been defined by a “make-and-sell” approach to commerce. At the dawn of the 21st Century, industry increasingly recognized that traditional service models had failed customers and clients alike. This was equally true with the Fujitsu Group, which learned that between 40% and 90% of its incoming contact center customer calls could be prevented with improved service (Parry & Marr, 2004, p. 23).

The issue was conceptual. Fujitsu discovered that measures of customer service representatives (CSRs) relied too heavily on CSRs and not enough on the needs and wants of contact center callers. When customers participated in the call center service process, Fujitsu was able to implement a service model which defined value with the customer experience of the company’s customer service representatives. Armed thus, Fujitsu could utilize CSRs to sense the customer’s needs so the company could respond with a perfect service-to-match (23).

Sense and Respond emphasizes the contact center principles of transformation, intrinsic motivation and possibilities for success: a proactive method.

Learning to Sense represents two pieces of call center knowledge: what matters to the customer; and, how the contact center can respond to it.

Learning to Respond represents an organization’s reaction to knowledge of call center clientele: optimizing service delivery with elimination of organizational waste; and, the development of new customer opportunities (24).

Fujitsu’s Sense and Respond performance management system completely redefined call center job responsibilities and turned the power structure upside-down, writes case authors Stephen Parry and Bernard Marr:

“The role of managers was changed from one of authority to one of support. The central responsibility for them became the provision of the necessary knowledge and tools to allow front-line staff to handle the needs of the customer and assume responsibility for the end-to-end service…” (25)

The Bottom Line

Ironically, the 21st-Century “lean-and-mean” modality strengthens the business case for Sense and Respond as it was studied at Fujitsu. By reducing the number of call to its contact center infrastructure, Fujitsu realized boosted satisfaction of customers, clients and employees while reducing call center operational costs (26).

Within four months, Fujitsu reported that customer satisfaction levels had increased from “acceptable” to highly-satisfied” (27).

According to Markets and Markets, two key markets – customer experience management (CEM) and voice of the customer (VoC) analytics – have a market forecast value of $6.61 billion by 2017 (Markets and Markets, 2013).

The final installment in our series focuses on the influence of employee satisfaction in service quality in Fujitsu’s Sense and Respond customer management model.

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