South West Business Corporation (SWBC) is a privately owned company whose home office is located in San Antonio, Texas with a regional office in Orange, California. SWBC has been in business since May. 1976. SWBC provides financial services to financial institutions, credit unions in particular. The Orange, California office specializes in the Risk Management area of lending for Auto and Mortgage collateralized loans. The California office has an identical Risk Management Service Center like the home office in San Antonio, Texas.
However, the styles and titles of management are different due to geographical location, gender, culture, and race. The Auto Risk Management Department in Orange, formerly know as the Collateral Protection Insurance (CPI) Department, consists if sixteen in-house Customer Service Representative, three Senior Customer Service Representatives, three Field Customer Service Representatives, one CPI Service Center Trainer, one CPI Services Supervisor, one CPI Services Manager who reports to the Senior Vice President of Operations.
The problem is to correct the deteriorating phone stats of the Auto Risk Management Department from the Orange, California as compared to the San Antonio, Texas Service Center as described by the Senior Management from both the home office and Orange regional office. The Manager of the Auto Risk Management Department was given one week to review the concerns of Senior Management and propose some changes Influence Paper 3 that would lessen the average abandoned rate of incoming calls to calls hanging up prior to be answered by a customer service representative (CSR).
The changes that would be proposed would be done so without an addition to staff. Influence Paper 4 Method The CPI Services Manager reviewed the phone stats using last years (2001) year to date and the current year (2002) to date numbers to take a look at any possible patterns based on processing cycles or growth due to new business, turn over of employees, etc. From the late 2001 to present that had been some addition to staff of 5 CSR’s without adequate training do the high demand of CSR needed to be on the phone due to the start up of 6 new CPI accounts.
That meant an addition of over 100,000 new collateralized loans in our tracking system and potentially 50,000 letters being generated to borrower’s to provide their proof of insurance to satisfy the leinholder’s loan requirements, which would have meant 25-35,000 phone calls to come to the Orange Service Center. The average incoming calls for a month are at approximately 16-17,000. It is obvious that part of the problem was the amount of new accounts going through an audit or loan review phase at or around the same time frame, not enough senior and properly trained staff to take in the additional phone calls.
Also, the accounts in an audit or loan review phase tent to take longer because they are irate and do not understand why they need to provide proof of personal auto insurance on their collateralized loan. The guideline is that the average phone call should last no more that 2-minutes. The time you take to finish typing notes after the call (ACW) is taken care of, should be no more that 10-25 seconds. Since the calls were irate in nature the notes and research may have taken longer, so the ACW time was up and there was low number of available CSR to taking Influence Paper 5 incoming calls (ACD). Therefore increasing the possibly of abandoned calls. The main issue was a staffing and training problem. The staffing and training problem was easily solved by the promotion one of the Senior CSR who had been with the department and company for over five years to CPI Services Trainer. She felt training and development of new and existing employees was necessary for your department to be successful. She was loyal and would be represent the company in the best light.
Plus, she felt the training and development not only of existing employees was key, but especially of the new employees. She felt if she could get them excited about the position, clearly explain and review the departmental goals she could influence the morale and team building of the department. This would help in times of high stress due to work load and incoming calls she felt the department could come together and help each other out. The trainer has the support of the management team and so far in the short time (2 months) has gained the respect of the department and has contributed to team building.
The manager had to work in re-organizing the department without an additional to staff. That meant placing people by their strengths. The department originally had 18 customer service representative taking incoming calls and making our going calls. One CSR was assigned to calling out only. The proposed change was to have seven CSR do nothing, but make out bounds calls while the 12 other CSR’s take incoming calls and work various internal quality control reports. We called the seven CSR doing insurance Influence Paper 6 erifications the “Verification Department. ” This helped CSR’s on the incoming calls have some confidence the verifications were be made and relieved them the pressure of calling out was eliminated.
However, the CSR’s still have the pressure of taking in at least 60-100 phone calls a down and lessening the average abandoned rate from 1. 25 % to . 50 %. The department was given four weeks to make a dramatic change. I f an immediate improvement of the phone stats did not take place in July, 2002 the Colorado book of business, which consists of $1, 750,000. 0 of annual revenue would be given to our San Antonio Service Center to handle all aspects of the Colorado Business. If that happened we would need a reduction of staff in the Orange office and lay-off three to four CSR’s. If that alone did not light a fire, I do not know what else would have. The CPI Service Manager proposed a sound plan based on last year’s figures. It was clear and concise. It clearly outlined the CSR’s job duties and departmental goals. It was achievable with no addition to staff and minimal overtime.
Senior Management bought into it and gave the green light to preceded with the plan. For the month of June the phone stats went from a 1. 25 % to a . 64%, which was an acceptable level. For the month of July is has been more difficulty due to staffing issues due to vacation requests and/or the Fourth of July holiday. For the month of July, an abandoned rate of 1% is anticiptaed. In this problem, the Manager had to sift through issues that were brought up by Senior Management. The Texas office is lead by an all male management team. The Orange office is lead by seven females and one male.
Also, the culture and Influence Paper 7 attitude are much different between the two states. The Orange office tends to be more liberal and open to different approaches. The Texas office is rigid and resistant to change. The Texas office has more politics to deal with since it is the home office and the two owners of SWBC come into the office everyday, plus all the other financial services divisions such as Mechanical Breakdown Insurance, Credit, Life and Disability, and Human Resources, etc. There are heavy politics and jocking for position at the home office.
The Orange is faster paced and some politics, but not a great deal. Also, with the distance between the two office it can be an “out of sight, out of mind” situation. I have found in order for any major project to take off or change in the CPI CSR Department Senior Management needs to buy into to and the CSR’s need to too. The main objective when discussing a change is to some how make it a “win-win” situation and get feedback from the department. They may be able to shed light on day-to-day functions a manager may have overlooked.
Also, I feel anyone in Management needs to ask questions and do their due diligence with some fact-finding to clear away the menagerie of useless information. In our office we have had managers who ” fly by the seat of their pants” and managers who are assertive, compliant, and researched pending issues before making a rash decision. The latter seems to be the most successful. Due to the cultural and gender difference between the two offices it has been the experience of the CPI Manager to take copious notes during meeting and be patient. Once the egos are massaged the real issues tend to surface.