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2011 WINNER: Competitive Advantage—Telus Communications Inc.

For its creative new workforce management system, Telus is the 2011 winner of the Optimas Award for Competitive Advantage.

December 1, 2011
Related Topics: Awards, Top Stories - Frontpage, Growth, Competitive Advantage, Workforce Planning, Optimas
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Question: When is too much success a problem? Answer: When the old system just can't keep up.

Such was the problem Telus Communications Inc. faced when the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company was preparing to launch Optik TV, a new service that, with multiple channels and home entertainment options, was bound to be a hit. The problem was the old customer service system would not be able to handle the anticipated demand.

To complicate things, installing the new TV service required a higher level of technical skill than before and a longer time slot for service.

"We now needed potentially a lot more people to do the volumes of work that were going to be required because each piece of work was going to take three to four times longer," says Tony Geheran, senior vice president of customer solutions delivery. "We would need to re-engineer our business to accommodate that level of growth."

Telus launched Optik TV in June 2010. But in 2007 it began laying the foundation for its new workforce management program, whereby customer service processes were streamlined and automated. The system itself was introduced in the fall of 2009 and is expected to be fully implemented by 2013.

No detail was too small in examining and analyzing new procedures before instituting change. Analysts even rode along with technicians for a "real world" view of how new procedures were working and how they could be improved.

"In order to automate a process, you want to make the process as lean as possible first, so that you're not automating a bad process," Geheran explains.

One major change was that technicians were assigned according to their skill sets, not just because they were available. "A core component of the new direction is that we don't have one homogenous lump of technicians that you assign work to," Geheran says. "Now you look at prioritizing work based on the customer's requirement."

Already, the new workforce management system is proving to be a success. Productivity figures are up, along with customer satisfaction.

For its creative new workforce management system, Telus is the 2011 winner of the Optimas Award for Competitive Advantage.

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