What was at stake?
The company needed to significantly increase the capacity of its Centralised Operations Team, which handles centralised back-office administration for all insurance policy processing.
What was the result?
With Expertivity’s help and support, the Central Operations Team saw a > 25% increase in capacity. In addition to this demonstrable and significant capacity increase, they had garnered greater inter-team cooperation, in addition to better training and increased customer service levels.
With over 40 years’ experience, the client is one of Ireland’s largest insurers with over 500,000 customers. They have engaged Expertivity to increase the capacity of its Central Operations Team, which handles back-office administration for all insurance policy processing. By increasing overall capacity, the Central Operations Team could then take on more work from the departments such as the Claims and Underwriting departments, ensuring technical capacity increased elsewhere in the company. The Expertivity team began by building a profile of the Central Operations Team’s processes, demand and capacity to understand the true nature of their workload. The team had displayed excellent versatility by taking on tasks from other departments when needed, along with their existing work, but initially, the processes for assessment and allocation of workload required clarity and structure.
What was the process?
The Expertivity team worked with the client's team management, team leaders and staff to gain an understanding of the overall process related to the tasks and activities they were completing, and their key role in that process delivery. They went on to build reasonable expectations on the various tasks involved and, importantly, establishing what was getting in the way of achieving a regular level of output. That review identified significant distractions from core work, such as handling unexpected phone calls, systems issues/downtime, faulty printers, unplanned meetings and new system testing.
- Building reasonable expectations: Expertivity shadowed team members with varying levels of skill. After analysing their typical output and managing the identified interruption levels, the entire team agreed a reasonable expectation of how much daily work could be done by the average team member. This provided an excellent sense of the team’s true capacity.
- Team building: An Opportunities Workshop was conducted in which the Central Operations team were encouraged to share their honest, anonymous feedback of the job in relation to Processes, Document Quality, Interactions with other teams, Systems challenges and Training. This was enormously helpful to gauge very quickly the team’s view of their daily challenges and to determine improved structures to address the issues identified. A guarantee (signed off on by the SMT) was given to the Central Operations Team that everything they suggested in their Opportunities Workshop would be relayed to management and that a response would be given on every suggestion made. This significantly improved team morale and sense of the importance of their contribution to the company.
- ServiceForce Operations Management System: Next, the ServiceForce operations management system was introduced, giving each team member clear visibility of their own expected workload for each seven-hour day, tailored to their skill level. Each team member had a balanced, fair amount of work to do from across the full range of insurance providers owned by the client, with oversight of each claim on which they were working.
- ServiceForce Effective Reporting: In addition, the team leader(s) had access to effective, custom-designed performance reporting – looking at demand profiling, levels of value-added and non-value-added activity, productivity performance and forecasting. The result was a clear assessment of the workload demand on any given day, in addition to a profile of past work and future projections – all of which were based on the daily inputs of the team.
- Taking on work from the broader business: Now that the Central Operations team had released >25% capacity, they could open their doors to the broader business, taking in administrative work. Expertivity advised on the design of an inter-departmental contract to document and agree the transfer in of any new process. This eliminated training and quality issues and ensured uninterrupted customer service levels.
What were the results?
The client followed Expertivity’s unique, 25-step Service Operations Fundamentals programme to increase the capacity of its Central Operations Team. This 25-step programme is interactive, inclusive, involves continuous review and is signed off by the wider team.
Overall, in just 4-6 months the Central Operations Team saw a 25% increase in capacity after undergoing this process. There were also numerous associated benefits. The department’s way of working had been transformed using the ServiceForce Ops Management System. Employee satisfaction grew, and the team now work using weekly and monthly performance metrics. The work is seen as transparent and fair, which increases job satisfaction, morale and output. Along with a demonstrable and significant increase in capacity, greater inter-team respect has been fostered by high-quality interaction, in addition to better training supporting great customer service.
The team now see their flexibility and responsiveness within the company as a source of pride.