What is Open Skies?


In July we held our first Open Skies initiative in our Customer Care department from July 14 to 20. We spoke with Customer Care Trainer and Open Skies organizer, Jack Lewis, about the event. So what is Open Skies? Read on to find out.

What is Open Skies?

“Open Skies is the hackathon for Blacklane Customer Care where we try to create a really relaxed, innovative atmosphere for our staff so they can come up with solutions and new creative responses to situations.

We wanted to create a really creative, bustling environment for the staff. That environment created the goodwill among the staff where people were wanting to go the extra mile and think of these creative responses.”

What was the goal?

“Quite a few things. We were looking into re-evaluating some of our processes and policies, and how to best implement them. One of our big things is we wanted to ensure we use every interaction as a resource to create a really positive response, create customers for life, and build that trust with people.

We also wanted to support our chauffeurs in the best way we could and be more creative in that respect as well.

A big thing for all of us was to really empower the Customer Care agents. Sometimes the by-the-book responses don’t apply to a situation, so we wanted to encourage the agents to be as free as they could be, and feel confident in how they respond.

We also wanted to bring people in from other departments to have a fresh set of eyes on these situations and talk about possible solutions that we maybe wouldn’t have thought of.”

How did it go?

“I was really impressed with it. A lot of things went into this, and loads of people helped, and it was pretty incredible. We worked out the other day that we had in two and a half weeks worth of assistance from people from other departments. People came in and were really enthusiastic and had all sorts of ideas. Our agents got really into it as well and just loved the whole experience. We have something like 170 individual feedback forms that people have done, as well as feedback from other sources.

We made sure that all the way through the process there was really good support for all the staff. Again, this was about keeping it stress-free, keeping it fun, so we did away with the conventional way of referring things to a manager or a senior on the floor, and we tried to encourage people to go to their colleagues to discuss ideas. But at the same time, we always wanted to have people there to handle the running of things, so experienced staff were always available, so there was someone there to take over if something became difficult. It was all about relieving stress, making sure things are running as smoothly as possible, and making sure our staff are feeling completely supported and confident.

It’s the beginning of a process, and a massive step toward a much more customer-focused approach.”

What’s next?

“Now the challenge is seeing what we can take from it and how to implement it. We’re going to look through all the information we have — there’s a huge amount, as I mentioned — and see what can actually be practically implemented, and I think a lot of it will be. Personally, I’m really pro- anything that is empowering agents and making it more fun for them, making it more enjoyable. I think they all benefited from that positive energy, so it’s just keeping that positive energy going. Open Skies keeps everything refreshed. It was quite intense, but in a way that everyone loved it.”