Customer Satisfaction is People Interaction – Back to Basics Part II

Last week I asked what creates and sustains client satisfaction. Simply put, person-to-person interactions are the source of long-term client satisfaction.

HRO providers manage client satisfaction across two major groups. The first is the client’s employees and other end users who want live customer interactions handled by knowledgeable, caring agents enabled to solve as many problems as possible on first contact. These expectations are defined and translated into statements of work and service levels in the outsourcing contract. There many effective tools to measure and monitor service center and agent satisfaction with a high degree of correlation to key performance metrics, such as first contact resolution and agent tone and manner.

The second major group includes key client stakeholders, the key HR and business leaders and the governance team that approves and influences funding and sourcing decisions including scope, addition of new services, vendor consolidation and contract renewal or re-sourcing.

Client stakeholder expectations and satisfaction drivers are often not clear, may change and may be in conflict with one another and with the terms of the contract. For key client stakeholders the governance structure should provide listening channels to understand client needs and expectations on an on-going basis. The critical term here is listening. Responding to client complaints with a rote response such as, “we are meeting our service levels,” or “that isn’t in the statement of work,” is not listening. The response may be technically correct, but it will damage the relationship.

When I was the AT&T contract manager for a major multi-process HR outsourcing relationship, we measured stakeholder satisfaction separately from employee user satisfaction. In addition to the joint counsels and teams that worked together throughout the year, our provider’s (Aon Human Capital Services) executives and a member of our governance team met with key HR, finance and other business leaders to conduct a customer satisfaction interview that focused on the state of the relationship and the business impact of the services.

When old resolved issues resurfaced, we jointly reviewed the agreements and resolutions that had been put in place by both parties. This was a critical opportunity to address the varying and conflicting expectations across internal stakeholders. There was no playing one side against the other. Once resolution of an issue was reached we owned it together. Any new issues that arose during the interviews were researched, resolved and reported back to the executives in a timely manner.

Many providers have client conferences during which the focus is on what the company has to say and customer testimonials are given. These can be good relationship management opportunities, and great fun to attend. But I strongly recommend taking it a step beyond. Invite senior client representatives from different companies to meet, talk to one another, air issues, discuss expectations and identify opportunities together.

Ceridian uses customer advisory boards (CABs) designed to provide the company with invaluable feedback on all aspects of its services and support. The CABs meet in person at least twice per year, and by phone at least three to five times per year.

ACS supports client user groups in each of its lines of business, including HRO. Kenexa has Client Advisory Councils for each HR solution area, and it values the face-to-face feedback.

And Mary Sue Rogers, IBM’s Global HR and Learning Business Transformation Outsourcing leader, hosts client advisory meetings to share service updates and business news, and to gather client input into planned service improvement priorities and investments. Incorporating input from the advisory group, new IBM HR managed service enhancements are now being trialed by user group volunteers.

The key to customer satisfaction? Listening counts, and actions count even more.

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall

Explore posts in the same categories: hr outsourcing, hr outsourcing research, hro, HRO providers, hro research, nelsonhall

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: