Co-operative Financial Services cuts a third of costs with better service

One of the UK's leading financial services organisations concludes the final phase of its IT reorganisation

Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) has reduced costs by 35 per cent in the final phase of an ambitious business transformation project aimed at making the insurance division more customer-focused.

The company's new operating model (NOM) change programme encompassed a number of key stages. The last phase, which touches more than 1,000 staff and 4.7 million customers, focused on transforming the Corporate Insurance Society's (CIS) customer support centres (CSCs). These centres handle customer queries relating to insurance policies.

"We were essentially transforming a decentralised service proposition into a centralised service proposition," said Mike Pressland, head of customer support for CIS.

"In doing so, we needed to make sure that the customer support centre was fit for purpose in terms of driving customer delivery and delivering results to the business. We wanted to make staff more customer centric in behaviour."

CFS, which comprises the Co-operative Bank , CIS and smile.co.uk, is using work management software from vendor eg to ensure customer facing staff meet agreed service standards targets. Where targets are missed, or indeed exceeded, the company is now better positioned to analyse performance and provide more tailored support to associated staff.

"With the support of eg, we are infinitely more customer focused. We are now working with tools that drive the development of people and improvements in customer delivery. We now operate in a way that makes change a constant as opposed to operating in a somewhat stagnant environment," said Pressland.

The project has also helped elevate the status of the customer support centre, according to Pressland. "Previously, we were just part of a chain in service delivery," he said. "With the new model, we're at the core of the customer proposition."

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