Case Studies: demonstrating the ability to handle complex transactions, with high accuracy
Case study: a government insurance provider, covering natural disasters within New Zealand. The government insurance work had a very high level of complexity, involving:
- Highly technical insurance regulations across multiple claims
- Continually revised claim procedures as insurance regulators applied new governance to the way natural disaster insurance claims were to be handled; many of the original processes have either been extensively updated or superseded
- Dealing with the associated challenges of the largest insurance operation ever undertaken anywhere in the world
- Complex financial transactions
- Complex legal scenarios involving claims that were transferred to new building owners, body corporates, multi-unit dwellings, land and building claims
Call volumes range from 10,000 to 20,000 per month. Average talk times on these calls are 10 minutes with an additional 3 minutes of after-call work. They involve complex task completion within the client’s CRM system and using the client’s Intranet tools. In addition, our agents must complete this work and the updating of the client’s CRM while on the call with the customer to ensure accuracy, reconfirming details as they are input.
Scenario example: apportionment of claim value across multiple earthquake events, which requires our agents to consider complex financial calculations and to explain that clearly to a customer. There is a claim limit for each claimant and due to the multiple earthquake events that were experienced in Canterbury our client is required to apportion a percentage of damage to each event. This is a complex insurance requirement that our agents must understand and explain to homeowners. In addition, our agents must have first reviewed the settlement recommendations in the client’s CRM appropriate to the property affected. This is challenging, considering that many claimants have multiple claims and some have multiple properties. Failure to do this accurately or to provide incorrect information can result in a legal dispute.
In working with this insurance provider, our agents must have knowledge in multiple areas, relating to the calls: complex insurance procedures, Earthquake Commissions Act 1993, Privacy Act/Official Information Act, building codes, land remediation, assessing dangerous situations/vulnerable customers, assessing emergency works eligibility, special circumstances (multi-unit buildings, farm buildings, etc.)
Outcome: long-term relationship established with government insurance provider. Successfully tendered for and won renewal of contract to provide call centre services when the number of outsourced call centres was reduced from four to two in 2012.
Case Study: solar power company, had initiated a sales promotion and had been inundated with requests for estimates but did not have the staff to cope with the volume. Pulse was asked to assist with clearing the back-log and immediately began planning the training and implementation. Training was complex and intensive, involving two days classroom work around the products then ongoing system training prior to implementation. Our task was to log into the client’s CRM, WorkflowMax, and identify outstanding solar estimates for completion – Pulse staff required training on the CRM operation: searching for appropriate customer entities, updating pricing estimate information, loading new customer records, closing customer records.
The Estimates: for potential customers who were investigating solar options, our staff would call the customers and complete an initial estimate. This involved the completion of a complex estimate spreadsheet, which contained a number of macros. The estimate phone calls took between 30 and 40 minutes and involved a large number of variables that the Pulse staff needed to obtain. In addition, our staff would be required to answer product questions as required. The backlog of prospects, waiting to be contacted, numbered ~500 and the client was receiving 20-25 new requests per week. Pulse was also used to assist with a solar promotion run through The Warehouse.
An Estimate spreadsheet was used in conjunction with the cloud-based CRM, WorkflowMax, where staff were required to:
- Check the new lead and confirm it is existing home/awaiting first contact
- Copy the prospect’s details from WorkflowMax into the Estimate tool
- Review the property house on Google Maps for solar compatibility
- Call the prospect and complete the Estimate
- Cleanse the prospect’s details to ensure accuracy
- Work through Estimate with prospect and obtain estimated costs
- Confirm next steps with prospect e.g. details of a site visit
- Generate copies of the SHW Estimate or PV Estimate or Both SHW and PV Estimates for emailing to the prospect (plus appropriate brochures)
- Generate the “site data CSV” to create data document for our client
- Import copies of Estimates into WorkflowMax CRM
- Email Estimate to an appropriate sales person based on the geographical region
- Update the lead status within the CRM
- Set an appropriate Activity and Due Date within the CRM
- Complete relevant notes within the CRM so the salesperson was conversant with the prospect’s expectations
Our work with a solar power company involved the provision of solar power estimates for both photovoltaic (electricity generation) and hot water systems. Staff were required to understand both the product features and compatibility of customers’ houses with the solar units. For example:
- Hot water systems needed to match the demands of the household; photovoltaic systems needed to match the electricity generation needs
- Houses required north-facing roof areas within a roof pitch within a certain range
Outcome: Pulse completed the back-log of estimates for the solar company within a very short period of time and achieved a higher than expected conversion rate. We impressed the client with the speed at which we were able to implement the process and the standard to which we completed the work. In addition, we used our in-house resources to document and operationalise the client’s administration tasks, providing a copy of the documents to the client for their own reference.
Case Studies: demonstrating the ability to effectively handle different types of customers and transactions
Callers from different backgrounds
As a call centre handing inbound queues that service the whole country, our CSRs handle calls from people of many different backgrounds. We could almost say that every call is different and our staff must adapt to each caller’s needs. The focus for our team is to provide a solution for the caller, to meet their needs, and to provide first call resolution. We treat each caller as an individual: a busy person in a hurry who wants information quickly must be handled differently to the hesitant caller who is unsure of what services they require.
Calls from angry, upset, and emotional callers
Importantly, as attested by our major insurance client:
“The enquiries we receive are probably some of the most challenging a Customer Service Consultant could be asked to manage in a call centre environment. The situations they are presented with are complex, as the customers are living in unique and often highly stressful circumstances. They require a broad range of skills including the resilience to manage the often aggressive and emotional feedback they receive every day. We have always found Pulse to be open to feedback, and attentive to our requests, and responsive to the changing needs of our customers.”
