Keeping Track of Work Tasks

By Heather Baldwin

CRM applications are adept at handling work tasks within the CRM system itself. Tracking customer order histories? No problem. Identifying cross-sell and up-sell opportunities? Piece of cake. But what about tracking the tasks that must be handed off to a live person? That’s where many applications break down, says Randy Davis, senior vice president of Staffware eCRM. “Almost all current CRM systems lose sight of and responsibility for the work task at the point of hand-off. As a result, many of the tasks created by a customer’s interaction with the CRM system are poorly handled or lost altogether.”

Take the case of a Dallas-based insurance provider. Until recently, each customer request for a change in his or her record, such as a new address or a different deductible, had to go through several different departments. The front-end system took care of its responsibilities, but once the request began moving through the company, technology lost track of it. There was no way to determine whether all the necessary changes were made and, if not, where the breakdowns occurred. “They did a very good job of receiving the request, but they did a very poor job of forwarding the request through the system,” Davis recalls. “As soon as the request was handed off, they lost ownership and oversight of it.”

Enter Staffware, whose process-driven CRM system is based on the integration of CRM functionality with an enterprise-level, business-process automation called Workflow. By introducing Workflow to manage, audit and track work tasks both inside and outside the system, each customer request moves automatically through the system; the customer-service rep who received the change request has oversight of it; and if there’s any lengthy inaction, the rep receives a message, can identify exactly where that task is stuck in the company and prod the person who slowed it down. The result: the number of outstanding “work in progress” jobs decreased from 60,000 to 4,000; processing time for claims and applications dropped from 16 days to two days; and weekly calls dropped from 18,000 to 10,000, while the majority of those calls became requests for information instead of complaints.

“It’s all about taking business-process rules that are handled poorly or manually now and allowing automation to carry it forward,” says Davis. “Along the way, Workflow is monitoring that task-it knows where it’s been, where it needs to go and once fulfilled, it returns it to the place it originated.”

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