Coca-Cola Hellenic & DesignThinkers Academy | Towards a sustainable customer-centric organization

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Towards a sustainable customer-centric organization. Coca-Cola Hellenic & DesignThinkers Academy By Tim Schuurman & Vladimir Tsaklev Intro


The Coca-Cola Hellenic Business Services Organization (BSO) is a fast-growing shared services centre in Sofia, Bulgaria, operating on behalf of the world’s second-largest Coca-Cola bottler. Providing financial and HR support to 22 diverse countries, its 350 employees now aim to be best in class in terms of customer satisfaction. To realise this BSO is leveraging on the Service Design concept to introduce new ways of thinking and acting.

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Changing the emphasis BSO was originally set up with a focus on enhancing processes from a compliance and efficiency point of view, adding extra steps to gain the trust of the different country operations. “This often resulted in cumbersome processes spread over many departments,” explains Business Services Director Simona Simion-Popescu. “This meant that the backbone of our services was not especially customer oriented. And because the 22 country operations now see the added value of a shared service centre, requests for even more services have added to the complexity of our operations.” The challenge for BSO was to change the approach and the setup of its processes. “We needed to find a way to get things right from the outset when launching new projects and services so as to respect compliance and governance while providing an excellent experience for customers,” says Continuous Process Improvement Leader Vladimir Tsaklev, who is managing the project at BSO.

for internal customers. Similar workshops with other departments were set up within which customer journey mapping and employee journey mapping were key components. “Workshops with relevant stakeholders from the country organizations and a number of external customers typically take two days,” explains Tim Schuurman from DesignThinkers. “We go through the standard Service Design approach, including persona identification, interviews with customers, customer journey mapping and the ideation part, prototyping.” “Where customer journey mapping focuses mainly on improving the services provided to customers and business partners, employee journey mapping aims to create an environment for them to work in a customer-centric way. In other words, customer centricity is approached from both an internal (employee) as well as external (customer) perspective.” Tim Schuurman, DesignThinkers Academy Amsterdam.

“We needed to build an organization where there is a continuous focus on customer centricity and implementing in a sustainable way. This is where DesignThinkers came in.” Vladimir Tsaklev, Continuous Process Improvement Leader.

Learning by doing The project kicked off with a workshop to establish proper ownership with relevant senior level stakeholders from inside BSO and the client organizations. Further details of the programme were developed with these leaders and a pilot customer journey workshop held on Service Management, a relationship management framework © 2019 Text and images from DesignThinkers Academy


Design Thinking training

Facilitation training

Coaching on the job

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An ongoing process

Phased outcomes

Periodic sessions with relevant stakeholders reflect on the process for building the customer-centric ecosystem. Focusing on how things are done is vital as new ways of collaboration basically determine the successful implementation of new service concepts. “The idea is to turn this way of working into a regular routine that continuously builds on a customercentric mindset in a sustainable way,” adds Tsaklev.

An ambitious goal like becoming the best shared services organisation in the beverage industry requires changing people’s behaviour – and that does not happen overnight. Tim Schuurman reinforces the importance of celebrating small wins at different phases of the project. At the outset you have outcomes such as ensuring senior management commitment, engaging stakeholders in customer journey mapping and sharing the customer journey narrative with employees. As the project evolves the goals are improved employee satisfaction, enhanced customer satisfaction, better financial results and a best-inclass shared service centre says Tim Schuurman. The BSO project now has been handed over to the organization and is running independently of external consultants and trainers. Within the first year it has achieved widespread enthusiasm from senior management and 120 relevant stakeholders for the Service Design approach, along with the commitment to continuous involvement (design research) from customers in all major change initiatives.

“You don’t talk about change – you ‘do change’ and learn to collaborate in a way which leads to changes in mindset and, ultimately, genuine transformation which is anchored within the organisation.” Vladimir Tsaklev, Continuous Process Improvement Leader.

A train-the-trainer model (as part of the workshops) assures capability building in tools and facilitation so that programmes can be run independent of external trainers and consultants.

Broad involvement In addition to internal (country organizations) and external customers, the senior management levels at BSO have also been involved from the outset, helping co-create the programme and running a customer journey workshop on Service Management. Simion-Popescu welcomes this approach: “Employees are seen as customers and key stakeholders. By building empathy for one’s colleagues and understanding how that empathy was developed, people understand each other better. This in turn means you automatically become a customer-centric organisation and automatically collaborate in a way that is customer centric.” “The initial scepticism about seeing Service Design as a means to build a customer-centric mindset quickly changed as we worked with tools such as the customer journey map. Together with proper facilitation, this creates a practical way of working which is understandable for all participants.“ says Vladimir Tsaklev.

© 2019 Text and images from DesignThinkers Academy

Key Take-aways 5 key take-aways 1 Connect to end-users and relevant stakeholders from the get-go;

4 Integrate the new designled modus operandi in the way you run projects as well as day-to-day operations;

2 Ensure that minor short-term results are acknowledged and celebrated;

5 Use a balanced set of KPIs to track progress throughout the project.

3 Put employees at the centre of all your efforts;

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Some 90 employees have shared the customer journey narrative and two customer (employee) journey workshops a year are planned for each service department. Last but not least, some 20 new short-term and 20 mid-term service concepts are being introduced across four service departments. The fact that the executive management of Coca Cola Hellenic has now decided on an organizationwide scale up of the Service Design project speaks volumes for its success.