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We now come to Part V of the series of case studies on the Problem Management team of a  global company (we shall refer to it as XYZ), developer of a billing and customer care application for GSM services (we shall call the application BACC).

As we know, continual improvement is the key to success of every quality drive or standard. In this concluding part of the case study, we shall look at how the team took steps to ensure continual service improvement in problem management.

Steps Taken To Monitor Service Improvement

The IT Manager and the Problem Management team identified the following action areas for monitoring service improvement:

Regular reviews

A weekly meeting was put in place where the manager and the team discussed performance issues, bottlenecks and other issues requiring attention. These issues ranged from simple administrative matters to improvements to processes.

Analysis of metrics

Metrics were analyzed in detail and any significant and persistent negative trend underwent a brainstorming session to agree on steps for improvement.

Identifying improvement to the product

Recurring problems or issues with BACC as experienced by customers were discussed as opportunities for improving product features. Any issues involving other teams such as development were taken away by the manager to be addressed with the appropriate team.

Encouraging new ideas

New ideas were encouraged in all areas such as product features, support processes, and anything related to problem management.

Improvements Identified

After six months of regular reviews and other steps, some of the improvement ideas which were identified and implemented within the next two or three months were the following:

Database of solved errors- better indexing and retrieval

The searching and retrieval of information from the known or solved errors database was made more efficient to facilitate easier retrieval based on certain criteria.

CSS ratings for each problem 

Customer Satisfaction Survey forms were made more detailed and feedback was sought on many aspects of the service such as speed of response, clarity of communication and speed and quality of resolution. The CSS received against each issue handled by the Problem Management team was then analyzed. Improvement was planned on a monthly basis. In fact, an important finding was that communication to the customer needed to be more detailed and orderly.

New features

Problems and issues in the existing application were documented and gave rise to ideas for new and improved features in subsequent versions or releases of the product. This information was shared with the Development team.

Award for the most innovative work-around

This award was initiated to encourage innovation and quick-thinking. The best work-arounds or interim solutions were reviewed and a quarterly award was given to the team member responsible for the best work-around.

Award for best preventive action

It was recognized that the effort in taking preventive steps very often goes unnoticed as there is usually more drama associated with the diffusion of explosive situations than with their prevention. Thus the proactive offering of known patches or solutions to customers and other preventive actions were encouraged and the best efforts were rewarded on a quarterly basis.

A management professional with experience of more than twenty years in general management, quality management, customer support, software development and information technology consultancy, focusing on business requirements and applications for industries such as telecom, finance, and manufacturing. Presently, Head of New Vista Services, offering management consulting services, training in soft skills, and IT infrastructure services.