For years a large non-profit's contact center experienced bottle necks and service level failures during the Christmas season. This was due to increased promotions through radio, direct mail combined with fundraising appeals and magazine subscription renewal drives. The contact center simply could not keep up with the increase in volume and so some of the mail would get bundled and keyed into the system when they had time after Christmas and into January. They had tried hiring temporary help but found it difficult to hire and train enough staff. The other issue was a shortage of available work space. To solve this problem and increase capacity it would require some creative thinking.
- It was difficult to recruit, hire and train enough staff to adequately handle the Christmas spike each year.
- All of the available space was being utilized. Staff on day and evening shifts shared workstations.
- Inbound document scanners were only being used part time due to equipment failure and operator error.
- Customers were upset since they received multiple requests to renew even though they had already sent in their check. If the transaction would have been keyed in a day vs 1-2 months after received then they would not have received the 2nd or 3rd notice.
- The Circulation department was unhappy that their transactions received 2nd class service.
- Researched and ultimately developed an offshore relationship with Patni based out of Noida India. All magazine renewals were routed to a PO box near their US base and orders were scanned to capture an image which was then used by their staff in India to key the transaction into the system.
- An agreement was created with a banking partner to pick up the mail, deposit the money, and scan each piece into the core system. At that point there was an option for regular staff to key the transaction or after advanced training had been completed some of the keying could be done offshore.
- With improved technological capabilities staff could be trained and work from home. This attracted more part time staff and relieved some of the congestion experienced due to a lack of office space.
- A contractor reviewed the process being used to scan internally and he fixed the system glitches and provided advanced training to ensure the operators gained the most throughput.
- Schedules and training was provided to ensure that all of the scanners were in operation until all mail was scanned each day.
- Eliminated the annual Christmas backlog.
- Reduced the cost per renewal transaction by $1 ea. resulting in over $100,000 saved each year.
- Improved both internal and external customer relationships.
- Created additional capacity that could be used for other promotions throughout the year.