At Lockheed Martin, regular quality council gatherings are just one component of an effective governance mechanism for ensuring customer satisfaction.
In September and October, my fellow leader of the HR BPO Buyers Group, Mark Azzarello, spoke about our mission, research, and success recommendations at The Conference Board’s 2006 HR Outsourcing Conference and the HR Technology Conference. One of Mark’s key “take-away messages” for companies at mid-stream of their HRO deal with providers is: “It’s all about quality. What can companies do to help ensure satisfaction?” He made these three following recommendations:
• Develop and execute a quality plan in stages; tackle critical areas first and move forward incrementally.
• Consider a quality council as part of governance, to make sure quality process is followed.
• Create a deliberate process in which individuals who run functional areas are involved in the “fix-it” process. Target the natural owners of the service to be involved in the improvement process.
In 2004, Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMC) and Affiliated Computer Services, Inc. (ACS) implemented a quality council as another component of our HRO deal’s governance structure. It continues to reap many rewards, taking our HRO provider/client relationship to a true partnership level.
The Lockheed Martin Employee Service Center (LMESC) Quality Council review meetings are a key part of Lockheed Martin’s two-way feedback and governance approach to managing the performance of the LMESC functions provided by ACS. Started in June 2004, the two-day Quality Council reviews are held quarterly at the LMESC . Robin Rockhold, senior manager, HR Services Customer Operations, has led all nine sessions.
With an emphasis on continuous process improvement, these meetings bring together field and corporate HR leaders and business partners with a common goal of remaining engaged and knowledgeable about LMESC service delivery. The meetings are designed to:
• Enable face-to-face interaction to foster understanding of the various needs and expectations of the LMESC;
• Facilitate dialogue about quality of service and obtain feedback from LMESC staff and leadership;
• Provide LMESC and ACS leaders an opportunity for closer client connection and understanding of Lockheed Martin culture; and
• Obtain LMESC and ACS feedback on what Lockheed Martin can do to enhance communications and support to its employees.
“These review meetings allow direct inspection of LMESC/ACS service delivery methods and staff to ensure customer needs are fully met and enable open discussion about service delivery improvement recommendations. This process results in actual change at the customer-experience/business-process level,” said Rockhold. “All valid recommendations are prioritized and worked to conclusion and implemented.”
A recent improvement suggested at a quarterly meeting originated from employee requests for a quicker way to cancel direct deposit elections. In the past, these changes required a paper form be completed and mailed. LMESC members participating in the quality review meeting suggested an online process. The suggestion was forwarded to the LMPeople team and was implemented.
LMESC customer service representatives spend 200 hours in technical and customer service skills training before taking their first call. With their first and subsequent calls, a recording of their service to Lockheed Martin participants is reviewed by the representatives’ ACS “quality coach” and continuously fine-tuned. And the center is judged, via monthly follow-up surveys, on the basis of six questions asked of a representative sampling of callers to rate their level of satisfaction based on:
• Time to connect;
• Proficiency and courtesy;
• Knowledge of plans and key process information;
• Clarity of answer;
• Timeliness of response; and
• Overall service satisfaction.
Lockheed Martin’s approach works as a close partnership with ACS with the shared goal of providing optimal customer service to Lockheed Martin employees.
One key mission of the HR BPO Buyers Group is to enhance member companies’ HRO deal outcomes and results. Instituting a quality council approach as an expansion to typical governance methods is one way to ensure success.