Each transaction is a customer interaction. So it’s incumbent upon managers to reinforce their teams with continuous improvement and customer service training on all levels in order to increase the shared service center’s value propositions. Jim Berry, Director, Customer Service & Innovation, Schneider Electric, shows how to do so in six areas ; cost reduction, quality, people, customer intimacy, transparency and predictability.
1. What factors are involved in creating a more efficient Global HR Shared Service Center?
You must first change the mindset of your organization to truly focus on the customer. They must recognize the value of their daily work to the organization. They must view each transaction as a customer interaction- not just a transaction.
Once your team has a customer mindset, you reinforce it with continuous improvement and customer service training at ALL levels. Finally, you keep it alive by making it part of your team’s daily conversation. You do this by reference in team meeting, visual aide (posters, desk toys), appointing an employee champion in each location, constant refresher of the value proposition, adding the value proposition to the hiring process to ensure you are bringing in the right people, team contests that reward people for customer centric behaviors, and more.
2. What is the biggest value a Shared Service Center can add to an organization beyond cost reduction?
A shared service center can add value to the business in a number of areas. We have expanded the conversation by rolling out a new value proposition that includes the following six areas: Cost Reduction, Quality, People, Customer Intimacy, Transparency, and Predictability. Of these, predictability and quality seem to be very well accepted in business conversations.
3. What are some Shared Services best practices and how do you benchmark your services?
Shared service centers in general tend to be a little bulky and have difficulty changing quickly. As a result, we have started having horizon meetings with the business leaders. These meetings are designed to discuss anticipated business needs 1-3 years out. Shared Services can then determine how best to support these needs, and change before the need becomes and issue. We have implemented global networks to discuss both customer service and continuous improvement. These networks promote best practice sharing in these areas and ensure that we have focus on these topics in all regions.
4. What are three of the biggest challenges or mistakes you see organizations make when implementing a Shared Services Center?
Focus too much on cost reduction and not on adding business value (which of course can include cost reduction) not investing some of the savings produced back into new efficiencies for the shared service center Internal Service Providers do not “Act” and “Think” like a business. This makes them susceptible to outsourcing when vendors come in with an outside approach.
5. Is there a new or up-and-coming technology within the space that you’re particularly excited about?
The technology is not new, but I am excited about the possibility of connecting with our customers (employees and managers) through mobile applications. This solves an ongoing communication difficulty we have had reaching our blue collar population. Not everyone has computer access- but almost everyone globally has smart phone access. Finding ways to connect with all of our employees over multiple time zones- when they want to connect- is extremely exciting.