Company: StaffwareCustomer: Kelda GroupSubmitted by: Spreckley Partners LtdLoop Customer Management Ltd is a Kelda Group subsidiary, which delivers customer services to Kelda’s 4.
5 million customers in Yorkshire and the USA, as well as to other clients.Kelda Group has been assessed by the water industry regulator, OFWAT, as the best provider of customer services. At the heart of the systems which underpin this quality of service is one of Staffware’s best known workflow implementations – “WAVES”.WAVES has attracted reference visitors from around the world and continues to demonstrate workflow excellence and innovation in the customer services sector.Kelda Group, is one of the largest water management businesses in the world with a group turnover of £780 million. It provides clean water to 4.
5 million people and 140,000 businesses in Yorkshire and USA, as well as treating waste water to safe environmental standards. In a market characterized by tighter regulation and growing competition, the emphasis is on high quality customer service and increasing value for shareholders.
Better standard of service
OFWAT, the water industry regulator, ranks company’s customer service standards in several categories including correspondence response, telephone response and meter reading performance.The service standards delivered by Loop Customer Management on behalf of Kelda Group were top in every category and assessed as the best in the industry by OFWAT.In correspondence response, Loop guarantees to give a full response within 5 days of receiving a customer’s letter. Internal Service Level Agreements demand that correspondence is scanned, indexed, routed and prioritized on the day of receipt.
Many responses are therefore dispatched on the same day as the customer letter is received. Loop is so confident in its ability to give a 100% response in 5 days that it will automatically compensate customers if ever they fail.Paul Tasker, Loop’s Head of Business Technology, comments – “When we introduced WAVES we began to set new standards in customer service. Having done that once, we had to continue to improve to stay ahead of the competition and to exceed the requirements of the regulator”.”The OFWAT ranking shows that we have continued to deliver exceptional performance. It would simply not have been possible to achieve this had we still been bound by the constraints of paper based systems”In telephone call handling, Loop closes 80% of its 1.
8 million calls on the first contact, leaving customers satisfied and removing the possibility of additional work being generated from a slow or incomplete first response. Over 98% of all calls are answered, 94% in under 15 seconds.” Since the design stages of WAVES in 1994 we have kept the concept of a customer folder, wrapping together all of the cases associated with each customer” – says Paul.”This, integrated with our other CRM systems, places a huge amount of customer specific knowledge at the disposal of Contact Center staff when they are answering customer calls. As so often with workflow technology, we are able to improve both service quality and business efficiency”.
Staffware was implemented in 1995 and the objectives identified then remain valid today – to reduce the elapsed time in answering customer queries; to maximize the knowledge available to staff at the point of contact handling; to provide real time management information and to improve service while controlling costs.WAVES was a major success, and as the pressure for greater efficiencies and higher regulatory standards has continued to grow, the decisions have been taken to keep WAVES at the forefront of workflow technology and to exploit it more widely in the business.WAVES was the subject of the largest ever upgrade to Staffware 97. At the same time the desktop was migrated to Microsoft NT Workstation 4. WAVES also now integrates with SQL Server 7; Tower Technology’s imaging product, IDM (the second key component of WAVES), several Kelda bespoke customer management systems and other third party products.
“We have always considered Staffware to be the only workflow supplier that could fully meet our business requirements,” says Paul “We have a good relationship with the Staffware team having worked with them since we first identified the importance of workflow almost ten years ago. As the Staffware product set developed, it made sense to upgrade and extend our applications to fully exploit it – especially as we became confident in our own ability to undertake these business critical imaging and workflow implementations for ourselves and other clients”.
Exploiting the benefits
Inevitably, some contacts cannot be resolved immediately and require back office intervention. Previously, a minimum one-day delay was caused as requests were passed to the back office, outside of the control of WAVES.Now Loop has automated processes to create a Staffware case for these work items. The case is then automatically routed and prioritized into the correct workqueue.
