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Sofinco customer testimonial: Finding and fixing irritants through continuous improvement

Sofinco customer testimonial on dealing with irritants

Sofinco started its continuous improvement process in 2014, to boost customer and partner satisfaction ratings, and make employees’ working lives easier. With a 94% irritant resolution rate, the mechanism’s ability to improve operational efficiency is widely recognised for its benefits to all stakeholders. Read the testimonials from Laurence Catteau, Sophie Desreumaux and Stéphanie Ledrole about behind-the-scenes work on the process and how IDhall’s support was crucial.

About Sofinco

Sofinco is the trading name in France of Crédit Agricole Consumer Finance, the consumer credit arm of Crédit Agricole S.A. It distributes an extensive range of retail credit products and associated services across all distribution channels, including direct sales, point-of-sale financing (vehicles and household equipment) and partnership arrangements. Sofinco offers solutions appropriate to the needs of its customers and partners (major retail chains, specialised retailers and corporate lending products). In 2020, Sofinco financed 1.8 million consumer loans.

Seven years ago, the company set up a continuous improvement process to coordinate the handling of business shortcomings and irritant management, with the aim of perpetually improving the customer experience and staff’s working lives. It is now acknowledged as one of the most advanced such processes within Crédit Agricole Group Its success is built on the collaborative mindset that drives Sofinco, bringing about regular enhancements to the process based on the issues facing the business and its customers.

The matters reported are increasingly complex, touching as they do a range of aspects, such as digitalisation, regulation, new working organisational arrangements and so on. Equal attention is paid across the board, because an unresolved customer irritant will eventually irritate partners or employees. It was therefore important to have a single prism through which to view and deal with issues centrally so that the process works and stays in the forefront of employees’ minds.
Laurence Catteau
Head of the Continuous Improvement Process – Sofinco

Facilitate the work of employees involved in the process

In 2014, senior management provided the impetus to introduce a process to deal with irritants and improve the CX. That process has since been extended to encompass employee irritants. Excel was used to monitor shortcomings at first, but proved unsuitable because of the number of free-format statements; the data is not all structured. Tests were conducted with other systems, but they quickly proved unwieldy. All functional departments were involved, but at the time the process was split between customer and employee irritants, with separate governance and leadership and initiatives tracked in different files, which made management and monitoring trickier.

Laurence Catteau took over the process in 2018, relaunching coordination with a company-wide approach and delivering a more effective user experience. The first area of work was the Communications Department, to design a new identity and improve presentation materials. Then the team looked for a suitable system to simplify irritant reporting and initiative monitoring.

To allow all employees, wherever they are, to identify issues and escalate continuous improvement initiatives, the process has to be founded on simple operating principles and be easy to access. Everyone’s efforts must be supported by managers, and by the use of a platform that facilitates day-to-day coordination work.
Laurence Catteau
Head of the Continuous Improvement Process – Sofinco

Selecting the IDhall platform and seeing the first benefits

Even at the first IDhall demo, Sofinco’s continuous improvement team saw the system’s potential, and the choice was made to implement it. Sophie Desreumaux then joined the team and she started by migrating all the initiatives in progress into IDhall, in order to start using the system with real-life situations.

The change of system rapidly reinforced the collaborative dimension by securing greater user buy-in, thanks to the ease of data input and the company-wide scope of interchanges within the platform. The e-learning platform available with IDhall also made it easy for coordinators to ensure the adoption of best practice and use of the system as intended. In a satisfaction survey organised after 6 months of using the system, 94% of respondents gave a positive score, recognising both the ease with which initiatives could be logged (score 8/10), and the efficiency of taking ownership of and monitoring initiatives (score 7.6/10).

The system clearly enabled topics to be re-ignited and propelled forward by shortening irritant resolution deadlines. Coordination and governance are of course very important to the success of the process, work has to be orchestrated and prioritised, but when everything is centralised in a user-friendly system, it really is much easier to track all the tasks to be carried out over time.
Sophie Desreumaux
Process improvement manager – Sofinco

Committee preparation and monitoring improved using IDhall

All matters, including the most complex issues affecting the whole firm, are now processed in IDhall, which means close contact is maintained with the grassroots and initiatives are managed from start to finish while valuing employees’ involvement. The resource allocation committee uses IDhall during meetings to evaluate the initiatives that can be sent by any department each week. The assessment is carried out directly in the system, and milestones are also set to best monitor the work to be done over time.

Before IDhall, all the monitoring and reporting statistics had to be produced manually using Excel data extracts and formulas that were sources of mistakes and were absolutely not collaborative. IDhall radically changed how I work on preparing monitoring committees. It’s changed from hours of work to a handful of mouse clicks. All the data is available in real time; you can see the barometer of new and closed initiatives just by clicking.
Stéphanie Ledrole
Process improvement manager – Sofinco

The whole continuous improvement team agrees that it is the involvement of all contributors, from those flagging issues to subject experts, that determines success, and that IDhall has definitely improved employee collaboration and engagement in reporting failures and shortcomings. Laurence Catteau accordingly reminds us what Henry Ford said: “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

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