Lean Review – Niche Financial Services Provider

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The brief:

Increasing customer volumes had exposed gaps in the way work transferred between the customer services and credit delivery teams. Processes were complex, with lots of double-checking of work, yet error rates remained high. Customer service was poor.

What we did:

We started by reviewing the project with the senior leadership to agree objectives and measures of success for the project. We talked to all staff so that could contribute to designing new ways of working. With their help, we drafted a series of process maps and collected a full range of diagnostic data to understand current performance. This enabled us to identify that the problems were being caused by the inability of either team to quickly establish the status of a customer enquiry. This was resulting in numerous calls and emails between staff, to such an extent that it was actually stopping the work from being done.

The result:

Analysis of customer demand data identified that the credit team were understaffed, even after better processes were put in place. Additional staff were recruited, raising capacity and morale in equal measure. We also developed a simple spreadsheet based workflow tool that enabled managers to allocate staff appropriately by work type and daily volumes. This maximised the productivity of staff and they were able to measure and manage their own and the team’s performance without management intervention, which raised morale even further! Finally, a ‘read-only’ version of the spreadsheet was loaded to a secure access shared drive. This allowed the credit team to update the status of each case they were working on, in real time, and the customer services team to ‘see’ the information. Customers could be instantly updated, which allowed the customer services team to focus on offering additional services instead of resolving issues – providing a better service!