In total, the review we conducted identified cost-saving opportunities worth £2.6 million a year.
Founded in 1995, Kwik-Fit Insurance Services was amongst the most successful of the direct-to-the-consumer operators that transformed the insurance industry in the 2000s. From the outset, it relied on the contact centre as its route to market and by 2009, it was handling around a million calls a year from existing customers and half as many again from new prospects.
Though the contact centre was performing well against many performance benchmarks, the company was certain there was room for improvement and efficiencies – particularly with a view to making it more attractive to prospective buyers.
It asked us to conduct a comprehensive review of its contact centre operations.
We combined a root-and-branch audit of KFIS’ customer operations, spending time in every department and interviewing stakeholders, with a benchmarking exercise that measured key elements of its operating performance against other top performers in the insurance industry.
This process demonstrated that while the KFIS operation was in the top quartile for the sector, thanks to a determined sales culture and high levels of employee engagement, there were clear opportunities for significant improvement.
These included breaking down invisible walls between functions and departments so that the many forward-looking change initiatives being introduced across the organisation could reach their potential. To enable this, we recommended the creation of a cross-functional change management programme, headed by a Change Leader reporting directly to the board,
We also pushed for changes to simplify the company’s operational structure – creating leaner, more focused teams – and for agents to trained to become multi-skilled that they could deal with a wider range of customer issues across the KFIS general insurance product portfolio. We demonstrated that these operational changes would save the company over £1 million a year – but also would enhance the customer experience by improving first time resolution and by reducing the number of calls that had to be transferred. This was something that occurred more frequently in KFIS than in most insurers; having multi-skilled agents would offer an enormous benefit for the company.
We also identified a series of productivity improvements with the potential to deliver a further £1.5 million in cost savings. These included include improving forecasting capability, reducing call length through better conversation structures and rationalising reports. Our analysis had found that KFIS team leaders were spending at least 30 minutes a day generating reports, while its dialer team alone created 240 separate reports each day. Inevitably, this mean duplication – and also reduced the time team leaders could spend on coaching.
In total, the review we conducted identified cost saving opportunities worth £2.6 million a year – many of which also offered ways to improve the customer experience. The company was quick to adopt them and its highly efficient operation was a key factor in the successful sale of KIFS to the Fortis Group (now Ageas Group) in August 2010. We continued to work with the company as it introduced changes and were subsequently asked by Ageas to support its programme to improve synergies, boost revenues and reduce costs across the company’s three retail insurance businesses, including KFIS.
“Ember did everything they said they would do – and more,” concludes Alan Brown, KFIS Operations Director. “They told us some home truths, challenged our thinking and showed us how we could become a better business, for ourselves, our customers and, of course, our new owners."
"It certainly helped that Ember had such solid knowledge of the insurance industry,” he adds. “From day one they were able to speak our language and bring valuable insights to us from our own marketplace as well as their own expertise. They told us clearly what changing our business would cost and what it could deliver.”