DHL Express - Back-Office Customer Service Team of the Year

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Company: DHL Express, Plantation, FL & Tempe, AZ
Company Description: DHL Express is part of the Deutsche Post DHL Group offering its expertise in international express logistics. Our 340,000 people in over 220 countries and territories work every day to help cross borders, reach new markets and grow businesses. Our Certified International Specialists provide great service quality for about 2.5 million loyal customers.
Nomination Category: Customer Service & Call Center Awards Team Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Back-Office Customer Service Team of the Year - Other Service Industries

Nomination Title: Believing in Team Work

Tell the story about what this nominated team achieved since the beginning of July 2015 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

DHL Customer Service prides on delighting our customers by exceeding commitments through Great Service Quality and targeting on being the Provider of Choice in the express shipping and logistics industry.

In the Customer Care department, one of the Regional performance indicators(in all the America continent) is the “On Time Callback” with an objective of contacting our customers 90% of the times at the time agreed with them to provide an update or a resolution for a distressed shipment. This indicator had not been met in several years. As a contingency plan for the business, the timeline offered to our customers moved from 2 hours to 4 hours. The target was met under this contingency until August 2014. After that month, we were unable to achieve the 90% in four hours and meet our customer promise.

A new leadership team was appointed to the Customer Care team on September 2015 when the indicator was at 65% even with granted contingency on offering the 4 hours timeline vs. the 2 hours. Among the priorities on the agenda was to achieve the 90%, and so after a business evaluation, the campaign “I Believe in 90%” was launched on November 2015 to restructure staffing, improve processes, and foster employee engagement.

On staffing restructure:

• New Manager (skilled to drive performance and build teams).
• Added new supervisor with analytical skills (for a strategic data based decision making).
• Evaluated and aligned starting shifts and lunch/breaks time (to meet customer’s needs).
• Delimiting functions (take away tasks hindering productivity).
• Loan program (train agents from other departments and working as “loans” in the team to cover absenteeism and to develop them for taking over the role as soon as a position becomes available. This reduces the learning curve when covering new positions.).

One of the challenges was moving the people’s habits on flexing shifts or moving their shift around their needs vs. around the business needs. Getting the agents from other departments as ”loans” was also a big challenge because it was known among the CS community that the Customer Care team was working very hard without achieving results. A turn around on the employees’ motivation started when the indicator began to move up gaining constant improvement resulting on the belief that it was possible to achieve the target. That was the moment when other departments expressed more interest on joining the “loan program” as a step for development to be eligible for a promotion on a department that was now being successful after many years of being on the negative side.

On process improvement:

• Time agreement (discuss with customers a realistic time to schedule the next call back to provide effective update).
• Division by function (divide the team in 3 different roles working under specialized tasks scheme).
• Daily pulse checks (daily measure of performance with specific 4 critical times to make decisions on the right time).
• Support daily plan/playbook (forecast and take the right action plan based on the start of day volume and absenteeism to mitigate gaps).

On employee engagement:

• Productivity and Quality Contest (to foster interest on speed without compromising quality) resulting on improving 6.5 cases per hour to 8.6
• Attendance/Punctuality Contest (to decrease absenteeism)
• Continuous coaching to build the team’s confidence
• Fun Activities (games based on job technical knowledge, thematic days)
• Achievement Celebration (food acknowledging team improvements)

The biggest obstacle in regards to employee engagement was building the trust of the team with the new director and manager. This was made possible through an honest demonstration of care for each team member and constant communication. The employee engagement plans went through a pushback of negativity and lack of participation from agents, to getting the supervisors on board, and finally the agents starting to believe in the new leadership team.

See a more complete version of this essay in the attachment.