Optimizing Processes

A contact center reduces processing time by 95%


A national contact center tasked with managing a candidate application process for 32 of its member states struggled to keep up with increased volume of applications and customer communications. Their internal solution was to continually add headcount, but the published 8-10 week turnaround time often took substantially longer than 8-weeks to complete. The result was a spiraling cost structure and increasing reputational harm to the organization.


From an external perspective, the problem was obvious and rapidly defined. Previous initiatives to improve process speed or quality was based on an additive framework, which increased the number of steps and continuously looked for ways to further disaggregate tasks, assuming the more focused an individual was, the better they would perform. These initiatives created further bottlenecks, handoffs and opportunities for error. The ever increasing volume of phone calls and emails were a direct result of the significant application processing delays.

Analyzing the organizational data and developing a comprehensive value stream map of the process, numerous bottlenecks and process optimization/simplification opportunities were identified. The team consolidated several work functions, reallocated resources to key system bottlenecks, and redesigned the overall process for take advantage of physical location and staff capabilities. New KPIs and operational dashboards were also developed to focus leadership attention on only the opportunities that would drive down processing time and improve customer experience.

The result was a 95% reduction in processing time from over 8 weeks to under 3 days and a first ever drop in staffing requirements for the department; all this despite an increase in applications. A secondary effect of the improved process was a 50% drop in candidate call volume and an 80% drop in escalations. The savings associated with this improvement initiative allowed the organization to open an international call center in Guam with zero net added staff or cost.


Industry: Non-Profit Regulatory Organization

Skills: Process Improvement, Operational Management, Value Stream Mapping, Business Intelligence, Dashboarding