Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Change Management

I am about to start a big move in my team set-up;  one of our remote teams will be moving “back” to the “mother-ship”. We only had them working remotely for 2 years – but have realized this is not the best option. The reasons are many folded but leverage of knowledge and expertise are the top ones. The remote team is doing a great job – working really well and hard, so it has definitely nothing to do with the staff – but everything with the set-up.
To successfully execute this move, planning will be key, so I am in the zone of “Change Management”, leveraging on the experiences I made in the past.
What is the key to successful change management?
·         Communication
·         Communication
·         Communication
 The change team needs to be completely aligned in their communication; as Professor Philip Stiles of Cambridge University puts it: “an elevator speech – preferably practice so you can all say the same thing almost “word for word””.
 You need to be open and honest (keeping anything back will only result in lost credibility). Make sure you are available to the people who are affected (both direct and in-direct). Although I keep a very open door policy in the office – it can be daunting to go to your “boss’s boss”. I make a point of drinking coffee in the coffee corner more frequently when changes are happening and take my lunch so it is “covering” two lunch shifts – doing everything I can to make myself available for those “I just bumped into you” informal chats.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Service Level has to be delivered at all contact points.

A couple of days ago, I had the pleasure of what can only be described as a marathon shopping-expedition in IKEA with my friend Donnell who is setting up new home.
Donnell came prepared with a list of thing she needed, first stop “sofas” we found the sofa – next we went to the lady at the “help point”, as we approached she was leaving and only by almost running up to her did we manage to get her attention.  The conversation was as follows:
“Excuse me we have a huge amount of furniture to buy today, we need to have it delivered – does that mean we collect it all, pay it and hand it over?”
“Yes on each piece of furniture you can see where in our self service hall you can find it”
“thank you”.
This we did through sofas (three), entertainment system storage unit (two), Office tables, shelving unit, and kitchen tables and chairs. Then at dining room furniture we hit a snag (we had to contact another help-point for the table). This is what happens now:
Hi there, we need a dining table with this particular name, in black”
 “what size?”
“Umm not sure but we have the item number here” handing over the list Donnell had made from home.
“Ok here we go I found it – I can see you have all the item numbers written down – I can create a full list of where to find them for you.”
 And she did – fabulous we did not have to write a thing down, the list was neat and ordered so we could start in one end of the hall and fill up numerous trolleys on the way to the check- out.  
Reaching the check-out with 5 trolleys were not easy but we managed and the girl was super helpful (not at all faced by the enormous amount of furniture we had managed to stack precariously on top of each other) even when we hit a bit of an issue with the credit card (an American card to be used in Belgium for the first time) she was all smiles and
Do not worry, I will help the next customer. Please call your bank and let me know when you are ready to pay
Donnell calls the bank and everything gets sorted, we pay, and now for arranging the delivery.
So we have just paid (loads of customers are still paying) and go the customer help desk, only to be told “we are closed”. 
 Needless to say we were not amused!!! Another conversation goes
“But I have five trolleys full of stuff we need delivered”
“go outside there are taxi service they can deliver for you”
“no that will not do, we need you to do it for us”
“but we are closed – ok let me see…fuck”.
One of his colleagues then decides to step in and save us by arranging the delivery next week.
In the end Donnell got it as she wanted in less than an hour had she collected, paid and arranged delivery. But while I was thoroughly impressed with the list-lady and the check-out girl Donnell was very upset about the last guy’s attitude. So it just go to show that it is so important that the service levels you want your company to portray, needs to be known and followed by every single employee. I who look for good service and notice it remember the list lady and check-out girl. Donnell who does not work in the customer care industry she only remember the guy who said “fuck” to her.