Ember guides insurer in transforming its working practices

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Advice on resource planning crucial to introducing 4-day week

With customers increasingly wanting service outside of the “normal” working week, a leading insurer is planning to extend its opening hours – with the contact centre available till late each evening and at weekends. But at the same time, the insurer is focused on staff needs and improving work-life balance, by offering its teams a 4-day working week (with no change to pay or benefits).
To help it deliver this ambitious strategy, while maintaining high quality service, it asked Ember’s customer experts for advice.
Ember undertook a rapid assessment of the company’s current working practices and processes. We made a number of recommendations to assist in this bold transformation, covering issues from technology to team structure, as well as specific process changes.

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Identifying resource planning risks

The most significant of these related to resource planning in the contact centre. We discovered that the insurer had been planning workforce requirements just one week in advance – giving it very limited capacity to cope with training and absence, and frustrating staff who themselves couldn’t plan ahead.
We advised the team that best practice in workforce planning is typically viewed as having a forward-looking view for at least 20 weeks (with some providers planning over 12 months ahead). For the company to reap the staff satisfaction benefits of a 4-day week, it needed to give its people more notice.

Making an immediate change

We shared a simple model that would achieve this aim, without undue effort and without compromising the company’s ability to flex with spikes in demand. On the same day we presented our recommendations, the insurer’s contact centre team made an immediate change, introducing a four-week planning schedule. It also began a broader change to enhance its approach to resource planning and introduce greater rigour in its management.
For Ember’s Lee Mostari, it was a timely reminder of how limited workforce planning is in many successful contact centres.

“As industry insiders, it’s easy to believe that any high-performing contact centre must now have a full workforce management solution. However, there are plenty of businesses out there that are still working on spreadsheets and only looking at the near view. For organisations in that position, workforce management can prove a real asset in reducing risks and taking performance to the next level.”

About our client

Our client is a specialist insurer based in the Midlands. It is part of a global insurance group.

About Ember

Ember is a business services group providing specialist management consultancy, training, analytics and executive search. We’re joined by a shared ethos, of doing the right thing for our clients, and a shared focus on the customer experience and how to improve it – with the end goal of increasing value for our clients.
For more information contact Ember on 020 7871 9797 or info@embergroup.co.uk