Committing to customer service innovation
As one of the world’s most innovative and sustainable energy companies, SunPower provides a diverse group of customers with cutting-edge solar technology. Residential customers, businesses, governments, schools, and utilities around the globe rely on SunPower’s more than 30 years of proven experience. From the first flip of the switch, SunPower delivers maximum value, superb performance, and peace of mind throughout the long life of every solar-powered system.
Throughout its history, SunPower has made a point of investing in innovation to create a superior customer experience. In 2009, SunPower expanded its business into new markets within Europe, which required a new array of services and capabilities. To accommodate this growing customer base, the organisation launched a transformation project to implement new customer service processes that would enable it to offer a best-in-class consumer experience and fulfill requests regardless of the region. This meant optimising operations to meet rising demand and expanding its employees’ ability to provide multilingual support.
SunPower selected Capgemini as its partner for this project based on the Group’s long history of innovative customer support solutions. This partnership combined SunPower’s long-term vision and knowledge of the industry with Capgemini’s technical expertise and transformation capabilities to create a new level of customer engagement. The collaborative effort led to an end-to-end transformation of SunPower’s customer service processes that provided support in eight European languages across a variety for pre-sales, sales, and after-sales operations. The solution covered lead-to-opportunity, order-to-delivery, and issueto-resolution to add substantial flexibility and improved customer satisfaction.
Taking the next step on the transformation journey
SunPower was far from finished with transformation. In 2018, based on the existing relationship between the organisations and the lasting success of its previous engagement, SunPower once again engaged Capgemini to pursue its vision of industry-leading customer experience.
Following in-depth exploration and analysis of SunPower’s processes, the partners understood the need for enhanced efficiency, process harmonisation, and operational simplification, and identified a number of opportunities to improve the capabilities of its customer service teams. The transformation team agreed that a process standardisation and restructuring SunPower’s teams would provide the most impactful way of fulfilling its objectives, leveraging a collaborative approach to creating a new and optimised customer service function. This is just one example of how well the collaboration and mutual trust between the partners was working.
Optimisation generates efficiency and effective support
Capgemini began the transformation process by applying a pair of proven methodologies in unison – DMAIC and ESOAR.
- DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control) identified enhancement opportunities within SunPower’s existing operations that prepared the organisation for implementation of a new, more effective approach. This enabled the project team to define delays caused by coordination between different teams, inefficiencies caused by miscommunication or a lack of partner and stakeholder knowledge, and opportunities for quality assurance (QA) improvements. The team monitored the performance of the newly structured teams and processes, redeploying employees to perform more value-added tasks in the areas of analytics and continuous improvement.
- Capgemini’s ESOAR (Eliminate, Standardise, Optimise, Automate, Robotise) methodology identified several activities within SunPower’s existing customer service processes that could be eliminated. The partners were also able to reduce the excessive number of quality checks and non-value-added steps in the lead management process. Once the processes had been standardised, the project team optimised them by creating new process documentation, revising the email template for lead management, and defining the average QA task handling time.
Once these efforts had concluded, SunPower and Capgemini optimised the new ways of working by updating the workload reports to reflect new handling times and team structure. In addition, the organisations reviewed the grade mix and introduced more effective telephony technology to manage call monitoring. The team was then able to create a proposal for the application of automation to trigger automatic emails from their customer relationship management (CRM) system to leads, and develop a web-lead form that gathers information as the first step of lead management.
All of the work done to this point has prepared SunPower and Capgemini to pursue additional solutions in robotics, which represents the next step of this successful partnership.
Enhanced efficiency and improved customer experience
Through their partnership, SunPower and Capgemini have achieved a wide variety of improvements that added more value, including:
- 55% reduction in the average resolution time of return material authorisation (RMA) cases from 44 to 20 days, resulting from improved coordination between teams, optimised processes, and expansion of the customer support team’s scope
- 89.5% to 93% increase in agent’s good/excellent knowledge ratings
- 25% growth in the volume of transactions handled by the same number of employees
- Reduced random quality checks and increased efficiency
- Elimination of consultations with the technical support team
- Four FTEs redeployed to higher-value tasks.
Throughout the history of the partnership, SunPower and Capgemini have demonstrated a continual commitment to enhancing the customer experience and optimising services. With these latest efforts in 2018, the organisations have delivered industry-leading achievements that will enable them to pursue other innovations such as robotics and increased automation solutions.
With the partners continuing into the future as a single, unified team, SunPower remains on the cutting edge of customer service innovation.