MassMutual Financial Group - Back-Office Customer Service Team of the Year

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2017, Click to Enter The 2018 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service

Company: MassMutual Financial Group, Springfield, MA
Company Description: Since 1851, MassMutual has grown and thrived - surviving wars, depressions, recessions and changing market conditions. Throughout, our main focus has never wavered. We help people secure their futures and protect the ones they love.
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: Owner & Beneficiary Back-Office Customer Service Team

Tell the story about what this nominated team 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:

At the beginning of 2016, the Owner & Beneficiary team embarked on a journey to improve the customer experience. This team is responsible for updating beneficiary information, as well as processing ownership changes on in-force Life insurance policies, which are the top 2 functions handled by the team.

In 2015, the O/B team processed 39,722 beneficiary changes at an average turn-around time (TAT) of 4.57 business days. This was actually considered a very successful year for the department considering the Service Level Agreement (SLA) for beneficiary changes was 5 business days.

For years, the team has operated under a 5 business day SLA for these transactions as it is considered the industry standard. While this provides adequate service to our customers when we are able to meet this goal, under times of extremely high volumes of customer demand, we have historically seen turn-around times for beneficiary changes reach 10-15 business days for processing. This resulted in decreased customer satisfaction and an increase in escalations and requests to rush pending requests waiting to be processed.

Wanting to provide the best customer service possible to their customers, the team started problem solving ways to improve the overall customer experience. As a result of their research, they determined that if they were able to maintain a 5 day turn-around time with the current staff and inventory levels, they should be able to do the same if they reduced the target to 2 days for beneficiary changes. Considering the inconsistent flow of requests, the team recognized that this target would be a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG), but one that would drive a significantly improved customer experience.

With this goal in mind, the team spent the 4th quarter of 2015 burning down their existing inventory to prepare themselves for this aggressive new turn-around time expectation. This required many hours of hard work and dedication that the whole team rallied around. New workflows needed to be created in order to accommodate such an advantageous goal, but in January of 2016, the switch was flipped and they began processing under the new SLA.

By the end of January, the team had achieved the near impossible and finished the month with an average turn-around time of 1.86 days for beneficiary changes. In the months that followed, average monthly TATs remained strong, only missing their BHAG SLA in 1 of the 12 months of 2016!

Riding the high of this positive momentum, the team wasn’t ready to stop there. Seeing the great results this unified team with a common goal was able to achieve, they started to analyze what they could tackle next and landed on ownership changes. This was another customer request type that had a 5 day SLA that the team was confident could be reduced to 2 days as well. In June of 2016, ownership changes were reduced to a 2 day turn-around time and by the end of the month, the average TAT had been reduced to 1.90 business days and continued to meet the TAT goal through December 2016!

By the end of 2016, the average turn-around time for beneficiary changes came in at 1.77 for the entire year. Although the turn-around time for ownership changes wasn’t reduced until mid-year, the team still managed to reduce the average TAT from 4.66 business days at the end of 2015 to 3.16 business days for all of 2016.

The end result of this incredible work has been a decrease in customer escalations, a significant reduction in rush requests and a positive increase in customer satisfaction from 76.4% overall satisfaction to 81.5%. One customer stated “They responded quickly and sent to me the requested information regarding beneficiaries on my policies” while another customer stated “Very polite, professional. Matter was handled quickly, efficiently and no time wasted”
None of this could have been achieved without the efforts of the members of the cross-site Owner & Beneficiary team!