The electronic forms, which carry the work in these cases, are structured wherever possible to increase the opportunity to fully automate the completion of the business process in the future. “With up to 300 less items to be manually created into WAVES each day, the ROI was almost immediate” says Paul.Loop has an ever- increasing number customers that contact the company by e-mail. This is also now managed under the control of Staffware. Staffware enables Loop to strictly enforce the business rules which apply to different work types.
Depending on the category of customer or method of contact, the rules can also be varied. For example the more interactive nature of e-mail implies a swifter response expectation and also that the response should be made by the same contact medium.Call volumes are always subject to fluctuation, and estimating the number of agents required each day is rarely a precise science -even with the sophisticated call forecasting software which Loop has. Similarly the number of incoming documents can vary considerably from day to day.”In my view work is work and the medium chosen by the customer to transport work to us should not randomly impact the quality or consistency of the service customers receive” – says Paul.
“We aim to manage one reservoir of outstanding work and match it to one workforce in the most efficient way and with full control over delivery standards. Although we still have discreet workgroups, which are principally call handlers or correspondence handlers, we have developed the capability to transfer work between workgroups to equalize loads as volumes fluctuate. Overall, this means that we need fewer people to manage the same workload – our Call Center has been developed into a multi-media Contact Center.”
The full Loop systems suite, including Staffware, is now working under Citrix Metaframe. This thin client technology is being used to establish Loop staff as home workers whose workload and performance will be managed through Staffware. A proof of concept is underway to fully understand the issues surrounding home working with particular emphasis on the human, rather than the technical, issues.
Performance Measurement One of the most effective aspects of the Contact Center workflow implementation is that it enables productivity reporting to be used as an important management tool. Completed and outstanding work can be analyzed by volume, time and agent.This has changed the team leader’s role, from allocating, prioritizing, counting and checking work, to one of coaching, managing quality and performance measurement. Team leaders can view the productivity of each employee and check the quality and complexity of the work completed. Based on these results they can then conduct reviews of each employee’s performance and link it to levels of reward.
Productivity reporting also includes facilities for staff to monitor their own productivity. They are empowered to choose work types and check their own performance, as a motivational tool. If they see that their output has dropped below standard due to conducting a series of complex tasks, then, with the agreement of their team leader, they are able to switch to less complex work types, to redress the balance. Productivity reporting is also a good indictor to the team leader of each employee’s training requirements.”Staff are not intimidated by productivity reporting,” says Helen Walker – Loop Business Analyst.
“On the contrary, it gives them a better understanding of how they are doing and the chance to get the right training, when required.”Discussions about individual performance are now based on fact and not subjective perception”
Efficiency through automation
To speed up business processes further, 100,000 workflow cases are now automatically generated from other Loop systems. The, now constant, quest for Loop is to extend its “RoboUser” concept which is designed to automatically complete whole or part business processes. This enables the Straight Through Processing (STP) of less complex cases and the automation of simple parts of more complex processes.Improved OFWAT reporting With comprehensive data now available, it was a natural extension to automate reporting to the Regulator.At many steps in the workflow procedure, data is collected and exported to a management information database.
Reporting tools calculate and analyze the statistics and they are then sent directly to the Regulator. Accuracy is vital as the figures are subject to external independent audit.
To stay at the leading edge of workflow deployment, Loop has more ambitious plans to develop further web-based processes under the control of workflow. Workflow will be used to support a flexible/virtual organization with home working and innovative reward schemes as key components and will continue to increase the workload of RoboUser.Paul Tasker concludes: “We always considered Workflow to be an essential infrastructure investment, and as the technology has matured we have taken full advantage of being early adopters.
As Staffware continue to advance workflow and interact with complimentary, emerging technologies, new and exciting opportunities arise which will transform the way in which we work and will deliver benefits to all stakeholders both in standards of service and in cost reduction. We could not be top of the OFWAT league table without WAVES and we intend to continue to work closely with Staffware in the future, in order to stay there”.