So often the way work is processed doesn't match the complexity of the work. When this occurs there can be significant inefficiencies in the process, and poor customer outcomes.
We recently completed an initiative where the way that the work was being processed was identified as the root cause to poor customer experience and high cost. The work was being processed using a task based model with operators in the process handing work from one person to the next to get the work done. The work required significant problem solving and by moving it from one person to another they were effectively re-starting the work each time. By introducing a case management approach, where one person owns the task from start to finish, a significant improvement in customer experience was achieved whilst also reducing the cost of processing by 30%.
The way that work should be processed is based on a number of factors:
- the complexity of the work
- linearity of the process, and
- predictability of the outcome.
Where work is of low complexity with minimal problem solving and has a linear process with a limited range of known outcomes, a task based approach to the work is the most efficient way of managing work. In this model, work passes from person to person as each person completes their element - much like a traditional assembly line process.
However, as work either moves away from a linear process and/or involves greater problem solving, a case management approach is a more efficient way of managing work. Case management is when the tasks or steps required to complete a process are owned and managed by one individual from start to completion. In a case managed approach, tasks may be completed by “experts” in addition to the case manager, however, the case manager maintains accountability for the overall task completion.
Our recent initiative reviewed the type of work that was being completed and identified that a case management approach would be more appropriate based on the problem solving and complexity of the process. Consequently, this model was designed and deployed across the team.
The change from task to case management resulted in almost 30% reduction in touch time to complete the task and significantly improved the customer experience. This has a positive benefit as satisfied customers are more likely to refer new business to a company that they themselves are happy with.
This change is a great example of where having the work processes aligned to type to work is critical to optimize the performance of the business.