Rodney Johnson, Head of Service Operations, Farmers Insurance
The Farmers service team embarked on a two-year journey that put the latest technology to work for employees, equipping them to deliver experiences that leave customers feeling positive about the amount of effort they’ve expended to resolve their service issues. This simple equation has been our north star: Technology + People = Low-effort Experience.
Through a fresh approach combining Agile programming methodology and widespread business unit engagement, the IT and Service Operations teams at Farmers recently delivered a successful multi-million dollar service delivery transformation program in eight high-speed sprints while leveraging best-in-class collaborators and platforms. As a result, calls reach the right representative, the representative sees the right customer information and knowledge is captured and shared for consistent and efficient service interactions – all at record speeds that make it easier than ever to do business with Farmers.
The IVR call routing system at Farmers could no longer be updated and was getting costlier to maintain. The project team was faced with replacing it with similar menu-navigation functionality, or implementing a leading natural language recognition solution. The decision was made to implement natural language, a lengthier process, but one that has improved call routing and transfer rates while positioning IT and the contact center to make real-time updates and plans for enhancements.
Harnessing automation has created a more engaging environment where employees can provide a personalized interaction when it’s needed most
At the same time, our customer relationship management and knowledge systems needed to be refreshed. Customer service representatives, who handled approximately 100K interactions each day, were responsible for using roughly a dozen applications to complete transactions. Verifying the identity of a caller – a critical step that protects a customer’s personal information – required multiple systems and could take more than a minute. The new customer relationship management platform reduces that process to mere seconds and provides representatives with a 360° view of a customer’s household for interactions that are personalized and proactive.
Once the caller was verified and representatives began providing assistance in the outdated knowledge platform, searching for reliable and consistent content could take additional minutes per search. As a customer-centric organization focused on creating low-effort interactions for callers, this extra time spent looking for basic information and navigating systems rather than building relationships with customers was unacceptable. In a move that could have been perceived as less than efficient, we adopted a crowd sourcing methodology –putting contact center representatives in the driver’s seat to research, write and share service solutions. As a result, knowledge searches are remarkably faster and produce reliable, accurate results. The methodology also produced collaborative energy and ownership around the shared body of knowledge.
The decision to acquire new, connected technology platforms transformed contact center operations, driving positive results in key performance indicators while decreasing the effort callers have to expend doing business with Farmers. The service delivery transformation created a strong bond and deep understanding between IT and business units at Farmers, a partnership that continues to fuel innovation like chatbot capabilities and voice analytics.
But while the advancements in technology lit the fuse, the real spark of transformation took place once our people had the technology at their fingertips. Harnessing automation has created a more engaging environment where employees can provide a personalized interaction when it’s needed most. And, it has given customers what they want – the ability to get their tasks done quickly, in what feels like a seamless and frictionless experience.