Business Process Services. White Paper. Automating Management: Managing Workflow Effectively

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1 Business Process Services White Paper Automating Management: Managing Workflow Effectively

2 About the Authors Deva Latha S. Assistant Consultant Deva Latha has over nine years of experience in Business Process Services (BPS). She holds a master s degree in Computer Science and has contributed to identifying process automation opportunities in various BPS processes. She has been instrumental in the development of the Customer Experience Portal for Tata Consultancy Services (TCS ) retail practice. Seshadri Samaddar Assistant Manager Seshadri has over six years of experience in BPS. He holds a master s degree in Business Administration and has contributed to identifying process automation opportunities in various BPS processes. He has played a vital role in deploying TCS proprietary TRAPEZE tools across various industries finance and accounting, energy and resources, utilities, media and information services, and market research.

3 Businesses receive many different kinds of s from customers: inquiries, requests, orders, complaints, and so on. Quick and effective responses to customer s have a direct and immediate impact on customer satisfaction. However, it is difficult to efficiently route each to an employee capable of handling that specific issue and to consistently and efficiently manage workflows for each kind of . The task is made more difficult by the high volume of s most organizations receive. This paper summarizes the key problems that businesses face in management and proposes an automated allocation, categorization and management solution to address these challenges. The proposed approach improves productivity, accuracy, turnaround time and quality of response. We also believe that such a solution would ensure faster adoption at a lower-cost as it can easily integrate with existing clients (such as Microsoft Outlook and IBM Notes ).

4 Contents Introduction 6 Requirements of an Effective Management System 6 Approach to Streamlining and Automating s 7 Integrate with Existing Client 7 Automate Allocation for Efficiency 7 Customize Workflows 7 Send Bulk s and Trigger s 7 Define Templates 8 Data Analysis and Reporting 8 Key Benefits of an Effective Management System 9 Conclusion 9

5 List of Abbreviations AHT B2C BPS ERU M&IS SLA TAT Average Handling Time Business to Consumer Business Process Services Energy, Resources and Utilities Media and Information Services Service Level Agreement Turnaround Time

6 Introduction Most B2C organizations (such as public utilities, retailers, etc.) regularly receive large volumes of s from customers. These s require intelligent responses that acknowledge and address customer issues and requests. Due to the large volumes, organizations find it challenging to prioritize critical mails and send timely responses. Added to this, the inherent flexibility of the medium makes it difficult to maintain consistency across responses. Standard clients do not address most problems related to management. Hence, managers and associates require additional support to manage s effectively and efficiently. The proposed solution in this paper is an automated application that incorporates business rules, SLAs for responses, and defined workflows to provide a consistent, effective, and timely response to each mail. Requirements of an Effective Management System Ineffective management of s can lead to inefficiency, inconsistency, and confusion in customer communication. Most organizations use client software, but most of these clients do not have sophisticated management capabilities. A good management system makes it easy to: n Maintain a centralized repository of history n Generate reports on volumes to refine operations n Categorize s and create workflows for each type based on business needs n Set TAT for predetermined triggers and ensure timely response n Track types of s sent and received by every associate each day n Monitor associate productivity n Distribute workload efficiently among associates n Use templates to draft responses quickly and consistently, especially for long s or common issues 6

7 Approach to Streamlining and Automating s An effective management application requires the following features and functions: Integrate with Existing Client Adopting a completely new application is not easy, and users need to be thoroughly trained and need time to familiarize themselves with the new process. This reduces the productivity of users during the transition period. Integrating with the existing client drastically reduces the training and adoption time and is a more effective solution. Automate Allocation for Efficiency Typically, s are routed to a common inbox and are assigned to respective associates manually. An effective approach to management ensures that s are directed to the right associate by automating routing rules. The routing rules are based on pre-defined criteria such as product or service categories or keywords. The system also defines escalation paths to mitigate customer dissatisfaction effectively. The management system should also provide stakeholders with a view of the volume of s available in each associate s inbox and use this information to route subsequent mails. For a follow-up , it is more efficient if the application can identify the previous sender s name and allocate it to the same associate to ensure continuity. Customize Workflows Associates may not be consistent in including all necessary information when communicating with customers. auditing can help an organization understand how employees handle compliance and uncover potential risks. By sending drafts of critical s to a senior associate or a quality auditor, content can be verified before it is sent to the customer. Managers should be able to set up audit workflows for all incoming mails, while allowing users to make exceptions for auditing based on business rules. Workflow triggers based on queries can route s efficiently. The system should also allow for customization of workflows based on business requirements. Send Bulk s and Trigger s Users should be able to send bulk s to a list of recipients, scheduled to go out to all users simultaneously. For certain routine inquiries, automated trigger s can provide timely and informative responses without human intervention. 7

