There are not enough examples of using six sigma mathod. This is one, that might help you embeding lean six sigma methodology in travel agency call center.
this article covers:
- Problem definition
- Understanding current state
- Measure phase
- DMAIC call center analysis
- Improving process
- Controlling the new process
- Key takeaways about six sigma DMAIC
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Travel Mania is an Italian travel agency providing traveling adventures locally, in Europe, as well as around the world. Communication and customer care is very important part of company strategy. Well-designed web shop on one hand, and the call center on the other hand are great contributors in this strategy.
And the Travel Mania call center is suffering will loss of customers trust. It is due to higher transfer rates. Transfer is, when customer is shifted between multiple agents for whatever reasons.
That means, that:
- Customer has to repeat his problem several times,
- There are delays in resolving customer problem,
- Call center agents are using their time solving problems, they cannot help with.
- Some call center departments were overloaded.
Here is a link to download project charter template for your usage, with the brief description of each section.
Understanding current state
Company´s metrics shows, that transfer rate was almost 20% in last month. And it looks like, there is an increasing trend month by month. Management must react.
Assembled team defined goal: To improve current 20% transfer rate to 5% by end of the quarter.
Business case is clear. To try to improve customers satisfaction experiences, that goes negative direction. Call center agents frustration does not help to run business at all.
There are different departments at Travel Mania call center:
- Reservations department helps with new reservations, changes, or rebooking.
- Transportations department helps with finding right flights, buss, train connections.
- Group excursions are oriented on local, Europe, and world excursions.
- Star membership is dedicated for loyal customers. It is prompt reaction on reservation issues for customers coming to agency regularly, and more often.
- 3rd party program department addresses reservations through 3rd party companies.
- Quality department helps with addressing:
- Complaints for star membership
- Complaints standard
- International complaints
A3 report template
Great tool to report out your project progress:
- A3 form Excel template
- Restaurant example – filled A3 report (above used pictures)
To download entire A3 report template –click on the link below
SIPOC helped with high level process understanding as well as outputs and process inputs.
It is important to know outputs and inputs each department requires in future with project progress. It will help with directing customers to the right department.
Team have developed detailed current state process map in the next step. Focus was on how customers are directed to the help desk. Findings were compared with SIPOC inputs. There was a great miss-match in some areas. And potential problem root cause was identified.
DMAIC call center analysis
There are plenty of data available in call centers usually. So it is in Travel Mania. Transfer calls data were separated from the rest of data. Following Pareto distribution showed the biggest contributors on call issues. 80% of issues were created by 20% of transfer types. These 20% transfer types will be the first ones to be addressed and improved.
Transfers were reviewed backwards to affected calls initiation.
- There are outdated links on help desk landing page. Causing 50% of issues.
- Insufficient required information is causing incorrect request evaluation. This is causing 30% of issues.
SIPOC excel template to download
If you are interested, you can dowload SIPOC on the link below. This is how it looks like:
And here is promised link:
I do videos, blog posts, and all templates for free, in my free time. I will appreciate if you can donate me a cup of cofee, for more energy in my creation. (1 dollar counts, too Click on this link: I would like to support Erik in his effort
Both biggest contributors directing customers to the incorrect helpdesk department.
By deeper problem analysis team discovered, that root causes of transfer calls issues are really not huge. It was easily to address both largest categories. Old landing page links were updated to the current ones. Identified required inputs to direct clients to proper departments helped to define ideal list of information to be filled in. That was immediately hand-over to sites programming team.
Programming team is outsourced company. It took some time to communicate needs, and proper visualization requirements. Testing and feedbacks helped to set up page as required within one month. Which was great result too.
Controlling the new process
Results after the change were monitored closely. Data showed, that addressed issues were improved right way. All top transfer issues disappeared immediately. Customers were directed to the right department. Other, smaller issues were improved in parallel with the top ones.
There were no huge investments required to improve customers satisfaction. Call agents confusion and frustration was also improved. But team does not stop with improving initiatives. Next steps to improve customers experiences will be, to decrease occasions, where customers are having issues. So they will simply not need to call to Travel Mania call center.
Download DMAIC tools list, I suggest allways to follow.
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95% of the time I do not use it, at all. I do not like statistics. I do not like collecting data. Yes, there is a measure and analyze phase. But it only sounds terrible. In our example, cooks were able to drive changes. And they used watches to measure, and logic, that told them where to improve.
Key takeaways about Six Sigma DMAIC:
- It is a robust process improvement method
- It is a team effort on not obvious problem reason resolution
- There are 5 phases – Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control
- Improvement targeted based on data analysis
- Reduces variation in processes, in other words , repeatability is improved
- First understand current problems and pains to enable improvement changes
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Yours sincerely Erik.