John Hancock Financial Services - Customer Service Success

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Company: John Hancock Financial Services, Boston, MA
Company Description: John Hancock's core retail products in the U.S. focus on providing financial solutions at every stage of our clients' lives. Our product suite includes life insurance, mutual funds, 401(k) plans, long-term care insurance, and annuities. We distribute our products primarily through licensed financial advisors, and through John Hancock Financial Network, a national network of independent
Nomination Category: Customer Service Awards Success Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Customer Service Success - Financial Service Industries

Nomination Title: Support…who owns it anyways?

Tell the story about what this nominated organization achieved since the beginning of July 2015 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes: REDACTED FOR PUBLICATION

A company that is consistently challenged by an ever-changing landscape of system capabilities, market conditions, regulatory mandates, and service expectations, John Hancock Signature Services (JHSS) has had a never-ending list of tasks that required constant attention. As a transfer agent for John Hancock Investments, the chore of keeping pace with the demands of change presented a unique challenge. Routine, but vital administrative tasks that happen in support of the frontline staff were previously divided amongst departments, as was the ownership and accountability of such tasks. This presented challenges of consistency and reliability of the tasks being done accurately and promptly.

In 2014, JHSS moved in a direction to centralize key service support responsibilities into one team of technically and analytically savvy associates, with the intent to create ownership and accountability for these tasks. It was believed that the success of the frontline staff relied heavily on the tools, processes, and resources it had to perform its service. In light of that, the Service Administration Team was established with individuals from different teams (within and outside of the JHSS Transfer Agent) to take advantage of product and industry expertise. It took approximately eighteen months to staff the team with the five individuals possessing key skills to make this a successful strategy. By extracting these responsibilities from multiple departments and centralizing to one team, departments outside of the team were now allowed to focus further on providing a quality customer service experience to its internal customers: management and frontline staff.

The start of 2016 launched the first full year of measureable results and impact to the transfer agent. Contributions of the team include:

• Documenting and maintaining over 362 procedures, accounting for more than 8,000 pages reviewed
• Conducting over 92 internal audits monthly to mitigate risk
• Completing 13 monthly performance reports for management staff
• Submitting, tracking and resolving 971 system-related issues
• Facilitating 167 projects for system and process enhancements as project managers
• Administering informational online resources and records management
• Facilitating business requirements for business continuity planning and vendor relationships
• Administering record-keeping impacts to shareholders for seven fund mergers, seven fund launches, and three fund name changes
• Establishing a performance management plan appropriate for frontline-staffed departments within JHSS by developing 28 new job descriptions and performance expectations
• Facilitating the build-out of the project plan database to capture progress for enhancement projects
• Addressing 342 requests regarding improvements and issue resolution for online informational resources

The dedication and diligence of this team, routinely working beyond the 40-hour week to ensure the success and completion of tasks at hand, consistently coordinating with management and subject matter experts, made this a successful strategy. As a result, the Service Administration Team was able to directly impact the performance of the transfer agency on several levels. Within the last year, the transfer agent has seen improvement in the following areas:

• Achieved an outstanding PwC audit report, resulting in an unqualified opinion
• Dropped expense ratios by .9 basis points
• Customer complaints decreased by 24.48%

Since inception, this team has been extremely involved, and has proven critically important to the performance of the transfer agent. By virtue of the peripheral nature of the team, this select group has the benefit of having a global view of departmental challenges. This has translated to implementing efficiencies and identifying and resolving redundant challenges across departments. The team has also contributed to the additional focus placed on the primary objectives of other departments within the transfer agent, namely customer experience.

The strategy is to continue with this support service model. We look to enhance the value of the team further by building upon the skills that the team currently possesses, and also explore what other administrative and project-related duties could be centralized, while continuing to validate and deliver what our customers are looking for,. We will continue to assign metrics to our achievements and make further contributions to the success of John Hancock customer experience.