Tuesday, April 20, 2010

People and Process Make the Different

I work in the IT line so one of the value propositions when proposing a new technology to a customer is that it should improve the productivity of the employees. With improved productivity it will bring about better service level to the end customer.

Of course introduction of new technology also require a supporting streamline process and the acceptance of the employee to achieve this objective. Therefore the return on investment in the new technology is determined by the people and processes supporting these technologies.

I received an SMS from my insurance company – Allianz - that the insurance of my other car will expire in a week time. Well it is good that they use technology to send reminder than using snail mail.

So I call ahead an hour before I reach their office making sure they have plenty of time to prepare. In fact the lady who picks up my call even asked for my car registration number and said she will prepare the quotation for me.

When I got into their office and ask for that lady, the first she asked me again is “Sir, what is your car registration number?” Well it looks like she has not done anything at all. Off she goes back to print the quotation and gave me a copy to check.

Once I agreed on the amount to be insured for this year, I gave them my credit card to be swiped for the amount and then started waiting for her to prepare the cover policy. Well it seems there is still separation of duty for this whole transaction to be completed.

She swiped the credit card but the processing of the credit is at another floor. She come back to me after 10 minutes and gave me the credit card without the credit slip. I then waited for another 20 minutes and there is still no sign of her.

I stood up and look around the office and found her answering phone calls. I signal her that I am in a hurry and she told me that the cover note is being processed. It looks like someone else in the department is doing the cover note and not her. So another 10 minutes delay before the cover note is ready.

When she passed me the cover note, I asked for the credit card slip and she told me that she needs to go to the 10th floor to collect it. Well by the time she comes back with the slip, it is already one hour since I walked in to the office. So does technology help? Hell no.

The way the process is put in place by this company to service their customer is absolutely ineffective. They don’t have a dedicated service counter and they still emphasized separation of duty so even with the use of technology there is no automation at all.

As I walked out of the office, I saw this expat who seems like a senior officer of the company and told him that the transaction took one hour to complete. He turned around and asked the lady what happened but I didn’t stay around to find out if he did anything. I am curious if he or any of his officers will bother to call me to find out if my complaint is valid.

3 years ago when I renewed my insurance there was a service counter so the process of renewing the insurance is very smooth. Everything is done with a counter staff and within 20 minutes (excluding waiting time), I will have my cover note and walk out of the office.

Two years ago Allianz took over the insurance business of that company and they decided not to have a counter. Even then last year experience of renewing my insurance with them was not so bad. That lady who served me was able to give me everything within 30 minutes. I don’t know why they are going backward this year and took one hour to complete just one transaction.

I also recently renewed the insurance of my giant but it was with another insurance company. The experience was totally different. All I did was walked into their counter, ask to renew the insurance. The officer gave me a payment slip and asked me to pay at another counter. After that I just wait for 5 minutes and the officer passed me the cover note and I am out of that place. All in less than 25 minutes time.

Anyway, after I got my cover note, I drove to the Public Bank branch where I got my car loan and asked to renew my road tax. The officer took down my car registration number, double check with the system on my details, wrote me a bank in slip, ask me to pay at the counter down stair. I pay at the designated counter without having to queue and the whole exercise took less than 8 minutes!

It is obvious that this bank has all the process in place and the right people to provide the services to their end customer. The technology is transparent in the service provided and it works because they have the right people and a streamline process to support it. That’s why I have been their customer for the last 10 years.

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