Even the best business operation has room for improvement. Should complacency set in, what might be "the best" one day could be an "also ran" the next. That's why a leading financial services company, one with a stellar reputation for its customer experience, partnered with TTEC on a five-year plan to first, take its work with customers to a new level and second, to assure the company maintained its status as an industry leader.
When the project began, the company had recently centralized the contact centers for its 15 million customers into a single location. But management discovered that despite the consolidation, disconnected pieces in its customer experience persisted. And so the first of the four major phases of TTEC's work involved a review of the overall operation, one that resulted in its restructuring to three distinct tiers. The first tier would assist new customers in their first interactions with the company, with the second and third tiers handling requests as they grew in complexity.
Following that major reorganization, the TTEC team moved to the second phase, gathering the data necessary to fine-tune the contact center's operations. This resulted in a number of important discoveries. One was that the company could beef up its digital service channels, to take advantage of the increased willingness of customers to seek help through resources like websites and chat boxes. TTEC also carefully examined the contact center data to identify the kinds of interactions that could be switched over to these new digital channels -- without sacrificing customer satisfaction. Careful data analysis also allowed the company to finely calibrate average call handle times, to get the right balance between operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. There was also an important technical component to this phase, as TTEC helped the company move from a legacy telephony vendor to a modern Cisco platform.
The first two phases put the contact center operation on a more solid footing. For the next phase, TTEC helped the company take steps to keep it that way. Management was surveyed to test whether actual contact center operations were aligned with the company's long-term strategic goals. This identified a number of mismatches the company was able to rectify, such as the extent to which the contact center should be involved with outbound sales. TTEC also helped develop a "segment/event-driven" model for customer interactions, one that identified changes in a customer's situation and then offered a customized response. This data-intensive approach required numerous re-engineerings of contact center operations, such as a redesign of the dashboards used by contact center staff members.
The final phase of the project involved creating a five-year roadmap to continue the momentum. Nine categories of initiatives were included in the roadmap, each assigned to different points on a timeline as merited by their importance. The main issues covered by the initiatives included assuring that strategies within the contact center remained connected, both with each other and with overall company objectives. Project owners for each of the initiatives were chosen, along with metrics to assist with the decision-making for such crucial issues as planning for contact center growth. Four sites have been opened, with a fifth on the way.
Understanding the importance of "quick wins," the TTEC team also helped devise programs that could be accomplished in relatively brief periods of time even as the larger five-year plan continued to move forward. For example, a focused effort was begun to educate customers on the self-service options available to them. A separate project sought to identify best practices at the contact center, and to rate them against industry averages.
In addition to the five-year plan, TTEC also provided important assistance to the company on new business initiatives. One of them was a move into health insurance, for which TTEC helped develop contact center strategies for both inbound and outbound customer contacts. And once the contact center began operations, TTEC helped the company fine-tune its new processes to meet the twin goals of operational efficiency and high customer satisfaction. The program was a resounding success; after two years, conversions were double what the company had initially projected. A second initiative involved expanding the company's property and casualty insurance business, which is heavily regulated at a state level. TTEC helped the company find and hire staffers who were sufficiently experienced to quickly gain licenses from state insurance commissions. The entire process, including training, took less than four months.
Overall, TTEC's work demonstrated that while companies should be proud of whatever work they have done to take a leadership position in customer experience issues, they must also be careful to never rest on their laurels. The area requires continuous improvement. Something that TTEC, with its combination of mix of technical savvy, strategic insights and execution skills, stands ready to help companies achieve.