Bausch and Lomb: focusing on the customer during times of change

“ServiceMark has enabled us to benchmark ourselves against other companies and communicate the fact that we’re making great strides forward in driving a customer service mindset“

Time of change

The Bausch & Lomb story began when a German immigrant to New York set up a tiny optical goods shop in the city back in 1853. Today, the multi-national eye health company operates in over 100 countries with more than 13,000 employees. Since 2008, the company has been experiencing significant change under new private equity owners Warburg Pincus.

Placing service at the centre of the organisation

The change programme has placed a new focus on customer service. Prior to the takeover, the function in Europe had reported to the commercial side of the business, but this changed with the creation of a new customer service department and leadership team, headed by customer service director for Europe Ben Hesketh.

Senior management at Bausch & Lomb recognised that world-class customer service would play an important role in delivering growth aspirations, and the new structure was to help drive efficiencies and introduce best practice.

Creating customer service careers

As part of Bausch & Lomb’s programme of growth and cost optimisation, the customer service function has undergone a period of change to add value to the business. Many roles have changed significantly with greater emphasis now on upskilling and training, and there has been investment in technology to empower the frontline customer service team.

“We have created a strong team of multi-lingual customer service professionals who can begin to change the culture of the business by challenging the status quo and driving improvement programmes, instead of spending their time on less value-added activities, “ says Ben.

“With the right team in place, we now need to create an environment where professionals can flourish, with clearer development paths and personal development plans at the heart of what we do.”

Equipping the team with the appropriate skills

“We have created a strong team of multi-lingual customer service professionals who can begin to change the culture of the business by challenging the status quo.”
Ben Hesketh (customer service director)

Bausch & Lomb became a member of the Institute of Customer Service in 2008, recognising that the organisation would play an important role in the delivery of operational and cultural change.

Having experienced the benefits of Institute membership from previous organisations, Ben was keen to introduce the Institute Professional Awards programme of training and development.

“Institute membership is helping us improve the overall customer experience,“ says Ben. “The Professional Awards will not only equip our team members with the right skills for the job, but instil the motivation and confidence to challenge others in the business to do the right thing when it comes to customer service.”

More than 30 employees have begun the Awards accreditation and Ben has set a goal for every team member at Bausch & Lomb's London Centre of Customer Excellence to attain the award.

New learning and best practice

Ben is also using Institute membership to ensure that all changes implemented at Bausch & Lomb follow best practice.

“Attending Institute conferences and events enables me to keep up with developments in the marketplace, find out about innovations, learn more about the latest technological developments and benchmark Bausch & Lomb against some of the best in the business.

“There are also valuable networking opportunities through the Institute’s forums, which allow me to stay in touch with, and learn from, other customer service professionals.”

Measuring progress: ServiceMark

Although in the early stages of its transformational programme Bausch & Lomb wants to spread the message that customer service is now a high priority. ServiceMark, the Institute’s customer service standard, has been the ideal tool to achieve this.

ServiceMark entails a combination of benchmarking, customer feedback and third party assessment, to create a series of action plans for improving customer service. It has proved a valuable process for Bausch & Lomb.

“ServiceMark has enabled us to benchmark ourselves against other companies and communicate the fact that we’re making great strides forward in driving a customer service mindset,“ says Ben. “The reviews and action planning carried out to achieve the standard have given us renewed focus. In a short space of time, we have crystallised what we need to do to improve customer experience throughout the business.”