Internal collaboration for the benefit of customers – Case ABB29.03.2021
When internal collaboration works more smoothly, the customer experience also improves. With this philosophy, ABB Drives started to develop customer-centred thinking at its Finnish global service centre.
To improve the customer experience, ways of working first need to be improved. That is why ABB Drives, a manufacturer of frequency inverters, started to develop the customer service experience at its Finnish Global Service Center.
“When internal collaboration works well, it is easy to work with end customers in sales”, says Sari Jussi-Pekka, who is responsible for developing the customer experience at Global Service Center Finland.
The customer experience consists of many things. Internal collaboration is one of the key factors, even when not dealing with customers face to face. When collaboration works well, customers receive the information and services they need quickly and correctly.
Getting to know internal customers
In cooperation with Talent Vectia, ABB Drives’ Global Service Center Finland wanted to further improve its ability to develop the customer experience. Approximately 40 people participated in the coaching, which was arranged in order to support ABB Drives’ local units in dealing with their end customers. The participants worked in four front end teams – three in Helsinki and one in Tallinn.
One thing that the participants had in common was that they themselves were not directly involved with end customers. However, everyone had their own country responsibilities, so they became familiar with the needs of the local ABB unit in serving end customers.
To create a clear overview, everyone involved in the training carried out plenty of research in advance on what day-to-day work in the local units is like. Team managers made “safari visits” to their customers, while others used video calls to discuss with contact persons in the country companies. The goal was to answer questions such as what the work involves, how service people could support their work with end customers, and what customer challenges can arise.
Support staff make changes themselves
The actual coaching consisted of one all-day event and two half-day sessions. At the same time, Talent Vectia coached team leaders to act as customer experience coaches in teams.
During the first day of the coaching, the participants went through the basics of the customer experience and the results of the interviews, and played the ABB customer experience board game. The game involved concrete customer service situations that players had to resolve. Based on the lessons of the day, the participants developed new daily practices for teams.
During the second day, the participants were divided into smaller teams that worked out the general principles of customer experience production that those in the front-end teams could commit to. At the same time, the participants created guidelines to help internal customers in the different countries to collaborate.
During the last day, the teams developed performance indicators to measure success.
Global Service Center Finland and Talent Vectia designed the coaching programme together, as the aim was to tailor the programme as closely as possible to the needs of the unit in question. The goal was for the team members to create the key results themselves.
“The programme was focused on just a few things, so that everyone had the opportunity to work on practical matters themselves. Listening to lectures was less important”, says Jussi-Pekka.
“When creating a new mindset and culture, supervisors play a major role.”Sari Jussi-Pekka, ABB Drives
Fast communication for customer service
Although this was a coaching programme, the result was not only learning but also clear changes in working practices.
A common code of conduct was developed for the teams, along with a provisional path for creating the success indicators. The actual coaching was followed by a run-through of how the different teams could develop collaboration with the local units. For example, the participants looked for ways to develop the skills of local units so that their staff could find more information about the progress of orders.
Jussi-Pekka considers it important that the skills of the supervisors were also developed at the same time.
“When creating a new mindset and culture, supervisors play a major role. The daily support they provide and their way of communicating are very important”.
The final evaluation of the results of the collaboration will eventually come from the customers. The targets, at least, are crystal clear.
“Everyone is now better informed, and the local unit receives better support for its own work with end customers”, Jussi-Pekka says.