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Improved Customer Service at eBay with Six Sigma

ebay six sigma

Ebay, one of the most successful e-commerce companies worldwide, is a different type of company from traditional retailers, simply because it relies on a lot of small companies and sellers using their platform. Those sellers are eBay’s customers, or members that bring eBay revenue. This business model is now seen among many e-commerce companies in today’s modern world.

Using Lean tools as well as Six Sigma, eBay decided to:

  • Improve the member experience
  • Reduce cost

In order to do this, eBay concentrated on customer support and even gave customer support a definition. Customer support can be any department where value is added to the customer. By using Process Improvement (reducing issues and providing perfect support) it can result in a great member experience.

To provide perfection in customer service, eBay’s aim is to educate each and every customer service agent with the principles and specific tools that would automatically motivate them to be the best they can be. This education and process would prove to be effective over the long term, and ultimately help the company increase revenue.

Any company using Six Sigma and who wants to improve their customer service or pinpoint issues in the process would apply DMAIC (D-Define M-Measure, A-Analyze, I-Improve and C- Control).

Ebay implemented several Lean tools for improvement:

Kanban: this is a Lean tool for measuring inventory. It is the Japanese word for signal.

5s: Method for organizing workspaces to reduce clutter wasted time for employees.

Kaizen: Japanese for continuous improvement.

Poka-yoke: Method for designing or improving them so error will be less likely.

Visual Controls: Method for making problems visual, thus easier to fix.

Success was reflected through improvements to customer service, specifically in this case contract subscriptions, which resulted in year-to-year revenue gains of $114,000. The company was able to reduce the contract subscriptions process time from seven days to two days. Incremental improvements like this over time lead to significant gains in revenue.

The bottom line is that Six Sigma really does work! For more information on our courses or services, please visit 6sigma.us.

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