“96% of our customers now use their online account”
Sandra Montag, Cards Customer Service Manager, Global Cards Business

In 2014, despite its strong market position, IDS Europe, part of today’s Global Cards Business within Q8, was facing declining profits and unit margins were under pressure. To restore profitable growth, IDS aimed to increase customer value by optimizing processes and strengthening its performance management systems. All eyes were on the Customer Service, Telemarketing and Network Operations teams.

Customer How can we let more customers discover the advantages of an iAccount?

End-to-end How can we optimize our end-to-end processes and eliminate (potential) waste?

Performance How can we strengthen our performance management system?

“We had plenty of ideas to implement within our own team, but Nova Reperta helped us change the bigger picture”

The approach

Together with Nova Reperta, IDS embarked on a transformation journey, starting by looking at the organization through four “lenses”: Voice of the Customer, Operational Practices, Management Systems, and Mindset & Behaviour.

Step 1. QuickScan (5 days) 
The project kicked off with a five-day QuickScan, during which we identified the main levers that would help the Customer Service (CS) teams free up time while building on their existing strengths: increase customer value by focusing on the department’s core activities, eliminate waste across administrative processes, and strengthen the performance management system. These levers became the starting objectives of the “WOW journey”, intended to change the department’s “Way of Working”.

Step 2. Diagnostic and quick wins (5 weeks) 
By introducing a balanced mix of thought and action, we were able to achieve change from the get-go. A five-week detailed diagnostic & design phase allowed us to analyse current processes, quantify pain points, map customer expectations, and measure the current level of performance, so as to set a realistic ambition of what the future of CS could and should look like. From the start, this was combined with the implementation of a set of quick wins: “irritants” – minor issues that had been frustrating the teams – were tackled once and for all.

Step 3. Deep dives (10 weeks) 
Over the next 10 weeks, more structural implementation “deep dives” were set up: mini-projects tackling the teams’ bigger challenges, requiring a structured and dedicated problem-solving approach. In order to get everyone on board, considerable time was spent explaining the “why” of these initiatives. The deep dives were (and still are!) discussed during a “wall of fame” meeting, where successes, both big and small, are visualized and celebrated. Over time, our role evolved from leading the transformation to more of a coaching role, until the teams were fully equipped to take it further by themselves.

“You can’t change a ‘law’, but you can change procedures”

“I was one of the sceptics at the beginning of this project,” Sandra Montag admits. As a team lead at the time, she knew what needed to change, but didn’t see how it could be achieved. “Looking at the tools that Nova Reperta introduced and the bottom-up empowerment they advocated right from the start, I quickly changed my view.”


That empowerment was extremely important. “We are a compliance-driven department, yet we have the reflex to ask ourselves why we do something in a certain way. You can’t change a ‘law’, but you can change procedures. If we can argue why we should optimize and how we can do it, we will always be heard. That drive for improvement is here to stay.”

Facts & figures

Project duration: 1 year (across different phases)

Number of collaborators involved: 30+


  • Baseline improvement: 20% of capacity (in FTEs) freed up after nine months (reinvested partly in continuous improvement activities, partly in other business units)
  • The contracted-to-lifting volume ratio of the telemarketing customer pipeline increased by 67%
  • The contract handling lead time dropped from 35 days to 17
  • The proportion of customers using the online iAccount tool rose from 17% to 40%
  • The number of internal approval flows decreased by 53%, allowing Customer Service staff to offer more value to customers
  • Implementation of an extensive performance management system, including whiteboards, KPIs & dashboarding, capacity management and SOPs, made it possible to measure and improve the department’s performance
  • A culture of structural problem-solving was established, where all employees are encouraged and empowered to participate

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