Lion Financial Services (LFS) provides investment management services to approximately 350,000 customers, made up of corporations, institutions, and individuals. The bulk of LFS’ transactions with its customers, making up roughly half of all transactions, are carried out through its call centers. Thus, the efficient and productive operations of the LFS call centers is a priority for the company and critical to its bottom line.
In early 2000, Jim Boatwright, LFS’ Vice President of Operations, determined that a thorough examination of LFS’ call centers was called for. Boatwright knew that technology had significantly advanced since the LFS call centers were originally designed and he was keenly aware that LFS was facing a steady increase in the associated costs of operating these call centers. Boatwright contacted Customer Solutions Group (CSG) in February of 2000 and Andy Carr, CSG’s Chief Operating Officer, was brought in to begin working on the project of providing actionable and specific recommendations that would be designed to improve quality and reduce costs. Carr spent the next several months observing the call center operations, interviewing managers and employees, and analyzing the existing data, training materials and corporate reports. After extensive analysis, Carr was prepared to present his findings and new design for LFS’ call center and operations.
Our team supports Carr’s redesign proposal of LFS’ call center and believe the recommendations have merit based on our evaluation. We believe it will be successful in providing LFS with the following outcomes: a consistent and exemplary level of customer service, short time to answer, and reduce annual operating expense by $1.5 million (Page 11, Paragraph 4). However, we only make this recommendation so long as Andy and LFS’s management create a thorough implementation plan that addresses business continuity and mitigates risks associated with large process redesign efforts.
There are several design changes in Carr’s proposal that garnered our team’s support. The single largest being the elimination of the Boston and New Jersey call centers in favor of a single large call center at the existing Chicago facilities. Complimentary to this change is the reduction of the eight existing agent pools to that of three: Quickline, Customer Service, and Broker Service (See Exhibit 4). In making these design changes Carr implemented two fundamental process design principles. Firstly, by consolidating all call center operations to Chicago, several complex call routing tasks are now combined into a single routing task to the main call center. Secondly, in order to merge the Customer and Broker Quicklines to a single Quickline pool, it will be necessary to create detailed call blueprints and rules of thumb that will allow Quickline agents to utilize multiple versions of the same process in order to excel in processing customer and broker calls. We believe these changes will bring the consistency and quality to the customer experience that the LFS management team will find attractive.
The next two design changes recommended by Carr are perfect examples of the design principle to perform the work where it makes sense. First he recommends creating a customer personal identification number (PIN) that the customer will be prompted to enter by the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. Upon entry, the system will be able to instantly identify the caller as either a customer or broker, determine the nature of their call, and route the call to the appropriate agent pool. When the call arrives, it will integrate with the agents’ computer system and display the required customer information as well as the reason for their call. This allows them to begin assisting the customer immediately without having to engage in challenge response questions to determine identity and ensures that the correct customer account is properly referenced. The...