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The Life and Times of a Change Manager (Part 3d)

Editor’s Note:  Ron Leeman is a world-recognized Change Manager and author of several Change, Process, and Project training guides on Flevy.   He has decided to write a series of articles that chronicle his personal “change” journey.  This is the second installment (part).  You can read beginning from the first piece here.  You can also learn more about Ron and his approach to Change in our recent interview with him.

* * * *

This project was back in 2003/2004 for what was then LloydsTSB (now Lloyds Bank) one of the UK’s largest Banks.

But before I start, a thought… this project would have been so much easier if we had “big data analytics” then!

Sadly, we didn’t, so moving on…

The Customer Quality Improvement (CQI) initiative was a Group-wide programme of change introduced to improve customer service and reduce costs through the removal of operational inefficiency e.g. wasted time, effort and money on ‘non-value adding’ activities.

Why was the project initiated?

Queuing performance was a major driver of the Branch CARE (Customer Service) index, both directly through the existing queue-based measures and indirectly through the tone of customer expectation that queuing sets for the service interactions that follow. Queuing performance scores were consistently poorer than any of the other CARE measures and has recorded a worsening in recent months.

This project was to address a number of different issues that were under the Branch Manager’s control at the customer interface, all contributing to the queuing results.These included but were not restricted to:

  • the perceptions of customers who found it necessary to wait in a queue
  • the number of tills that were open and staffed
  • the level of skill and efficiency of people manning the till
  • the ability of the frontline team to react to unexpected peaks and troughs in demand
  • the organisation of local human and physical resources to carry out branch activity

Specifically the CQI Branch focused on:

  • Improving the organisational efficiency of Branch Counter Management, with the objective of reducing queues which was the aspect then rated lowest in the CARE Index (the LloydsTSB customer feedback mechanism).
  • Using a measurement based performance management approach to improve cashier performance, local resource planning/rostering and deliver branch specific quick win improvements.

The high-level projected benefits contained in the Business Case were:

  • A reduction in the number of customers actually queuing in the banking hall.
  • A better deployment of staff within the branch to fulfil other roles.
  • A reduction in the number of staff required on the counter to serve customers.

My role was as a Business Process Change Manager/Performance Improvement Consultant managing a team of LloydsTSB internal staff with a responsibility for implementing CQI Tools into a selection of Branches. I came into this Project at the Phase 2 stage (see below).

The implementation was in three phases:

PHASE 1a (Initial Trial)

A detailed Study and scoping exercise was undertaken in a single Branch which identified significant opportunities to improve counter management and therefore customer service through eradication/reduction of queues. Results following the eight-week trial included:

  • Improvements in cashier performance.
  • Significantly reduced queues.
  • Numerous Branch improvements.

PHASE 1b (Extended Trial)

In order to develop the learning and further test the approach and its delivery into a diverse range of branches, the trial was extended to 3 other branches. Once again, it was proven that the improvements and methods used as part of the approach had a positive impact on branch efficiency and customer service.

NOTE: The above trials provided a financial benefit of approximately £130,000 p.a. (equivalent of 8 FTE) which was reinvested to deliver improved customer service.

PHASE 2

This included further roll-out to 20 branches which introduced the tools using a ‘tactical’ Excel based standalone solution . Two sub-phases were created:

  • Phase 2(a) to implement the trial approach to one major (large) branch within a chosen Area.
  • Phase 2(b) to implement an “industrialised” version of the trial approach to ten additional branches.

PHASE 3

Rollout to 150 large branches with a headcount of greater than 14 FTE undertaking service roles and more than 4 FTE cashiers.

Focus of this article …

I do not intend to go into too much detail about the tools, rather the focus will be specifically on the change support mechanisms:

  • Regional and Area Communication.
  • Training & Support.
  • Business Benefits Realisation.

So first a quick overview of the Tools

CLASS

A Performance Management tool which consisted of a series of 5 measures used by the Branch Management Team to detail, assess and improve the performance and productivity of counter staff.

CPT

A Capacity Planning tool using OASIS (a comprehensive database of individual counter transaction standards using work measurement as its basis which was used to predict Branch staffing levels) which, over a period of time, predicted expected counter staff productivity levels so the branch could better plan the number of cashiers required hour by hour.

CIT

Continuous Improvement Team which worked alongside improved capacity planning and individual performance, and was an ongoing approach of “bottom up” ideas being promoted within the branch, encouraging branch staff to input into how the Bank could deliver improved customer service.

The above was supported by an additional management information tool:

QMS

A Queue Management System which compared daily queue profiles to find out why queues built up/why no queue at all, was capacity planning utilised effectively etc?

And in addition there was CARE an ongoing customer service measurement tool that collected information from customers through regular surveys to monitor queuing in Branches … this is what the CQI tools would have an significant impact on.

The following diagram shows how the tools fitted together:

The biggest issue with these tools was the amount of manual data input required to enable them to accurately process and provide meaningful data on which important decisions could be made.

OK enough of the tools and onto the three areas I mentioned earlier:

  • Regional and Area Communication.
  • Branch Engagement & Tool Training
  • Business Benefits Realisation.

