The client is the financial services division of a high-street retail brand. The company fully outsourced home insurance operations to a white-label provider – this was not meeting client’s needs so they sought alternative arrangements. The client brought some activities in-house while outsourcing others, including customer service and finance, to different providers.
The client’s overall goals for outsourcing customer service were to:
- Improve customer acquisition and retention for home insurance policies
- Deliver strong customer service across all channels
- Reduce customer effort through continual improvement
- Reduce costs
The client was also moving to a new IT platform. The migration created various teething problems. Most of these stemmed from integration issues between the client’s new core systems and their external finance provider.
These integration issues manifested as customer service quirks such as: the finance provider continuing to collect payment from customers who had canceled their policies, duplicate payments, and existing, trusted customers suddenly receiving an email stating a credit check was being carried out. These in turn led to a surge in complaints.
Firstsource provided a fully outsourced solution for customer service and sales across voice, email and white mail. This includes:
- Contact center CRM solution with API links to the client’s Duck Creek insurance policy platform
- Survey Monkey solution to collect NPS and CSAT data through SMS and email
- Complaints handling process and platform
- Tailored recruitment and training program for customer service aptitude and soft skills
Handling problems arising from core platform migration
The immediate challenge was handling customer service problems caused by system integration difficulties. It very quickly became clear that more customer service staff would be needed to handle servicing surge. Firstsource swiftly fulfilled the request for 50% more associates within three weeks.
In parallel, we tackled the unstable links between the client’s and finance provider’s platforms by introducing workarounds. These workarounds were managed through Microsoft Forms to ensure speed and convenience while providing an audit trail. They include:
- Emailing all canceled policies each day to the credit company so they can check the direct debits are canceled
- Emailing all renewed policies so they can check they’ve taken payment
- Ensuring cancelation of policies where customers canceled directly with the finance company
We handled a surge in complaints to 800 per month by introducing an entirely new complaint handling process and system that assigns each complaint to a named associate.
Treating customers as individuals
We train our associates not just on the ins and outs of the product, but also on how to treat customers as individuals. In sales conversations, associates look for different demographics and personality types and tailor their approach accordingly. Older customers are likely to be more interested in add-ons relating to heating, gas or water leaks, whereas younger customers are more interested in electricity and Wi-Fi.
Treating customers as individuals is particularly important in renewal conversations. A key performance metric in renewals is when a customer finds a competitive quote $0 to $40 cheaper. Here our associates are trained to look at what they know about the customer – how long they’ve been with our client, any recent claims, add-ons and so on – and use that information to build rapport through empathy and give the client reasons to stay.
Previously only 50% of customers with this price difference ($0-40) would stay, following Firstsource training and solutions implementation this increased to 84%.
Our management team reviews all the customer service results and listens to all calls with NPS detractors. They then carry out root cause analysis and roll out changes to prevent these problems from happening again. Our continual improvement initiatives have led to:
- Taking 45 seconds off after-call logging time
- Complaints resolved at level increased from 32% of complaints to 56%
- Improvements in First Call Resolution
- 20% reduction in FTEs
- Customer effort reduced by making access to online documents easier, improving self-service functionality and IVR scripts
As a result of all these initiatives, we have delivered:
- Overall customer retention 27% above stretch target, retaining an incremental $2M of revenue
- Retention of $0-40 price differential customers increased from 50% to 86%.
- Customer acquisition at 180% of target
- $400K annual cost savings from streamlined processes
- Consistent achievement of +45 NPS
- Best practices on complaints handling and training that have been rolled out to other divisions within client firm