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Last month’s Spotlight (“Sears and the Value of Customer Engagement in Service“) featured commentary from a recent interview with Stu Reed, president of Home Services for Sears Holdings Corporation. In another recent interview, we spoke with Service Council advisory board model Carl DeCoste, V.P. of customer service at Philips Healthcare, Canada, about the tenets of their Customer Service Excellence model.
Can you describe for me the tenets of Philips’ Customer Service Excellence strategy?
DeCoste: The Philips Healthcare (Canada) vision, sim- ply stated, is “Our customers, and their patients, will depend on our people, processes, and technology to deliver service solutions; to be a world class service team focused on helping our customers deliver improved healthcare every day.” Philips Healthcare (Canada) believes the most successful customer relationships are ones in which customer loyalty is properly balanced with business results.
How have you organized your internal resources to support this balance of customer loyalty and business results?
DeCoste: We’ve taken specific actions to ensure that we are able to achieve loyal customers and deliver the best customer service in the business, including the development of the company’s Customer Care Teams (CCTs).
Our CCTs are two or more people focused on a common purpose, working interdependently, to optimize performance through innovative methods. Each CCT has approximately 10 to 12 field service technicians, including five champions, each of whom is responsible for a separate component of customer service.
The teams are organized around a specific function, modality, and/or geography. CCTs establish and work toward goals that focus on specific customer, operational, and financial targets; and they work collectively to solve problems, address issues, and improve processes based on established goals and boundaries. Autonomously, the CCTs are empowered to plan, organize, and coordinate team resources around immediate and future customer/business needs. We have also developed a system of continuous improvement through active communication and sharing of knowledge, information, and best practices across the CCTs.
How does Philips Healthcare (Canada) capture the voice of the customer?
DeCoste: In Canada, the national team reviews all customer service results and comments, and creates Pareto diagrams and analyses to develop the appropriate improvements and/or enhancements. Following these reviews, national action plans are developed and coordinated with the in-country CCTs, who are then chartered with ensuring that the latest information is made available to all of the service technicians and operations staff.
We’ve also deployed a series of feedback surveys, including event-based (telephone follow-up interviews); installation/implementation quality (e.g., did we do what we said? Is the equipment working as promised? etc.); clinical education and training (assessment of the company’s performance in training the doctors and technicians that will be using the systems, etc.); net promoter score (questions relating to customers’ likelihood to acquire from and/or recommend Philips to other organizations); and Remote Technical Assistance Center (RTAC) performance (which collects and analyzes data and information from the company’s remote diagnostics databases and uses that information to make refinements to the company’s RTAC resources).
How have the results been?
DeCoste: No matter how you measure the performance of Philips Healthcare, we have succeeded in improving our position in Canada — in customer satisfaction, market share, service revenues, and services profitability. As a result, Philips’ customers are highly satisfied; company management is satisfied, and all of the stakeholders involved in the drive toward attaining best practices and world-class service excellence appear to be satisfied.