AT A GLANCE:
COMPANY: Assurity Life Insurance Company
PRODUCTS USED: Calabrio ONE
Needed to maximize resource utilization in order to efficiently manage a fourfold increase in its contact center size while maintaining exemplary customer service.
Assurity used Calabrio ONE, deployed in the cloud, to efficiently maintain optimal staffing levels and ensure consistent customer service across all teams and agents.
WFO Initiative Prompts Change Management at Assurity
Bringing together three different contact center entities post-reorganization posed a consistency challenge for Assurity leadership. Each center held its own management philosophy and way of doing things. At the same time, many agents had mistaken, preconceived notions about WFO: they believed its primary purpose was surveillance—a tool that would be used to spy on them.
Given this scenario, leaders knew Calabrio’s innovative technology alone couldn’t guarantee a wildly successful WFO deployment: they needed to launch and sustain an ongoing change management initiative within the company.
“Automating and optimizing our processes with Calabrio was a huge part of our WFO project, but we knew evolving mindsets and attitudes would be equally important,” explains Fulmer. “Leaders needed to come together and embrace a single way of doing things, and agents needed to know WFO was not the end of the world. So we had to sell the idea of WFO internally and actively promote the benefits everyone would receive because of it.”
As a result, Assurity launched a WFO change management program prior to Calabrio’s debut where managers presented information about Calabrio and WFO at every opportunity. Key messages repeatedly communicated the benefits Calabrio would give both agents and contact center leaders. “We needed to explain—and reiterate—that WFO’s primary purpose is to maximize contact center workers’ potential, so that they have more time during the day to breathe,” says Fulmer. “No one in the contact center has that luxury when we’re trying to manage everything using spreadsheets.”
The change management initiative was successful and continues to this day. “It definitely was worth spending all the extra time early on selling WFO based on the positive reception it received. People love it, and they were excited about finally using it,” says Fulmer. “Now, we use the same, proactive change management tactics whenever we introduce additional WFO functionality, like the dynamic scheduling capabilities we recently deployed.”
Assurity Leverages the Power of Calabrio ONE and Raises the Bar for Customer Service
CASE STUDY: Assurity Life Insurance
Assurity Raises the Bar for Customer Service while Seamlessly Managing a Fourfold Increase in Contact Center Size
Assurity’s vision is to bring peace of mind to middle-income consumers and small businesses by providing easy access to insurance protection products that help them through difficult times. A bulk of the assistance the insurance company provides is communicated via its contact center—a center powered by Calabrio ONE that delivers exemplary customer service to customers and sales agents.
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Quadrupling Agent Staffing Growth Outpaced Manual Scheduling Methods
After a major reorganization in 2017 consolidated contact center units from three different operations departments into one and increased by four times the number of contact center agents servicing clients, Assurity contact center leaders knew they needed to find a workforce optimization (WFO) solution they could trust to support their growing business. No longer would antiquated, manual scheduling methods using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets suffice; they needed an automated, sustainable way to manage their contact center agent scheduling while maintaining the highest levels of customer satisfaction.
Standardizing on Calabrio ONE
While unpleasant and inefficient, using manual spreadsheets to manage scheduling for 15 agents could be done. But Assurity contact center leaders knew that approach certainly wasn’t feasible when managing scheduling for 60 agents. Leaders needed a new, more effective and automated way to schedule agents and proactively monitor their performance in real-time. They also needed a solution that could integrate with Cisco.
“Using spreadsheets to manually manage our contact center became too tedious and time-consuming once our team quadrupled in size,” explains Heith Fulmer, director of Customer Connections at Assurity. “First thing each day, we had to tend to those spreadsheets, then we had to communicate the updated daily schedule to staff via email. All of it was maintained manually— it was never-ending and definitely not the most efficient use of our time.”
