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Mass Mutual- Disability Income Back Office Operations Customer Service Team

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2018, Click to Enter The 2019 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service

Company: Mass Mutual Life Insurance Company, Springfield, MA
Company Description: Founded in 1851, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) is an American mutual life insurance company serving 5 million clients. With headquarters in Springfield, Massachusetts, the company employs more than 7,000 in the United States, and a total of 10,614 internationally. MassMutual was ranked 76th in the Fortune 500 list (as of June 15, 2016).
Nomination Category: Customer Service & Call Center Awards Team Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Back-Office Customer Service Team of the Year - Financial Services Industries

Nomination Title: Disability Income Back Office Operations Customer Service Team

Tell the story about what this nominated team achieved since the beginning of July 2016 (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:

Our Journey: Where we started: Disability Income Post Issue Operations Services team

In July of 2016, the Disability Income Post Issue back office service team had inconsistent service experiences, high volume of customer service escalations, increasing customer demand requiring needed support from other back office service teams and morale was at an all-time low.

Something needed to change! We started by identifying handoffs in our processes by creating process stream maps of all high volume service functions. This led to determining knowledge gaps and waste embedded in these processes. It became clear that the hand offs for billing and collections functions added significant customer delays to our process. We brought the Disability Income Payment Services functions and Disability Income Post Issue service functions together to form Disability Income Operations. In order to shift the culture of this team, the associates aligned to establish One United Goal and Purpose: to improve Communication among the broader team, enhance Talent Development and Improve Customer Experiences through a focus.

Where did we start? Communication: daily huddles (led by team members), to discuss morale, staffing, communication updates, service scorecard data and review our servicing plan for the day. Next, we needed to build a skill matrix.Why? So we could eliminate all single points of dependency and close knowledge gaps. Before we could train – we needed to ensure we had comprehensive documentation on all high and low volume service functions which encompass our new workflows. Fragmented training was eliminated. We improved traditional training methods by training across functions and platforms. In review of our process stream maps, we identified numerous process improvements that we implemented. For example we changed the process for Automatic Renewal policy pages, saving 108 hours/year. We also eliminated 6,000 unnecessary workflow events a year by correcting system error reports – savings were 480 hours a year. Through all the improvements, the team was able to reduce staff by 5 full time equivalents (FTE), all through attrition with a savings of $300k.

Today’s landscape – By reducing handoffs through talent development (cross training and business courses) our service standards went from five (5) days to one point five (1.5) days while absorbing additional customer demand/volume increase of 9.5%. With the tremendous amount of change, culture also shifted. Wesaw huge improvement in our Employee Engagement Survey – 67% to 93% - Favorable trends on all questions: 100% favorable on questions: I am empowered to make decisions that enable me to do my job effectively, I feel encouraged to come up with a better way to do things and when I do an excellent job, my accomplishments are recognized. Our customers have seen our improvements and we have been inundated with positive comments/kudos on customer surveys in addition to letters from them – one demanding customer wrote “Doing business with Mass Mutual is like going to my favorite restaurant always satisfying”, another comment was “Your hard work and turning requests around so quickly has resulted in dozen an dozen of new sales for us, pick a day I want to buy the team lunch”(from our internal sales team). This team is true GOLD medal worthy.