Monthly Archives: December 2014

Call center and operations department integrated – how can Super7 Operations make this happen?

For complex customer requests, Call center activities will be more and more integrated with operations activities – and Super7 Operations will enable this.

The classical Financial Services Back-Office work is being replaced with Straight Through Processing for the simple customer request. Super7’s, small autonomous multi-skilled teams with flexible capacity, are taking care of the rest: complex service requests, where human judgment is needed, or requests that are too infrequent to be automated at this time.

At the same time, the classical Call Center is being transformed into a customer service organization, because customers prefer the new Straight Trough Processes offered through internet and mobile apps. What’s left are the more complex requests. There are apparently a lot of similarities with what happened to the classical Back-Office. Does this mean Super7 Operations can make an equally impressive impact in the Call Center?

In my opinion, Super7 Operations will have direct use in those areas where the call center and operations can be integrated. For low volume, high complexity service requests, a call directly to the operations specialist – or a chat session, for that matter – will be more effective than a call to an agent, who fills in a channel form, and forwards this to the same specialist.

In other areas, Super7 Operations is not the answer. A large group of customers still prefers the call channel over internet or mobile applications. Bulk calls, high volume: an efficient call center organization will be able to process these with far less costs per call and with probably a higher chance of cross sales. Super7 Operations wasn’t designed for this type of work, and others have set the benchmarks for these departments.

So, how would that work, Super7 Operations combined with answering a large number inbound calls? The basic principles stay the same, but we need to find solutions to a new set of problems. For instance:

  • How can a Super7 keep the overview of the total workload when calls are routed to individuals?
  • How can Super7 members help or ask for help when everybody is constantly on the phone?
  • How can the manager still offer help when inbound calls make up a large part of the work?

I will address these questions in one or more of my next blog posts. So make sure you check regularly on

Menno R. van Dijk.

The design phase of Super7 implementation

The design phase of a Super7 Operations implementation project focuses on setting ambition, creating teams and assigning work process, and designing the tools and processes with which the team can manage their daily work. Super7 Operations integrates the Lean principles for administrative work, a.k.a. Operational Management, with the concept of autonomous teams. When you want your operations organisation to make this next step in Lean and Operational Management, there are three steps you should take in preparation.

  1. Set an ambitious ambition. Any change needs a clear goal. It has to be clear to everyone why this change is needed, and what it will bring. In modern day Banking, there is a strong focus on costs and automation. In my experience in Super7 Operations implementation projects, cost reduction has been most often the main quantitative goal. We’ve seen that implementation of Super7 Operations can lead to 20-50% increase in efficiency. The organisation has to be prepared to reduce FTE capacity when the efficiency is increased. Of course, you could get additional work done with the same number of people. But in Banking, where digitalization is the key word of today, most often there is no additional work for the operations department.
  2. Create clusters of work processes, that are similar enough so that all team members can learn them. These clusters should be sufficient work for a small team of 7 (of 5 to 9). A team can consist of several sub-groups with their own skills, but only if there is an intention to become multi-skilled. Team members must be able to help each other.
  3. Determine how the team will manage their daily work. What is the output that they will deliver? When has it been a good day? What are the restrictions that the management sets? How does the visual management board look like? In my book on Super7 Operations, I explain the way of working in more detail. But in short: working without queues, Today In, Today Out (TITO), results in the simplest management system. Other daily goals have been tried and tested also: working with large peaks in demand where TITO isn’t possible or even setting quality improvement as one of the daily goals. I will explain this last possibility in one of my next posts.

Menno R. van Dijk.