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Insurer measures customer service for improvement
Insurance company IAG was looking for a way to audit the performance of its contact centre. This would help it put the right conditions and incentives in place to improve the performance of staff and to improve the interworking of business processes involved in the centre.

The reason for going into the cloud for its audit “was quite simply that we don’t have an in-house tool,” says Bart Taylor, operations manager in the corporate partners division of IAG.

“I was actually looking for full audit service through Teleconsultants.” As a preliminary step Taylor looked at SaaS tool Snapshotz, from Auckland firm Customerservicesaudit. “I thought they might be able to help me with a brief snapshot before we got into a full audit,” he says.

Snapshotz was developed over five years by New Zealanders, Deepak Selvaratnam, Vernon Lu and Feng Wu. The Snapshotz process includes consultancy and measuring technology delivered in a software-as-a-service mode and is based on real-world experience in customer services across many industries and countries.

It is applied not only in contact centres but in a broad range of customer-service environments, including face-to-face retail, says Selvaratnam.

Snapshotz uses a checklist of more than 550 variables covering eight main functional areas. Processes can be hooked together in a workflow scheme and a cost assigned to each “as you would with a manufacturing process,” says Selvaratnam. Then efficiency, productivity and cost savings overall can be calculated.

By measuring these parameters against industry averages, the tool gives an organisation a quick focus on the areas where it could obtain the biggest payback most immediately.

This is assisted by a range of visual charts, quickly appreciable by the manager of customer services or even the CEO. They include histograms, radar charts (polygonal plots of several variables with all axes radiating from the centre) and red-yellow-green indicators of significant and not-so-significant deviances.

“SaaS gives you flexibility,” says Selvaratnam, “you don’t have to worry about storing your own data and you can access it from anywhere.”

Benchmarking against moving industry averages is easier if all the data is together. “You could do it with in-house software, but it would be hard to organise the data in one place.”

Increasingly, all channels of the customer relationship are being brought together through “unified communications”, he says, so it makes sense to have a “holistic” view of the data pertaining to all channels.

“I think the snapshot has given me a great idea of where we need to focus on, like around business process improvement,” says Taylor. “Do we have the right remuneration policies in place; do we need to think about health and safety?

“There were some key aspects that came out for me and what we’re doing now is building strategy plans off that to look at what areas we want to attack first. We’ll make a decision [when we get] into the new financial year, around July — do we actually want to do a full audit through Teleconsultants? We may just want to plough ahead with the information we’ve got through Snapshotz.”