National Customer Service Week Day Three: shining a light on a customer service hero

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Claire Catchpole 9th October 2019 2 minute read

National Customer Service Week Day Three: shining a light on a customer service hero

Today’s National Customer Service Week theme is ‘Recognition: celebrate your customer service heroes’. In honour of this, we spoke with Principal Solutions Consultant Claire Catchpole, who has been shortlisted in the category ‘CX Professional of the Year’ at tomorrow’s UK Customer Experience Awards. Claire was recognised in part for her work effectively implementing a solution on behalf of a major high street bank that kept the customer at the heart of the operation. We asked her how she approached this project, and what she thinks is the key to successful delivery.

Tell us a bit about your experience working for Capita

I originally started working as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt for a pensions company in 2003, and then transitioned over to Capita’s Life and Pensions division once they started working together in 2005. In around 2007, myself and my team started work on more of the division’s financial services contracts. Alongside this we were running Lean Six Sigma training courses for our colleagues, and through word of mouth we began offering out this training to other divisions of Capita as well.

In 2018 I moved from my existing role to the Operational Excellence team in Capita Remediation Services, which was being expanded due to winning a new piece of work for a major high street bank. I’ve been in that role ever since, working on improvement activities for clients and continuing to deliver Lean Six Sigma training.

 What was your approach to the project brief?

The main objective of this project was to on-board 30,000 new customers to the bank through an incentivised switching scheme. This was in the face of stiff competition from a number of other competing banks hoping to win this same customer base. Capita had been given the task of running the operation, and I was assigned to lead and work with the client’s team to design and implement the process.

We agreed very early on that it needed to be efficient, to ensure that the customer experience was quick, painless and superior to that provided by competitors. Once this was decided and we’d started recruiting the staff to start this work, I agreed with the client a proposal to create a ‘pilot’ team to manage their BAU customers while waiting for the incentivised switching to start. This turned out to be a fantastic success – it allowed us to test the process, continually improve, and make sure we had the best operation possible ready and waiting for the new customer base. It also meant we were able to support the client with any service peaks in their own operation, which we continue to do to this day.

By September 2019 we had successfully brought on 5,000 customers, and the operation is still delivering an excellent customer experience and is performing well against NPS and complaints measures.

What do you think is the most important thing to keep in mind when managing stakeholder expectations on a project like this?

For me it’s definitely honesty and not being afraid to challenge others. I became a member of the client’s team for the duration of the project, and was able to draw on my Lean Six Sigma skill set and focus on the customer. This really was key to the success of the project and our being able to work collaboratively with the client. They felt they were able to rely on me to fulfil my promises, and I could challenge them where necessary to ensure that Capita were able to deliver on what was expected of us.

Did you take any key learnings away from this project?

The success of the pilot was definitely an important takeaway for me. Having that initial team really instilled confidence in the client that we could deliver this project. That it gave us a base from which to shape the processes and outputs to enhance the customer service was extremely beneficial, and it’s definitely something we’re going to strive to adopt on future projects where possible.

Being able to have that really collaborative relationship with the client was also a big factor in the project’s success, I think. That we were able to trust each other’s judgement and listen to one another made for a really solid, reliable partnership – and that’s incredibly valuable on a project like this.

Claire’s manager says, “her technical skills, putting the customer at the heart of everything and her ability to flex and adopt an agile approach has been critical to the success of this operation. She plays a fundamental role in the flexibility of our operation and is key to delivering quick change against a rapidly changing customer base.”

The 2019 UK Customer Experience awards will take place on Thursday 10th October – good luck to Claire and all our colleagues shortlisted!

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