A major general insurance organisation whose call centre handled 20,000 calls each week from customers who wanted to query, amend or cancel their home insurance policy. 200 full time equivalents (FTE) were employed to handle this demand, with staff split across three sites, two in the UK and one in India.
Many of the calls received were to correct mistakes made during earlier processes and, as a result, the level of complaints was high. The call abandonment rate was also excessive and peak times seemed unmanageable, often with many customers waiting for their calls to be answered. This caused panic amongst local managers who would instruct staff to take messages from customers in order for them to be called back, a practice that compounded their problems.
A deep understanding of Lean Service techniques was used by Reinvigoration to fully diagnose and understand the problem at hand, before working towards the solutions.
- Initial process observations and call listening revealed that many of the calls received were failure demand (created as a result of a process failure) and avoidable
- A team of local staff were trained on how to identify the difference between value demand and failure demand. This training was designed using their actual calls to aid understanding. The definition of value demand began by gaining an understanding of the purpose of the process from the customer’s perspective
- Once this purpose was understood, the local team was able to categorise demand into failure demand and value demand. They completed a data collection exercise where a representative sample of calls were listened to and the category of demand recorded. Failure demand was found to be running close to 50%
- An improvement action plan was then created to tackle and eradicate the causes of failure demand
- In addition, further training was provided to ensure that all staff members could deal with common queries, thus reducing handoffs
The approach taken drove significant improvements including:
- Call volumes reduced by 30% by driving out or minimising the causes of failure demand
- The call abandonment rate dropped from over 15% to less than 3%
- Internal transfers and handoffs were reduced considerably resulting in a much improved customer experience
- Large amounts of capacity was created generating significant financial benefits