The Challenge

The contact centre at ASEBP provides customer service on health and wellness coverage to over 60,000 covered members across Alberta. Benefit services specialists interact with members by phone, email, and in person on average 280 times per day with this number peaking to over 450 during busy periods.

As part of its focus on continuous improvement and customer service excellence, ASEBP was looking for ways and ideas to take the customer service experience to the next level and to leverage more efficiently all the different systems and tools that support every contact center interaction with its members.

The Solution

ASEBP engaged DevFacto, a long-standing partner, to re-envision the technology used in the contact centre. DevFacto used their ideation and discovery methodology to engage with contact centre staff, understand their current problems, and uncover complexity before building actual software. Making end-users part of the design process from the very beginning allows DevFacto specialists to empathize with their needs and build engaging, empowering, and enjoyable applications.

STEP 1: PLANNING

DevFacto started this eight-week process by holding a planning session to identify the team members, constraints, and overall parameters for the project. Next, a kick-off meeting was held to:

  • Describe the objectives and scope of the project;
  • Confirm that all the key ASEBP stakeholders were represented;
  • Describe the activities that each ASEBP team member would be involved in;
  • Explain the importance of ideation (“blue-sky thinking”) and how that differs from studying the current processes and pain points;
  • Schedule dates for all the interviews and ideation workshops;
  • Discuss potential risks and highlighted how important it was to have team members in attendance at the interviews and workshops; and
  • Describe the communication plan for status updates.
STEP 2: INTERVIEWS

Interviews were scheduled with all team members and DevFacto facilitated the meetings by asking questions to address the current situation from multiple angles, such as:

  • Tell us about a typical day in the contact centre
  • What are the top requests/issues that covered members have?
  • What slows you down?
  • What would make you more efficient?
  • What work-arounds or techniques do you use?

Most sessions involved two DevFacto specialists which helped the meetings flow effectively while at the same time capturing detailed notes. After each session, the notes were reviewed to look for common themes and identify gaps. This analysis helped guide the next interview sessions.

To augment the understanding gained from interviews, DevFacto arranged several call-shadowing sessions in the contact centre to observe the daily activity and identify opportunities first-hand.

sTEP 3: IDEATION

Ideation workshops were used to step outside the current mindset and do some blue-sky thinking. DevFacto’s methodology guides participants through the process of “creating choices” before “making choices”. The workshops began by framing the problem as “How might we improve support for the covered member?”

Divergent Thinking: Participants were given sticky notes and a pen, and were guided through this “creating choices” stage to brainstorm as many ideas as possible, while staying focused on the topic and deferring judgement.

Convergent Thinking:  After creating a large list of ideas, the group selected a few they felt had the most potential and proceeded to develop them further. This prototyping activity involved drawing diagrams, application, and process workflows to bring the ideas to life. By designing possible solutions and testing them in the workshops, it allowed the team to identify both the opportunities and challenges of implementing the ideas.

Over the course of the ideation process, DevFacto:

  • Uncovered and documented the activities, common scenarios and pain points involved in the daily work of the contact centre staff;
  • Imagined new and innovative ways to improve the experience of the covered member;
  • Built user stories to capture the key requirements;
  • Designed the look-and-feel of an application using wireframes and high-fidelity mock-ups; and
  • Estimated the development effort to build a new system.

The result was a recommendation to build a new system for use by benefit specialists in the contact centre. Thanks to the ideation process, DevFacto and ASEBP developed an exciting system design that would be rolled-out strategically and ultimately improve member satisfaction and reduce the average length of calls.

“The sky’s the limit! With those words DevFacto challenged us, through the ideation process, to think outside the box and describe our ideal world. They took our wishes and desires and made them a reality. The way my team will work in the near future will be a significant enhancement to the way their jobs are done today. Thanks for making our wishes come true!”

Elaine Shannon, Division Manager, Benefit Services

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