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The Challenge

This Ombudsman scheme had record complaint levels growing at over 25% per annum. They believed they had no control over demand (being driven by the actions of the scheme participants) and the operating model wasn’t coping. The Intake team were struggling to handle the call volumes and Investigators had backlogs of over four weeks work before complaints were actioned. 

We completed a diagnostic looking at the flow of complaints within the ombudsman structure and to and from the scheme and its participants. The scheme had set up metrics that encouraged unnecessary complaints and were allowing too many problems to be escalated that could have been contained at lower stages of review. As a complaint went through each stage it required rework and long and unnecessary process steps slowed resolution and resulted in the large backlogs.

Key Points
  • Ombudsman scheme facing record levels of complaints

  • Call answering was not meeting service levels

  • Investigations were slow to resolve and in a 4-week backlog

  • We establish quick wins to handle calls and clear backlogs

  • New practises were developed and a ‘quick-win resolution team’ added to the structure

  • Backlog of 900 cases cleared in 6 weeks

  • Intake handle time reduced by 50% with 90% grade of service

  • Faster and simpler process to resolve at all stages reduced workload by 40%

Our Solution

We realised that the immediate need was to clear the backlog and answer the calls. We established a series of quick win structures and processes that removed the backlog, delivered all required service levels and freed up 10% surplus capacity within 3 weeks. 

This capacity allowed us to work with Intake and Investigation staff to design new practices.  All stages of escalation had best practice procedures documented so investigative effort aligned with the progress and complexity of each complaint. A new ‘quick win’ team was established to contact retailers immediately to close cases that retailers should have been able to fix without the customer going to the ombudsman.
The new structure and processes gave retailers a fairer chance to resolve complaints and avoid escalations, and where intervention was required resolution was brought forward to avoid unnecessary levels of investigation.

Management disciplines were implemented that included a morning huddle to review cases on hand, prepare for retailer meetings and discuss coaching plans and observations.

  • Backlog of 900 cases cleared in 6 weeks

  • Handle time on intake calls reduced by 45%

  • Contained 40% of complaints at low stages, avoiding full blown investigations

  • Resolution times on investigations teams dropped by 50%

  • Complaint volumes reduced by 20%

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