It’s an FM partnership that saves a global bank some $1 million dollars a year, except that the FM company providing the service isn’t normally in the business of facilities management.
The partnership between Citibank and customer contact management company Sykes underlines how FM models are evolving to meet changed customer demand.
Sykes is a NASDAQ-listed billion dollar organisation with 50,000 employees in 70 centres worldwide, and is a specialist in managing companies’ relationships with their customers – mainly providing inbound call centre support for the likes of Motorola, Sony, and Fujitsu-Siemens.
Sykes was brought in by Citi in 2012 to manage support for their nearly 700,000 commercial and pre-paid card holders across over 50 countries and 21 languages, with Sykes providing some 1,000 FTE staff across seven global sites in North and South America, Manila, Budapest and Scotland.
The relationship was so successful that Citibank in 2014 appointed Sykes to manage their global Facilities Management helpdesk, covering some 70 offices across the globe.
In a follow-the-sun model, Sykes staff in the UK (Edinburgh), the Phillipines (Manila) and Costa Rica (Heredia) provide a 24/7 service, with daily activity reports and weekly meetings to identify potential issues and monitor performance.
Sykes supports Citi cardholders through multi-lingual teams working across multiple contact channels, and provides its FM service in much the same way – primarily by phone directly to a call handler, or online via a Citi intranet site.
The vision for the partnership is global, and Sykes’ strategy is simply to support Citi across its international operations. Performance metrics are excellent and Sykes works to a continuous improvement model to ensure consistency and excellence across countries and continents.
The Sykes global team is managed by Edinburgh-based Catherine Rosso, director of account operations, with some 35 multi-lingual agents, managers, analysts, and trainers based in Sykes’ three global locations.
“Overall, we deal with well over 100,000 calls a year to the Citi Helpdesk - everything from lost keys to broken windows, or faulty air conditioning to rodent infestation – and all tickets raised have to be closed off promptly and successfully,” says Catherine.
“That means having networks of local service providors on whom we can rely, sometimes in challenging circumstances – for example, in the aftermath of a tropical storm when continuity of operations is paramount.”
That global management and operational role involves the seamless duplication of services across continents – all to a similar and measurably high standard. The latest call monitoring statistics show that over 97% of all calls were handled effectively.
It’s also a partnership that challenges traditional model of FM provision, recognising the changing needs of multi-national companies and the offices that support their operations.
Wayne Barnes, the Citi director responsible for the programme, says that Sykes’ key strengths are “their Independence and their desire to add value.
“They not only provide a very effective service desk service, they are looking for trends that may indicate a downstream issue. They are also very receptive to requests for either service or data,” he says.