When it was first suggested, back in 2009, that the Tikit Support team should become ISO 9001 compliant, I was sceptical. Seven years later, and having just achieved accreditation for all of Tikit’s global own IP support offices for the very first time, I can admit that my scepticism was misplaced.
Better processes mean better performance
In 2009 I just couldn’t see how this certification could benefit us. We had strong relationships with our customers so felt we already gave a good service that our clients were happy with. The team understood the processes and procedures we had put in place so ‘going through the motions’ of documenting and formalising everything seemed an unnecessary chore.
It quickly became apparent that my initial view was fairly narrow. Going through the ISO 9001 certification journey has enriched our Support team in so many ways. Yes, we did have some strong client relationships, and we were giving good service, but there were few measures in place to really back this up. As we started to look in depth at the standard we found were able to develop our existing skills and introduce many new innovations that have enhanced the service we provide.
Aside from reviewing and documenting our existing processes, we also understood that we had to adopt a more holistic approach to change and improvement. Of the eight core quality principles, continual improvement has probably had the greatest impact on us as a team. Client feedback is embraced. Every resolved support incident receives a call closure survey and we make sure that each survey response is read, and any points raised are actioned. This alone has allowed us to quickly identify any areas where we can improve our processes and provide an overall better customer experience.
Staff are empowered
In 2009 the majority of ideas or processes came from top level management or director level. Fast forward to 2016 and it’s a different story. Support staff are empowered to make their own suggestions for improvements to the way we work. This has proved to be really successful. After all, the team are the first line of contact for the customer so who better to understand a customer’s perspective or identify where there may be gaps in our procedures? By encouraging the team to get involved we’ve fine-tuned our internal processes including producing comprehensive training packs for new starters, strengthening our password handling policies and we’ve created new reporting metrics. I firmly believe that some of these changes would not have happened without the involvement of the whole team.
So, has the ISO journey been worthwhile?
The Support environment we find ourselves in today is much calmer and more focused. Every team member understands their role and we have a shared ambition. The team have created a Support Charter that underpins our purpose, ethics and beliefs. It reflects the core values that the department is built on; sharing knowledge, being respectful, honesty and communication. This was an initiative led by the staff and each person contributed, and signed up, to the Charter without Management guidance.
So, back to 2016. Do I think that the ISO 9001 journey has been worthwhile? Without doubt, yes! We now average a 96% Overall Satisfaction rating from our survey feedback and our standard response time is currently lower than it’s ever been before. It’s not always been an easy road though. Some of the new ideas have taken time to bear fruit but ultimately, we’re now more knowledgeable, more efficient and have a unified approach to providing customer service excellence.
About The Author
Becky Patterson has over 24 years’ experience in cultivating customer service excellence. Her passion began as a Travel Advisor, creating dream holiday itineraries for leisure travellers and arranging travel plans for local businesses. She’s been the Deputy Support Manager at Tikit for the last 6 years, leading the team to achieve ISO 9001 accreditation for 7 consecutive years and maintaining a client satisfaction rating of over 95%. You can connect with Becky via LinkedIn.
Tikit is one of the largest suppliers of technology solutions and services to legal, professional and accountancy firms, and is part of BT Group. Tikit’s client list totals more than 1,450 firms globally, including 90 of the UK’s top 100 law firms, over 600 UK mid-market firms, 250 US firms including over 60 Am Law firms, 14 of the top 25 ANZ law firms and 12 of the top 20 European law firms.