Financial Services Company Reduces Call Center Operations Costs by 50%

When EPIC Connections began discussing cloud-based technology solutions, the client started including EPIC in executive-level meetings aimed at building out the company’s cloud IT infrastructure. EPIC was happy to help the client build out requirements for its corporate strategic roadmap.

Situation: At-Home Vision Reveals Bigger Issues

Executives at a property management company had a vision to reduce facilities expenses by transitioning contact center operations to an at-home model. With call center agents providing customer service from home, the company could decrease the need for office space and cut facilities costs, which had quadrupled after the move to a new, state-of-the-art building. The executives were referred to EPIC Connections, whose contact center experts were called in to perform an at-home contact center feasibility study to include a comprehensive plan to migrate to a remote model. But just a few days into the assessment, EPIC identified bigger challenges that shifted the entire focus of the engagement.

“Contact center operations should be lucrative, standardized, and fully optimized before companies disseminate them across an at-home model or across global locations,” explained Steve Weston, Senior Consultant, EPIC Connections. “At the end of the second day, we knew there needed to be a significant change in strategy, and we immediately brought our findings to management for realignment.”

Initial discoveries questioned the profitability of the contact center operations, pointed at disconnected processes and technology systems, and highlighted the company’s agent attrition rates, which had reached 40% per training class. With these three primary concerns, executives agreed to redefine the objective and work first on underlying issues.

Solution: Training & Workforce Excellence

Validating the early findings through a RapidCheck Assessment, EPIC was now tasked with creating a plan to:Validating the early findings through a RapidCheck Assessment, EPIC was now tasked with creating a plan to:

  1. Unify all operations into a single service strategy
  2. Strengthen the talent management system to address attrition
  3. Leverage workforce optimization tools and processes to gain productivity savings that would boost profitability
Root Cause ChallengeImplemented Solution
Modest wage rates decreased competitivenessIncreased the starting wage to effectively recruit talent in a call-center-saturated market
Talent management system needed improvementAdjustments to the target hiring profile made processes more selective and simulation tools used role-play exercises to better screen candidates
All calls flowed into one queue and there was no formal performance governance program, which decreased the quality of serviceSkills-based service strategies segmented call types, giving simple calls to new agents and complex calls to tenured agents, and a new quality program ensured supervisors monitored calls for more agent coaching
Training was limited and inconsistent from team to team—agents learned most of their work on the jobA new in-house training instructor with instructional objectives and standards encouraged agent engagement, while nesting periods allowed agents to learn in the classroom
The employee base was saturated with leaders and supervisors who spent more time taking calls than coachingA new organizational structure flattened the team, reallocating leaders to oversee new programs in training, HR, WFM, QA, & data analysis
Real-time schedule adherence was lacking, leading to a 40% agent utilization rateNew scheduling tools and processes established standards, maximized productivity, and ensured agent accountability

Results: Cost Reductions and At-Home Readiness

With an enhanced service delivery model that redefined performance and workforce management practices, the property management company can now effectively utilize resources to deliver bottom-line results. Productivity gains enabled the primary call center and pilot location to reduce headcount by 1/3, reducing operational costs by 50%. Previously the company budgeted $1.2M annually for the call center, but now it needs only $600,000.

The pilot program breathed confidence into the standards for service excellence and readied the company for enterprise-wide implementation across 10 centers in North and South America as well as additional centers in the Philippines. Better still, the company has a plan to make its contact center operations more profitable.

“We determined how to reduce the cost-per-call from $13 to $5, and now our client is taking all the steps necessary. Once fully implemented and in a steady state, this solution will position our client for even bigger cost savings as we get back to exploring at-home models. We’re looking forward to continuing this partnership,” added Weston.

 

Reduced the call center operations budget by $600,000

Reduced headcount by 1/3

“EPIC Connections has the highest levels of professionalism and integrity in delivering crisp SOWs and implementing against them. We are always delighted with their work ethic, quality of work, and the little extras that they give, always exceeding our expectations.”

Executive Vice President, Financial Services Company