8 Define Templates A defined template provides an easy way to deal with usual or repetitive queries, encouraging organized, complete and consistent responses, and increasing productivity. An associate can save the time spent on drafting a complex response or on repeatedly typing similar messages, by selecting a template from a menu and then adding information to it as needed. A template also ensures that all relevant information is consistently provided for each type of query. Using a template can improve both productivity and response quality. n Efficient Resource Utilization: Automation helps reduce the response time and the AHT for each , releasing time that associates can use with more productive activities. n Quality Improvement: Pre-defined templates reduce the risk of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. Data Analysis and Reporting An effective management approach provides pre-defined and customizable reports that give managers visibility into the volume and status of s, associate productivity, and other measures. Reports should also indicate which associate handled a particular . Below are some typical reports that managers and associates can choose to receive: n Daily volume and status: This indicates the number of s received and handled each day. A sample report is displayed in Figure 1. Received s - 60 Resolved s Complete - 50 Escalation - 5 Pending - 14 Follow Up - 10 Figure 1: Daily Activity Sample Report 8

9 n Associate-wise volume and status: This helps managers track productivity of associates by reporting on the status and volumes of s in their mailboxes. Figure 2 displays a sample report. Associate-wise Volumes Associate Associate Associate Associate Associate Associate Completed Escalation Pending Follow Up Figure 2: Activity by Associate Sample Report n s received in each inbox: This provides information on the number of s received and handled by each associate, enabling judicious planning and enhancing efficiency. These reports provide users easy-to-use information in real time. Associates can monitor their volumes better and priotitize their activities, and supervisors can allocate s efficiently and optimize queues. Key Benefits of an Effective Management System This approach to management provides the following benefits: n Increases productivity by automatically routing s to relevant users n Monitors mailboxes and status to ensure all s are handled effectively n Enables managers to define workflows for better productivity and quality control n Improves response quality through a built-in audit process before s are sent to customers 9

10 n Maintains an audit trail of each , improving accountability and encouraging adherence to best practices n Provides a centralized repository of s for greater visibility and knowledge sharing n Generates customizable and pre-defined reports to analyze trends and efficiency, which enable proactive decision-making n Uses pre-defined SLAs for every 'type' to trigger actions and prioritize s, ensuring compliance and improving customer satisfaction n Enables users to create standard templates and auto responses for specific types of to improve consistency and productivity Conclusion The usefulness and flexibility of technology has greatly facilitated business communication, but allocation, tracking, managing and analyzing s continues to be a challenge. This paper proposes an automated approach for effective management of customer service s, including categorization of by incorporating pre-defined business rules in the automated process. We propose the use of defined workflows and templates to enhance user productivity. By automatically tracking metrics, such as s received, allocated, pending, etc., associates and managers get more visibility into their performance. Automated triggers, workflows and audit processes also enable improvement in SLA compliance, response times, quality of responses and associate utilization. Such an management solution streamlines management and provides users with a real-time view of what s happening in their mailboxes. The audit trail provides details of contents managed in the repository, with actions taken on each recorded and readily available for future recall. By providing easy integration with existing mail clients, the solution ensures that users can quickly adapt with minimal training and without much loss in interim productivity. An effective management solution not only increases employee productivity, but also equips managers with better visibility into associate and team performance. It also improves customer satisfaction through faster and more effective responses to customers. 10

11 About TCS Business Process Services (BPS) Business Process Services (BPS) at TCS is about managing and executing business operations. Our domain expertise helps deliver core business processing across industries, analytics & insights and support processes such as accounting, HR and supply chain management. TCS partners with customers to accelerate co-transformation, and generates business value for customers through delivery excellence, risk management and through innovative models such as Platform BPS which delivers process as a service. With annual BPS revenues of greater than US$ 1.4 billion, TCS is one of the largest BPS providers with 47,500+ employees servicing 225+ customers across the globe. Contact For more information about TCS consulting services, contact Subscribe to TCS White Papers TCS.com RSS: Feedburner: About Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Tata Consultancy Services is an IT services, consulting and business solutions organization that delivers real results to global business, ensuring a level of certainty no other firm can match. TCS offers a consulting-led, integrated portfolio of IT and IT-enabled infrastructure, engineering and TM assurance services. This is delivered through its unique Global Network Delivery Model, recognized as the benchmark of excellence in software development. A part of the Tata Group, India s largest industrial conglomerate, TCS has a global footprint and is listed on the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange in India. For more information, visit us at IT Services Business Solutions Consulting All content / information present here is the exclusive property of Tata Consultancy Services Limited (TCS). The content / information contained here is correct at the time of publishing. No material from here may be copied, modified, reproduced, republished, uploaded, transmitted, posted or distributed in any form without prior written permission from TCS. Unauthorized use of the content / information appearing here may violate copyright, trademark and other applicable laws, and could result in criminal or civil penalties. Copyright 2014 Tata Consultancy Services Limited TCS Design Services I M I 01 I 14

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