In April, eHealth Registries really dialed in and made some improvements in their call centre. Towards the end of 2014, call volumes had increased significantly as eHealth entered the final stages of the Health Card Renewal Project and that created some challenges for the staff.
The call centre was receiving about 1,890 calls per day from customers and 49 per cent of those calls were being abandoned.
An abandoned call means that the customer hung up the phone before being connected to a Customer Service Representative, usually because they were waiting for too long. This led to frustrated customers and Health Registries staff.
In an effort to resolve the challenges of increasing call volumes, a Rapid Process Improvement Workshop (RPIW) took place this past April for all staff in the call centre. The workshop also included participation from members of eHealth’s Service Desk, who had experienced similar challenges. In the summer of 2014, their Call Abandoned Rate peaked at 33 per cent—the target is less than five per cent.
After five months of dedicated Lean work, their rate had zoomed past the target and is now consistently under three per cent.
The Service Desk and Health Registries team collaborated to analyze the issues negatively impacting customer service to determine which Service Desk successes could be replicated. After the first three days of the event, a strategy was developed and implemented that included phone system changes, staff schedule changes to ensure maximum phone coverage, reorganization of work standards and introduction of skill-based call routing so that more difficult calls were handled by more experienced Customer Service Representatives.
As a result of the new strategy, Health Registries has seen a significant reduction in abandoned customer calls to below 10 per cent and customer satisfaction has increased.
Between April 23 and June 8, the number of calls that couldn’t be handled by the call center decreased to seven per cent, from an average daily abandoned rate of 41 per cent between April 1 and April 22.
Positive feedback expressing appreciation for the improved service has been received from customers. Other government agencies have also experienced fewer inquiries to their offices from customers requiring information about Health Registries’ services. Staff easily adjusted to their new schedules and the area has seen a significant boost in morale. Online and paper update requests from customers have shown a steady improvement in turnaround times. The success of the project surpassed expectations and has resulted in improved service to our customers.