What is Lean Six Sigma?
Kaci Bessaïh: Lean Six Sigma, which originated in Japan with the work of an engineer at Motorola in 1986, is a method for improving and optimizing processes. The objective is to gain in speed of execution, but also in efficiency and fluidity, by aiming for “zero error”.
It applies particularly well to Customer Relationship Management. When it comes to better integrating front and back office operations, the first step is always process reengineering. But we also use this approach to optimize simpler processes with an almost immediate ROI.
What is your expertise in Lean Six Sigma?
K.B: I discovered Lean Six Sigma a few years ago during my previous professional experiences in the automotive industry. As of December 2018, I am a certified Black Belt. I lead about 10 projects a year using Lean Six Sigma.
In terms of customer relations, how do you identify opportunities for improvement?
K.B: It’s about eliminating anything that pollutes the customer experience or anything that is not optimally managed in the service of the customer: an estimated waiting time that is too long, a delivery that is too slow, a lack of follow-up etc. These shortcomings are not necessarily the same from one brand to another. Even so, in each sector of activity, we observe common problems, with close or similar characteristics. These allow us to optimize more quickly the major processes of Customer Management, whether it is about sales, customer service, technical support or credit collection. Our clients benefit from a sector benchmark built on our numerous projects in France and abroad for major players in banking and insurance, energy, telecommunications, automotive, e-commerce and distribution.
In concrete terms, what are the applications of Lean Six Sigma?
K.B.: For example, at one of our clients, we observed that advisors were taking 90 seconds to open the five windows needed on their computer to access consumer data. Multiplied by the number of contacts and advisors, the loss of time and efficiency was considerable.
We introduced a bot that automatically loads these five windows as soon as the file is opened, thus avoiding the need for advisors to do multiple copy/pastes. A real gain in efficiency!
Another very good example is the improvement of customer ticket processing for an energy company. Advisors were losing a minute between two tickets, simply because they had to open three tools to process the requests. We implemented a single central tool that allowed them to process 18% more tickets.
Does Lean Six Sigma mean replacing humans with robots?
K.B: The idea is not to do without the human touch in Customer Relations. On the contrary! Lean Six Sigma simplifies its mission by automating, where possible, the most tedious tasks. This frees up the agents’ time to focus on customer contact, leaving room for discussion. This is what we at Comdata call the “augmented agent”.
You also apply Lean Six Sigma internally at Comdata. Can you give us an example of a recent improvement?
K.B: As part of an internal HR Lean project, we have automated the validation of our consultants’ schedules. Now, the advisor automatically sees a suggestion for an electronic signature appear on his screen, thus limiting the number of oversights.
At Comdata, this methodology also helps us to improve the well-being of our teams by reducing low value-added tasks, to better respect our clients’ instructions and to take care of the answers we give to the final client.
In conclusion, our approach impacts the quality of operations, cost reduction and optimization of performance indicators. However, companies are often faced with aging IT systems and change management difficulties. They need to move from idea to implementation and they need a partner that can help them overcome these difficulties. This is what we offer at Comdata.