275,000 tonnes of polythene film each year, British Polythene Industries is one
of the largest producers in Europe.
With operations in Europe, North America and China, BPI employs some 2,500 people, with 430 of those in its BPI Recycled Products division, including the centralised customer service centre at Heanor in Derbyshire. The Recycled Products business is one of Europe’s largest accredited recyclers of polythene scrap and a leading manufacturer of recycled polythene products selling into the retail, health, janitorial supplies, local authority and construction sectors.
In partnership with the Institute of Customer Service, a business improvement programme was developed to help BPI Recycled Products on it’s journey from being a production lead organisation to one focused on customers needs and satisfaction.
BPI Recycled Products’ Customer Services Director Stephen Orme, explains: “As manufacturers in the UK we are faced with a big challenge, as we come under constant price pressure from Far Eastern and Eastern European competitors. For us customer service has to become our big differentiator and the main driver of our business.”
“In addition, building and maintaining a strong business reputation has become increasingly challenging,” says Stephen, “We needed a training programme which served the overall goal of satisfying our customers.”
“For this we chose the Institute of Customer Service as it has real business relevance and offered us a total cultural change.”
“We also needed a system which would support our belief that employees need to have the right tools and authority to solve client problems”
“Now, we have a better understanding of the need to add value in every conversation and contact point with the customer” says Stephen.
“It’s all about building relationships with customers, understanding their needs and capturing data about them so we can build up a customer profile.”
Through successfully completing the ServiceFocus training programmes, BPI Recycled Products is becoming a knowledge-based company, better able to provide measurable benefits for client interactions, sales and support.
“We are now better able to understand our customers needs and as a result we are able to service our business customers more efficiently and on time with a lot less stored stock.”
Stephen says; “ServiceFocus’s immense value to BPI Recycled Products lies in how it has helped the company to integrate their client-facing operations.”
“All our customer service staff are now able to access and leverage client information from sales and service so as to better target customers needs. If one of our call centre team is away, another can deal with the query.”
Stephen says the time taken and the resources allocated to both the FirstImpressions and ServiceManagement processes were well worth the investment.
“We made a big commitment from the start and we decided to include all the customer service and procurement team in the FirstImpressions programme. Following on from this ten aspirational managers were then included in the ServiceManagement programme.”
Stephen explains: “We believe this has helped those who are not yet managers to move onto a different level.”
“We wanted them to challenge existing practice in our company, to open people’s eyes and to have a better understanding of how to move on to the next service level.”
“The personal support and encouragement received from our local Institute Account Director was invaluable. Through their attention we now have a better understanding on how to increase efficiency and minimise costs by measuring and valuing customer relationships”
As a consequence of the training and with the support of the Institute’s Training partner – Inspiring People - BPI Recycled Products went on to establish process improvement teams working in key areas of the business which initially included– delivery experience, complaints handling, and the management of specific sales support issues - to drive forward the customer experience and enhance the business benefits.
The outcome is an improved and measureable customer service offer.
One direct result was a significant reduction in the number of complaints generated and the time taken to handle each complaint
“We know we are still on a journey but we are making progress.”
Another measurable outcome was a surge in the number of successfully completed, on-time and in-full deliveries.
“Employee involvement and buy in has also been key to our progress and on the back of the FirstImpressions programme, the introduction of Employee Forums working in specific areas has certainly aided process improvement.”
“We encouraged every member of the team to take ownership of the issues which arise and to spread the knowledge down through the organisation.”
“The Institute’s training programme has given us a structure to move forward with our customer service, to clarify our vision of being a leader in a service role and move away from the status of order-processing to being service-focused.”
“We are now working on spreading the Institute programmes across the board, persuading and evangelising about the essential need to be customer focused.”