A while ago we helped an IT and telecom SME improve their service delivery. The business had grown quickly, but they were getting more and more customer complaints, and sales were declining. We spoke with managers and technicians, and analyzed their operation.
Our analysis showed that the maturity of the organisation had not followed its growth. This is a bottleneck for many companies at the tipping point of 120 employees. Technical, operational, and customer knowledge had become fragmented, and existed mainly in the heads of employees. As the company grew, different assumptions emerged. The project leaders had different priorities and different ways of working. Agreements were unclear, and there was no systematic communication, both internal and to customers. More than once a technician had left during an installation without notifying the customer. This caused a lot of confusion and frustration.
We helped map their processes and make them visible in a central knowledge base. This revealed many potential improvements that had remained isolated knowledge. We set up a community for the project leaders, coached them in process management, and put communication at the center of the new way of working. Within 6 months, the company saw 30% fewer complaints and incidents, 35% less rework, 45% higher customer satisfaction, and overall lower operating costs.
What do we take away from this?
1. Make processes and agreements explicit, even if it feels too soon.
If knowledge remains in the heads of people, it quickly creates the wrong assumptions and misunderstandings. Making processes explicit makes them clear to all, and makes it easier to improve them.
2. Communication = Service Quality.
Nothing is more frustrating than a lack of clarity. Problems happen, but proactive and empathetic communication makes the difference between "understandable" and "unacceptable". Make effective communication an explicit part of the work processes.
3. Experience is the added value.
Executing a project (or solving a problem) not only produces a technical result, but also experience. This experience is the source of all improvements. Deal with it purposefully and systematically. Invest in reflection, analysis and process improvement. If not, the same problems and inefficiencies will keep happening.