CIBA Vision

CIBA Vision Corporation
2150 Torquay Mews
Mississauga, ON, L5N 2M6
Phone: 800 233-9223, Fax: 905 286-2899

Company Description

With worldwide headquarters in Atlanta, CIBA Vision is a global leader in the research, development and manufacturing of optical and ophthalmic products and services, including contact lenses and lens care products.

CIBA Vision products are available in more than 70 countries worldwide. CIBA Vision is the eye care unit of Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS), a world leader in healthcare with core businesses in pharmaceuticals, consumer health, generics, eye care and animal health. In 2003, the Group's businesses achieved collective sales of approximately USD 24.8 billion and a net income of approximately USD 5 billion. The Group invested approximately USD 3.75 billion in R&D. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis AG Group companies employ about 78,500 people and operate in over 140 countries around the world.

Contact Center Description

CIBA Vision North American Customer Service division is an international contact center operation with two multi-lingual sites – Mississauga (Canada) & Atlanta (U.S.) The Canadian based contact center is primarily an inbound operation and has been servicing customers across North America since 1999. Calls are received from private OD's and major optical chains from the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Hawaii. The Atlanta site has been in operation since 1980. Atlanta handles both inbound and outbound customer contact for national chain accounts, distributors and retail chains/mass merchandisers – collectively known as Key Accounts. Calls are distributed by matching a Key Account Rep to specific accounts. Each Key Account Rep services a specific account base. The majority of Key Account orders are processed through EDI, fax, and email.

On average, 45,000 calls are received weekly with talk times varying from 1:35 for a Canadian call to 2:15 for a U.S. call. The Automated Group processes approximately 10,000 additional orders weekly from faxes, voice mail, e-mails and SROL takes approximately 700 calls weekly.

The organizational structure consists of the Head, N.A. Customer Service & Canadian Site Director who has full responsibility for the North American Customer Service division. Management positions reporting directly to the Head, N.A. Customer Service include: the Manager N.A. SROL & Automated Ordering, Manager, N.A. Customer Service, Manager US Customer Service, Manager N.A. Business Systems and the Manager, Customer Service Operations. There are 9 CSRs in Atlanta and approximately 100 full time and 20 part time CSRs in Mississauga. The ratio of CSRs to Supervisors in Atlanta is 9 – 1 and in Mississauga 15 – 1. In the Atlanta location, there are 2 Coordinators and 1 Supervisor. Mississauga has 7 Coordinators and 5 Supervisors. Both locations have training, scheduling and tech support personnel.

CCEOC Certification Level

CIBA Vision North American Customer Service division has achieved the prestigious Gold level Contact Centre Employer of Choice™ designation. The Atlanta site is the first U.S. based contact center to reach CCEOC status. This was achieved through a combined assessment with both contact centers contributing to the overall score.

Maintaining and promoting the Contact Center Employer of Choice™ (CCEOC) Award for the North American Customer Service division will help CIBA Vision solidify their reputation as an employer of choice. This designation gives specific recognition to the dedicated staff that provides outstanding service to their customers on a day to day basis. It also validates management's efforts to develop and maintain an outstanding work environment. Both the Atlanta and Mississauga centers participated in the program and completed a combined assessment.

Major focus areas for the program include:

  • Attracting and retaining the best, right fit candidates
  • New opportunities for employee development & involvement
  • Motivating & coaching employees
  • Developing management skills

Becoming certified through the Contact Center Employer of Choice™ program allows the CSC to benefit from achieving the designation and helps identify new opportunities for developing effective continuous improvement programs.

Key Performance Measures

The top five measures for performance include:

  1. Total service factor
  2. Attendance (schedule adherence)
  3. Accuracy
  4. Call Quality
  5. Shrinkage - %age downtime (auxiliary state)

In Atlanta, they use a report card system where customers are surveyed online and scores are used to help grade Key Account Reps.

