OPERATIONS & QUALITY - CASE STUDY 8
ISO Quality accreditation recovers customers from
poor quality IT & operations support
£bn FTSE company
Turnaround customer & operational units

Business problems
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High costs, poor morale, sloppy work, increased backlog & customer dissatisfaction
A £bn FTSE company coordinated its worldwide operations with a large, sophisticated, e-commerce system. The system was crucial to the business because it collated customer, operational and maintenance information. A small operations team was responsible for the IT system. However  due to mismanagement, staff morale had plummeted and labour turnover was very high. There was a backlog of work, soaring support costs, frequent computer downtime and growing customer dissatisfaction.

Our solution
- Outsource the IT system and raise quality of support
- Improve customer communications and attain ISO9002 accreditation
We proposed to outsource all operational support to cut costs and attain ISO9002 accreditation to raise quality of the operational units. We took on responsibility  for managing  a small  team of IT people and all operational support. We soon found there were  unclear roles and responsibilities between the  help desk, the customers and the support team. There was missing documentation and a flood of calls of special requests from customers which were dealt with very informally. Most requests were put onto a long waiting “to do”  list.  First we contacted all customers, met them and agreed to solve all their problems within a fixed timetable of priorities. We opened up direct communications with them - regularly reporting progress and acting on feedback on their changing priorities.

Next we updated the company's standards making them simpler and more practical - more akin to our own. We designed new support processes, hired experienced supervisors, retrained junior staff, prepared retrospective documentation at  reasonable cost and introduced simpler customer service level agreement with quality plans. We  agreed a simpler pricing structure and cleared issues promptly  with customers and publishing a new project plan.  We quickly sent formal estimates to customers who had raised special requests. We managed the customer relationship by coordinating all development and upgrade activities with a user group and project board.

Winning results
 - Attain ISO9002 accreditation and win back customer satisfaction.
We quickly recovered staff morale and won back customer relationships as the operational team achieved ISO9002 accreditation on their first quality audit inspection. Although some quotations for special requests were not accepted by customers, most were approved, prioritised and delivered on schedule. Customers now  understood their costs and could see the benefits of better organisation. Formal methods of working are not bureaucratic when accompanied by good communications and service delivery. The backlog of work and staff turnover shrank, and customer satisfaction, productivity and quality soared.
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