After working with leaders to evaluate three WFO solutions recommended by his peers, Fulmer selected Calabrio ONE in early 2018 to power the company’s WFO needs. “The insurance market can be a tough one for outsiders to understand,” says Fulmer. “The fact that Calabrio understood both the nuances of the contact center as well as the nuances of our industry impressed us. That, combined with Calabrio’s integrated workforce management (WFM), quality management and analytics capabilities, made Calabrio the clear choice for Assurity.”
Putting Calabrio ONE to Work
Assurity immediately increased contact center efficiency and improved its customer service after deploying Calabrio ONE for WFO.
SPEEDING ANSWER RATES AND SHRINKING WAIT TIMES
Assurity substantially improved both answer rates and wait times by using Calabrio insights to maximize its contact center service potential, and proactively schedule activities that fall outside of agents’ daily routines—such as meetings and trainings—during slow times. “We’re improving our metrics across the board, but our post-issue team, in particular, is realizing dramatic improvements,” says Fulmer. “In the first two months after implementing Calabrio, that team’s answer rate improved 19 percent while its wait time decreased by 41 seconds! These improvements are directly attributable to Calabrio’s WFM capabilities.”
ENSURING CONSISTENT CALL QUALITY
With a newly merged contact center, there was also the need to set new expectations for a consistent level of service to be delivered to Assuirty customers, as well as a single quality standard against which all agents would be measured. “When you bring together different management philosophies, consistency is a huge thing, especially the first year,” explains Fulmer. “It’s essential that our managers look at things like evaluating service levels or the way agents speak to customers using the same lens. Calabrio helps us ensure customers are treated with the same high level of quality, regardless of who responds to their inquiry.”
DETECTING CUSTOMER TRENDS AND FRAUD MORE QUICKLY
Assurity leverages Calabrio’s rich analytics—capable of mining massive amounts of data—to detect positive or negative trends within its customer base, deliver more effective one-on-one coaching to agents, and speed fraud investigations. “As you can imagine, fraud is a constant risk to an insurance company, so it’s a huge win for Calabrio to help us more quickly identify and locate calls relevant to fraud investigations,” says Fulmer.
IMPROVING STAFFING AND EVALUATIONS
Assurity also uses Calabrio to get creative with its staffing. “Calabrio helps me easily, visually explain to others the impact on staffing our decisions will have,” says Fulmer. “For example, if we want to extend hours without negatively impacting customer satisfaction, I can pull up Calabrio dashboards that show via red or green indicators if staffing for different scenarios will be sufficient, based upon historic data. If the dashboard shows we won’t have enough staff, but we decide to proceed with that option anyway, Calabrio helps me build a business case clarifying the projected impact on service levels for different time frames during the day.”
In an effort to make agent evaluations a positive experience, Assurity is also building out dashboards to fuel monthly conversations customized to each agent’s needs—who they are, where they struggle and where they can improve. “I’m not a big fan of doing audits on people using the whole pass/fail methodology,” explains Fulmer. “I’ve never found that kind of approach to yield the best results.”
GRADUATING TO OMNICHANNEL AND DYNAMIC SCHEDULING
Currently, Assurity is in the process of adding chat and email—which will easily integrate with its current phone system—to its omnichannel communication mix, and using Calabrio Dynamic Scheduling to foster an even better work-life balance for its agents. “I’m excited to dig into Dynamic Scheduling, which I’m confident will make us even more efficient while better engaging our agents,” says Fulmer.
An Easy-to-Use Platform Delivers Big Benefits
All in all, Calabrio proved to be exactly what Assurity contact center leadership sought. “Implementing Calabrio was seamless, and Calabrio is just very easy to use,” concludes Fulmer. “Other platforms were either too simplistic or too complicated, especially from an administrator standpoint. I’m not an IT person, and Calabrio was easy for me to understand how to make things work. I have the ability to make necessary functionality changes and updates on the fly. But best of all? Now my managers don’t need to be Excel experts in order to do their jobs.”