Our guest blogger is Perla Asistin, Global Director for Operational Excellence for TELUS International.
Perla is a certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt and was a speaker at a 2019 Minitab Conference in Manila. She has worked with multiple global organizations including Cognizant Technology Solutions, Accenture, and TELUS International. Her career has been focused on Process Improvement and Digital Transformation, helping organizations to become significantly more efficient, saving money and saving jobs for employees by making sure that processes are efficient for clients
Outside of her professional career as a Global Director for Operational Excellence at TELUS International, she is also a Continuous Improvement consultant for the Philippine's Department of Health in 2021 to support process improvement through multiple projects amidst the pandemic.
TELUS International is a provider of multilingual digital customer experience and digital IT solutions to global clients. Clients include corporations in technology & games, communications & media, eCommerce & fintech, travel & hospitality, and healthcare.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit many industries hard – and Travel and Hospitality was among the hardest hit. One of our clients that rents out vacation homes and dream spots around the world was immediately impacted by the shutdown of tourism. This company outsources most of its customer service to TELUS International.
Managing a flood of cancelled bookings
When the quarantines and regulations suddenly made impossible, our client had to manage all the bookings that were cancelled, which were neither the property owner, nor the traveler’s fault. The nature of this situation was extremely unprecedented. There were no cookie cutter resolutions for the cancellations. Due to policies and agreements in place at the time of the booking, some travelers would not be getting a full refund; there were varying levels of refunds that were unique to any given situation.
Even though the cancellations of bookings were neither driven by our client nor the guests, we discovered there was an alarming decline in customer satisfaction ratings during this time. We were particularly interested in learning that the customers were not happy about how the situations were being managed, not the outcome of the cancellation.
Testing hypotheses to improve customer experience
We began to ask, “how can we make this better”? From a technology standpoint, our client uses top-of-the-line AI technology to ensure that issues are captured, stored, and suggestive to the agent to resolve the customer’s issues the next time they reach out, whether chat, email, or phone. However, what we noticed is that the biggest detractor contributors were coming from chat and email.
This was surprising given the shift of the industry from customer satisfaction to customer effort. Calling in for customers in this app-based demographic was considered a waste of time and would rather chat and get their issues resolved while they are doing something else that is more meaningful. We thought we had been giving the customers what they wanted: a “touchless” customer support style.
It was time to rethink everything we had been doing. This is where Minitab has been an invaluable tool for us. Using Minitab, we were able to perform hypotheses tests to get to the root causes of the unsatisfactory customer service reviews. The analysis and insights we gained was unexpected, but we had no doubt in our minds it was accurate and reflective of our travelers’ wants.
In the end we were able to share our Minitab analysis with the leadership team. As a result, new technology investments were made, a completely new approach and direction were given to the agents and the entire customer service team at the company.