Technology & Ergonomics

CIBA Vision CSC uses an Avaya PBX, IVR, CTI, Blue Pumpkin workforce management software, CMS for real time ACD and service levels, Business Advocate for overflow to reserve agents and NICE for call recording and quality monitoring. Video conferencing is available for meetings involving remote offices. Workstations - desks, chairs, monitors and keyboards – are ergonomically designed to reduce physical strain and repetitive injuries. Workstations are arranged in pods and have ample natural light. Indirect lighting is used at each workstation to reduce glare and lessen eye strain. Workstation dividers are low but provide sufficient noise reduction for effective communication. Sound barriers are used to reduce noise and "fin walls" are used to separate pods and give structure to the office. A separate quiet room or "Rest Room" is available for employees to lie down or just relax in if they are feeling stressed. Lots of bright, vibrant colours are visible throughout the office. An on-site cafeteria offers employees hot meals and a comfortable seating area. The cafeteria also has areas for employees to use computers to access the internet, watch TV or play ping pong.

Growth Prospects

CIBA Vision Customer Service Centers (CSC) are committed to growing their customer service operation internally. This strategy supports their corporate objectives from a quality control and cost containment perspective.

CCEOC Attributes

The president of CIBA Vision often speaks about the values associated with work/life balance. It is very much a part of the corporate culture. The CSC works hard to accommodate people's schedules. It is a flexible work environment and reps have the option to switch shifts provided their supervisor is made aware. Reps are allowed 10 late arrivals per month – maximum 30 minutes. Employees have a number of floater days that they can use throughout the year. New employees receive 2 weeks vacation when they start. Financial support for continuing education and scholarship programs are available. Legal counseling, retirement planning and college planning services are provided free of charge.

Rewards and recognition are an important part of the motivation and morale building strategy. CIBA Bucks are a monetary incentive employees can earn when recognized for going above and beyond their regular duties. This includes a good attendance record, good key performance indicator ratings and perfect phone quality. There are monthly and quarterly team challenges that can earn CIBA Bucks or larger prizes. Ongoing motivational activities take place which include: decorating workstations, puzzle competitions, Easter egg hunts, mini car race, birthday celebrations, Happy Friday – pizza and pajama days.

A year end Gala celebration is held every year and is always a fun event. The biggest individual incentive is the Distinguished Performance Award. This is an annual recognition of employees who have consistently shown high performance in their jobs and displayed above and beyond behaviours throughout the year. The award includes a company financed trip to a warm destination. The individual's picture is displayed in the office along with all the other winners from previous years.

Atlanta has a unique program called "Bright Idea". If an employee finds a better, more efficient way of doing something, or they find an effective way to reduce costs and can develop the solution, they can earn up to $200 dollars. They also have the "Spot Award". This is a peer recognition award. If someone is found going aboveand beyond, they can be recommended for the award which can range from $25 to $2000.

Corporately, CIBA Vision sponsors K9 Vision which helps provide financial support for the seeing-eye dog program for the blind. They are also involved in raising money for the United Way and the Cancer Society. The Mississauga CSC works on various community support programs. This includes supporting the local food bank, women's shelters, needy families and the Hospital for Sick Children. In Atlanta, they provide vision screening for children in schools and people in shelters. A toy drive is done in December and a county is picked to receive the gifts. "Light the Night" is a special money raising event planned with a walk/runathon and fireworks display. CIBA Vision is a corporate sponsor for the Special Olympics. Many products are donated to special causes such as the 9/11 crisis or the war in Iraq. Golf tournaments are also organized to raise money for various charities.

Contact Center Culture and Social Environment

The Customer Service Center at CIBA Vision is a very trusting and open environment. People are relaxed, and positive towards one another. Management works hard to encourage people to do their best and feel good about their contribution to the success of the company. Dress code is business casual.

Lots of different activities are planned to help create a fun and enjoyable atmosphere. Some of those activities include: PJ day, ping pong, walking group, computers and big screen TV in lunch room, Fun day – BBQ, mini golf, Easter egg basket painting and Marti Gras mask painting

Management and employees put forth a concerted effort to create a professional image. Terms such as: camaraderie, caring and concern for each other, team support, and treat people with respect are used to describe the culture and social environment.

Above and Beyond Factors

Above all of the official policies, procedures and structures that make the CIBA Vision Customer Service Centers great places to work, employees really enjoy each other's company and treat each other with respect. Above and Beyond refers to the little (or big) extras that differentiates the CIBA Vision CSC from all the rest.

Here is a list of some of those extras:

  • The people are great
  • Everyone likes coming to work
  • Great facilities
  • Open accessible management
  • People feel comfortable and supported
  • A fun place to work