Posted: 28th March 2014

Remediation programme managers will know: there’s nothing like a live case to highlight unforeseen challenges and bottlenecks. Seen this way, the key to a successful remediation programme is a successful pilot.

The key variables are response rates, response times and resulting operational processes. With this information your programme can reap a number of benefits.

Response rates

Segment your customer population by the critical metrics for the programme, be they age, eligibility, financial capability, single / multi products, claims, arrears or similar.

A proportion of each segment is contacted to establish the likely response rates across these populations. Response rates may vary significantly; therefore, understanding these in advance of large scale mailings will enable the programme to plan the inbound workload more effectively through adapting the outbound mailing and contact schedules.

Where segmented populations have significantly lower response rates, the contact strategies for those areas may require a more targeted approach, possibly via another medium to ensure the population is reached most effectively. On this point the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published this paper on improving response rates.

Response times

Together with response rates the likely response times differ between customer segments. Gauging the customers’ response times will allow the programme team to establish a balanced workload and maintain customer service levels.

Understanding how long it takes customer segments to respond to outbound communications enables the programme to balance the inbound workload and effectively schedule the outbound communications to minimise peaks and troughs of demand.

Those using inbound customer contact centres should be particularly interested in this measure because the point at which the outbound communication lands with the customer can have a dramatic impact on when your staff make contact. For example, mailings which land with a customer on a Friday or Saturday may have a disproportionate impact on inbound calls on Monday morning. Be mindful too of outbound mailing over holiday periods such as Christmas and Easter. 

Operational processes

A pilot establishes whether the information gathering, whether before or as part of customer contact, delivers enough data to be able to decide whether there is a case for remediation and what this should be. Where the programme seeks to gather data from the customer, the pilot programme can establish whether the customer fully understands the data requests that are being made of them and the likelihood of receiving such information.

Piloting live cases and addressing any bottlenecks or areas of waste identified will ensure cost effective remediation. As a part of this, the process, procedures, scripts and FAQs often have to be reworked to ensure they are effective.

Establish mailing schedules

You now have customer response rates and times for the different data segments, alongside the throughput times for cases. This gives you a good basis from which to understand workloads for your contact centre staff.

The outbound customer contact schedule can now be developed to ensure a balanced workload for the programme staff, avoiding peaks and troughs of activity.

The workload for staff, driven from the mailing schedule, should also take into account the likelihood of unsolicited inbound communications from segments yet to be contacted. Most programmes focus on the simpler to handle customer segments first in order to steadily upskill staff and identify those capable of taking on more complex cases later in the programme. 

Cover communication routes

Customers are skilled at finding communication routes into your firm that you may not have predicted. By undertaking the pilot and giving front line staff a contact reference point, you can ensure all staff are properly briefed ahead of large-scale customer contact exercises. This helps to manage response timescales, wherever they are received.

Predict monetary provisions

Once you have established the response rates in each customer segment, the operational costs for processing cases and the average redress within each segment, this allows you to build a much more robust provisioning amount for the overall costs of the programme.

Pilots in remediation programmes allow those accountable to address factors which may significantly influence the direction of the programme. The pilot reduces the unknowns thereby reducing cost, time and resource misallocation.

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