Judith Comber from Radian Group explains how CRM and integrated software can deliver real benefits.
Radian decided to implement Capita’s CRM Lite product from its Open Housing suite in November 2010, and has since identified three key benefits of CRM: centralisation of information; improved service delivery; and better call handling performance.
Centralisation of information
CRM allows all information for one resident to be held in a single, central call log enabling the advisor to clearly see all previous contact. By removing the need to switch between systems, the advisor can give a focused and efficient response to the customer. Advisors can deal with the logging of repairs, reports of anti-social behaviour, income and rent issues so consequently most queries can be resolved at the first point of contact. For example, the percentage of our calls resolved at first contact rose from 65 to 80 per cent in a 12-month period after we implemented the CRM system.
Improved service delivery
Improving the service delivered to tenants and residents can have wide-reaching effects for an organisation. Customers are more confident in a service if it is informative and tailored to suit their needs; by having the ability to access details about tenancy and housing issues along with property and repairs, a high percentage of calls can be resolved at the first point of contact without needing to pass the caller from department to department. By decreasing the number of repeat calls, the average waiting time also goes down which goes a long way towards increasing overall customer satisfaction. At Radian, our customer satisfaction has risen by 3 per cent with over 80 per cent of calls being answered within 20 seconds and 97 per cent of customers telling us that we are helpful.
Better call-handling performance
We all know the frustration of being held in a queue, and that by the time we make contact with a human voice we may not always be in the best frame of mind. Radian receives up to 1,700 calls per day so we are very aware that any changes we can make to reduce waiting times will increase our call-handling performance. Our advisors have all the information at their fingertips and can give the customer the information they need in a clear, concise and timely manner, leading to a reduction of repeat calls. The introduction of CRM along with other integrated software such as workflow has achieved a reduction of almost 20 per cent in our average call-handling time, now down to just over five minutes.
Sheila Starr, head of customer services at Radian, said, “CRM has had a big impact on the service we offer, giving us access to all information in one place, reducing duplication of effort, and being able to track enquiries.”
Benefits of workflow
During the configuration and testing phases of our CRM implementation, we became aware that the addition of workflow would greatly enhance functionality and streamline some hitherto labour-intensive processes.
Workflow gives us the ability to label each task individually and route this task in one specific, standard way so that every time the task is undertaken, the same process is followed. The task is then allocated to a work queue where specific actions for each individual item are required.
Work queues can be configured for specific staff roles, such as neighbourhood officers who deal with anti-social behaviour, estate management, voids and allocations and returning customer calls. All of these items can be accessed from an individual officer’s work queue, giving them a single place to view outstanding work items and therefore helping to manage their day-to-day workload.
There is also the flexibility to set up generic work queues where multiple team members can access items that require processing; this works particularly well for administrative tasks and repairs processing. Work items can be moved between colleagues when they are on leave or ill, or several members of staff can access one particular queue, ensuring that nothing is overlooked. This provides the flexibility crucial in maintaining high levels of customer service.
Furthermore, team and individual performance can be monitored and reported to ensure strategic targets are met.
At Radian, we used workflow in several areas including the way our top priority orders were reported to our in-house direct labour organisation. This resulted in an increase of orders completed within target from 90 per cent to almost 100 per cent, and our response to customer correspondence rose from 75 to 87 per cent.
Electronic document management
As part of our ongoing improvements to customer service, we are currently upgrading our EDM system with Capita’s Document Solutions. The improved functionality in its SF10 product and its integration with Open Housing will let us publish both incoming and outgoing correspondence to one central file which in turn can be easily viewed by any member of staff at any location.
This will make significant savings in the filing and retrieval of documents, from £400 per week at the moment to just £8 per week for electronically-stored files. The savings on space are a huge consideration too as current estimates show that our paper files are taking up 2,500 sq-ft of valuable office space.
By having a central electronic repository for all documents, Radian is confident in making further improvements to customer service. We are always looking at new ways to improve the service we provide to our customers and enhancing their overall satisfaction is a pivotal requirement of the technology we choose.
Judith Comber is an information systems analyst at Radian Group.