Case Study: angry callers demanding action are a common type of call received by our agents on one of our inbound jobs. The nature of the calls can be extremely aggressive as insurance claims can be very complicated and drawn-out. Because we receive a large number of these calls, this case study focuses on our CSR training rather than a specific example – these strategies are used on all calls but are extremely effective when dealing with angry callers. The key aspects that we stress to our agents: dealing with an angry caller involves challenges requiring good strategies and also provides intrinsic rewards when a call is handled well.
Our agents let customers ‘vent’, if needed, but also establish control early in the call. At all times our agents remain polite and professional, and always attempt to assist the caller – that is the objective on all calls regardless of the mood of the other party. The golden rule on every call we receive is to consider what we CAN do for the customer. The call process works on going through any options and solutions so the agent calms the callers down by focusing on what we can do to help.
Phone conversations are always led back to the claim and we encourage our agents to turn ‘difficult calls’ into ‘productive calls’. Much of our in-house call centre training reminds our CSRs that TONE IS EVERYTHING: polite, positive, proactive. It is also important for our call centre agents to be ‘present’ on the call – this involves being very active in giving information and seeking ways to assist the customer.
The last few steps in handling any call, whether the other party is angry or content, is to be clear and precise, and to always check the customer’s understanding. Much of the information provided by our agents is extremely complex and technical – part of our call process is to always check that we have imparted the information successfully. If the customer is still unclear then information is rephrased or additional clarification is provided. We aim to ensure the call experience is very positive and that the caller is clear in terms of any ‘next steps’ in the process.
We benefit from our government insurance experience in dealing with insurance claims and the complex processes behind those claims. Staff have an appreciation of the insurance process and the need to ensure accuracy, confidentiality, and adherence to strict processes. We deal with hundreds of insured customers on a daily basis through our call centre.
Customers who are paying for the work themselves
We have experience with handling a wide range of customers across a large number of different clients. While many are related to insurance claims we also deal with a large number of clients who are paying for goods or service themselves. This maybe in the real estate or mortgage field, or for the multi-channel retailer and dealing with customers purchasing goods over the phone. We are, currently, handling the sales calls for a solar power provider and have a four month project, handling incoming sales calls for a home loan provider.
Calls on behalf of 3rd parties (Insurance companies and corporate accounts)
A great deal of our inbound call centre work includes calls from third parties e.g. property managers requesting complex insurance information about multiple properties or liaising with third-party support agencies assisting home owners. Our staff liaise with multiple private insurance providers on a daily basis, often as a conduit between the customers, government insurance provider, and the private insurance providers.
Case Studies: Demonstrating the ability to respond quickly for new clients
Case Study: property valuation company, contacted Pulse as they were looking for call centre services and requested a quote. That quote was provided on the same day as the client request, which happened to be a Thursday.
On the following Sunday night, at 9pm, Pulse’s Client Executive received a call from the client, confirming that the quote had been accepted. The client advised Pulse that advertising was due to start the next day and could the call centre services be ready to go on Monday morning!!
On Monday morning, Pulse swung into action to get the inbound queues set-up and agents trained ready for receiving calls. We were able to advise the client at 9am on the Monday morning that we were ready to receive the calls – it took us only 30 minutes to get up and running. It’s a great example of how Pulse can step up when clients demand that extra level of service.
Case Studies: Demonstrating adherence to privacy, confidentiality, process compliance, and data security
The attention given to privacy and compliance at Pulse Business Solutions is well in advance of what would be considered adequate for most call centres.
Our IT network has several levels of defence:
1. Draytek VDSL router (first-level firewall)
2. Cisco 892 Firewall (second-level firewall)
3. Complex password policy for routers/firewalls and staff logins
4. Cisco firewall software add-ons
5. Regular Microsoft patching
6. Regular antivirus patching
The Pulse IT network is running on a mixture of Windows Server 2012 and 2008R2; these are regularly updated with system and security patches. Anti-virus: we operate an ESET Endpoint Security system, which is updated regularly (definitions file is updated daily). Our two call centres are linked via a Secure VPN Tunnel. USB ports are disabled to prevent data theft.
The firewall is a Cisco 892, which is ‘top of the range’ with advanced security to ensure that our network is protected. Enhanced security includes: Firewall with advance application and control; Site-to-site remote-access and dynamic VPN services: IP Security (IPsec) VPNs, Group Encrypted Transport VPN [GET VPN] with onboard acceleration, and Secure Sockets Layer [SSLVPN]; Intrusion prevention system (IPS); Content filtering
Our telephony runs on a private network (HSNS connections) from both call centres to our PBX that is located in a secure purpose-built datacentre.
The physical call centres are secured 24/7, allowing access only to approved security fobs. The register of fobs is reviewed monthly to ensure that no lost/stolen fobs have access to the premises. Our main call centre is secured by a secondary security door within the call centre – this requires coded entry and is specifically set-up this way to prevent privacy breaches. All printed/written material is stored away after-hours – staff are not permitted to leave anything on their desks when they finish their shifts. All paper information or any notes made by staff is shredded on-site. Our cleaning staff are employed by Pulse, not a third-party, and are security vetted.
We have strict policies regarding Internet usage by employees and have advanced site blocks in place via OpenDNS, which restricts Internet sites that staff can access. We also regularly train staff around virus/spam protection and prudent email/Internet operations.