Siemens (BT) Looks to Improve Global Productivity, Corporate Culture with Internal HR Complaints Tracking
Siemens Building Technologies Division
With more than 36,000 employees globally, BT has a presence in 51 countries. The Building Technologies Division leads the market in providing products, solutions and services for more secure, comfortable and efficient buildings and environments.
In a company as distributed, dynamic and expansive as BT, employee productivity and corporate excellence hinge on effective internal communications. "In any large organization, there’s a gap between who wants to know something and who knows it," said John O’Sullivan, Program Manager for Complaints Management. "There’s a lot of internal movement, and when those with specific knowledge move to another position, they often create a missing link in the knowledge chain."
Building Technologies International Headquarters in Zug, Switzerland, recognized that internal complaints or questions often were not formally addressed—or took too long to get resolved. Typical complaints might be pricing, logistics or support issues. Someone would complain in a meeting, in email or around the water cooler or lunch table, all informal settings where a complaint was not put through a process of resolution. Those delays and frustrations detracted from employee productivity and satisfaction.
"We wanted to increase our sensitivity toward internal issues and speed up resolutions," O’Sullivan said. "If someone is held up 10 days waiting for an answer, then they are not very efficient. We actually wanted to see complaints growing instead of declining, thereby proving that we were getting better at sensing and resolving complaints."
BT launched an initiative to centralize and formalize internal complaint management in a structured way, with complaints actively managed. The company looked to customer complaint management efforts in its Building Technologies Division as a model for internal issues.
After evaluating a number of options, the Customer Focus Team within Building Technologies had selected i-Sight Service and Complaints software by Customer Expressions. The web-based nature of the software would enable rapid roll-out across all countries, and make it accessible, in real time, by users worldwide. With i-Sight’s customization capabilities, BT could easily adapt the software to its processes and workflows–rather than requiring BT to change its processes to fit the software. "i-Sight was the most user-friendly tool. We could implement it pretty quickly in all countries," O’Sullivan said.
i-Sight has helped Siemens improve customer loyalty with defined processes for managing customer complaints, trend reporting and corrective action. In response, Building Technologies International Headquarters chose to implement i-Sight for internal complaint management as well.
Customer Expressions assisted with customizing the solution to the divisions unique needs. "They have been proactive, flexible and very helpful, which is great to have in any partner," O’Sullivan said. "We’re very happy so far with the work and collaboration by Customer Expressions."
BT created a simple Web form on its global Intranet for employees to submit questions or complaints. From an employee’s email address, the company’s database identifies the person’s location, division and job function.
For all complaints entering i-Sight, BT assigns a "broker" to oversee the case. The broker sees the issue through a formal process managed by i-Sight from start to resolution. First, the broker contacts the employee for additional background on the nature of the complaint. From there, the broker identifies the best person to address the issue.
As complaints move through the resolution process, workflow and business rules in the software ensure that all parties address their assigned issues within a set timeframe. If not, those issues escalate to a higher level. At every step, i-Sight ensures that nothing goes too long without an answer. "i-Sight leads you through the process. In fact, you don’t even need to know the process. The tool guides you proactively," O’Sullivan said.
Everyone involved on a case receives automated notifications regarding the status of issues and remaining timeframes. Likewise, employees receive email notices that BT has received the issue, assigned the issue and closed it.
All resolutions stay in i-Sight and are searchable, giving BT a knowledge base by which to find previous solutions. With all internal complaints centralized, BT has a complete record of all issues for reporting as well. The company can analyze issues by type, location, division, or virtually any criteria, to identify trends and proactively address recurring problems.
"Before, we just heard about complaints, but couldn’t measure or formally address them. Maybe everyone was experiencing the same problems but not communicating them globally," O’Sullivan said. "i-Sight makes it really transparent to see complaints, to understand them and measure them."
As the company educates employees on the importance of logging complaints, O’Sullivan hopes the number of issues submitted actually increases—for issues are opportunities to address problems, elevate efficiency and improve the culture of the organization.
"Complaint management is an efficiency driver," he said. "We’re changing the culture and philosophy toward complaints, putting the focus on complaints as an opportunity to improve."
"Complaint management is an efficiency driver. We’re changing the culture and philosophy toward complaints, putting the focus on complaints as an opportunity to improve."
- John O’Sullivan, Program Manager for Complaints Management, Siemens