Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone
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Virgin Media has taken a leaf out of customer services’ book by centralising its HR, payroll and benefits units into a single Employee Services division in a bid to provide staff with a more consistent experience.
The telecoms supplier brought the three previously separate teams together so that they could pool resources and share expertise more easily, with the aim of boosting efficiency. Zoe Howgill, Virgin Media’s customer service delivery manager, said: “Employee Services is a multi-functional department handling everything people-related. All HR and payroll queries are directed through to Employee Services’ advisors, all of whom are located in one place and so are able to share experiences and expertise really easily.” The team receives about 1,000 phone calls and 3,000 emails per week, but solves about 87% of enquiries first time around, she added. All queries are logged using RightNow Technologies’ CX Software-as-a-Service-based customer service offering, which has been integrated with Virgin Media’s employee records database. This means that when Employee Services’ advisors deal with an enquiry, the record of the staff member concerned appears automatically. The system also automatically sends service users a survey linked to each incident, requesting feedback on how it was dealt with. Self-service frequently asked questions functionality to head off routine support enquiries has also been made available on Virgin Media’s intranet and is visited by approximately 4,000 users per week. As to the secret to success when centralising and consolidating previously disparate teams in this way, Howgill believes that it is about having a clear strategy and plan in place from the outset. Other important considerations are “openly and proactively engaging with the teams and individual employees involved” in the changes. “It’s all about communication. You have to make sure you’re focused on not only making the changes, but also on communicating to employees and team about what it means for them,” Howgill said.