How can a company improve their customer support to provide a better customer experience while reducing the resources required to provide support?
This client is in the Fortune 100 list and is a leading provider of insurance and financial services. Due to the nature of the work, the client name and any proprietary information will not be revealed.
Customer support is a costly service to provide; on average, each support call costs the company approimatly eight dollars and in one year over eight million calls were made. This created a large incentive to find a way to maintain excellent customer support while reducing the costs. Before making any organizational changes, this company wanted to apply design thinking to understand what changes should be made and develop a strategy for implementing them.
This initiative began with a thorough documentation of the current state of customer support. This included mining the data records from thousands of calls, shadowing customer support representatives, and conducting stakeholder interviews with leadership teams.
Building upon that foundational knowledge, in-depth interviews were conducted with customers to understand the root causes that created a need for customer support. Then customers co-created ideal solutions to solve their customer support needs. These ideal solutions often focused on how technology could be used to enable customers to solve their issue more quickly and with less effort.
After all the customer-created support solutions were collected, they were presented in a two-day workshop with cross-disciplinary business teams. The workshop included activities that expanded the ideal solutions, prioritized them, packaged them into an innovation strategy, and aligned teams on a clear path forward. This strategy accomplished the goal of improving customer support while reduce the resources required to provide such support. To ensure the strategy would be implemented, it included a concrete timeline with clearly defined steps and distributed the responsibility amongst the leadership of several business teams.
In the time since this innovation strategy was created, most of it has been implemented. Sweeping changes were made to the customer support organization which empowered thousands of employees to provide more efficient and effective support. Additionally, it has secured internal investments to build new technology that would provide customers with ideal solutions that would improve their experience. Ultimately, the greatest success was proving the return on investment when design thinking applied to a complex business problem.