Just to add some context the following diagram shows where these four areas fitted with the high-level Project Implementation Process Flow:

Regional and Area Engagement

As a first step it was necessary to engage with Senior Managers in the Regions and Areas where the Branches were in which the tools were due to be implemented. All impacted Regional Managers and the Area Managers were invited to the sessions.

The engagement took the form of a 1/2 day workshop session including a demonstration of the tools. The format/structure of the workshop was as follows:

The reason for these intensive Senior Management workshops was that there was some suspicion that the project was initiated to reduce staff so it was necessary to engage and to allay the suspicions at this level.

Training & Support

The Regional and Area Workshops were then followed by Branch Engagement sessions which were similar to the but with more focus on the impacts on the Branch specifically in terms of roles & responsibilities and customer service. The sessions contained the following:

  • Outlined the project rationale.
  • Examined the results and benefits gained by the branches already involved in this project.
  • Introduced the project processes and toolkit to be used (see Tool Training below).
  • Discussed and developed opportunities and issues presented by the project, based on the experiences of the Phase 1 branches.
  • Summarised the roles and responsibilities of all individual members of the team involved in the project.

This was followed by the Tool Training sessions which were held with the Team Leader and those individuals who would be responsible for data input, analysis and implementation. The training involved:

  • A demonstration of where the data was to be sourced from.
  • How the data was input to the relevant tools.
  • How the tools analysed the data and the output.
  • How to interpret the output and how to apply the results to achieve the necessary efficiency/productivity gains.

Following the training sessions individuals were then left to manage the tools themselves with the support mechanisms mentioned earlier.

Business Benefits Realisation

But by far the biggest challenge was to ensure that the projected benefits of the implementations were achieved. As a reminder the high-level projected benefits contained in the Business Case were:

  • A reduction in the number of customers actually queuing in the banking hall.
  • A better deployment of staff within the branch to fulfil other roles.
  • A reduction in the number of staff required on the counter to serve customers.

The Business Case also contained a Benefits Map Template which showed:

  • Initiative/Project … actions that contribute to one or more outcomes.

  • Contribution … elements of the results chain contributing to other initiatives and outcomes.

  • Enabling outcomes … The results sought either intermediate or ultimate.

  • Primary Benefit.

  • Output of  Benefits.

  • Assumptions … hypothesis regarding conditions necessary for benefits realisation.

As you can see the main benefit was that of “Released FTE” with the output of the benefits being:

  • Improved customer service.
  • Better Branch performance on service, sales and quality.
  • Reduced queues and customer perception.
  • Improved CARE score.

To demonstrate the achievement of the benefit(s) the following are a few examples from some of the Phase 2 Branches into which the CQI tools were implemented:

In addition to these tangible benefits there were also a number of non-tangible and cultural benefits such as:

  • Team Leaders became people managers and not senior clerks.
  • Access to simple and timely performance information.
  • Involvement of employees throughout the process but especially with the Continuous Improvement Team.
  • Better identification of performance needs and the ability to address them with action plans.
  • The ability to plan staffing with confidence.
  • Support for the companies Balanced Score Card.
  • Identification of Best Practice across the Network.

And finally following completion of Phase 2 we issued a questionnaire to elicit staff feedback about the implementation of which the following is a summary:

Included in the questionnaire feedback were quotes from Branch Staff involved with Phase 2 of which the following are examples:

  • “Last Friday was a dream. We kept on top of the queues and still managed to utilise some time that would have otherwise been lost.”
  • “We reacted to a queue, then realised that if we had just held off for a couple of minutes we would have been OK. The CPT suggestion was correct and you were right in advising us not to instantly react”
  • “CPT has worked really well and has helped us to better identify the periods in the day that we should utilise better”
  • “By planning staff resource in half hourly slots, It has made us focus far more on how we resource key positions throughout the day”
  • “I was initially sceptical as we had already done a lot to try to improve our queuing. However, the Branch Planning Tool has provided more accurate data and has really made a difference”
  • “We have even had comments from customer’s saying how nice it is to come in and not be faced with a huge queue”

So in summary:

Thanks for reading this my latest article I hope you have enjoyed it. Any comments you may have would be greatly appreciated… positive or negative.

About Ron Leeman

Ron Leeman has been involved in “change and process” work for more years than he cares to remember. He has worked extensively across the UK, Europe, and globally--and has an enviable track-record of delivering organisational change and process initiatives across a wide cross section of industry sectors. In 2012, Ron was bestowed with a “Change Leader of Tomorrow” award by the World HRD Congress “in recognition of my remarkable progress in initiating changes enough for others in the same industry to follow my example”. Ron is firm believer in knowledge transfer and now wants to share his vast knowledge with those who are considering getting into or at various stages of “change” and/or “process” work or those working on specific Projects wanting to gain practical insights into “how to” type situations. You can connect with Ron Leeman on LinkedIn here, where you can view his 85+ Recommendations and in excess of 800 Endorsements from clients and co-workers alike to give you an indication of the quality of service that he has provided and can offer. Ron is also a document author on Flevy. Browse his frameworks on Change Management, Process Analysis, and Program Management here: http://flevy.com/seller/highwayofchange.

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