Donald has been in the financial services industry since leaving university in 1994. He has undertaken a variety of roles in advisory firms, with the regulator and in product providers. He has been in his current role as Insurance Customer Delivery Director since July 2015.
What was the thinking behind your support service revamp?
We wanted to take things back to basics. This involved looking at how our processes worked from an adviser’s perspective. We decided we would not be constrained by regulation, technology or our own views of what can make things easier for customers. We wanted to experience the customer journey and to develop our support from that perspective.
How did you go about this?
One of the things we did was to create a digital innovation lab which allowed us to engage with employers and advisers face to face. We asked them, and ourselves: what information do we need and how can it be used most effectively to benefit customers? In addition to this we invited individual and corporate advisers to meet with our senior business leaders to tell us what they believed would really add value to them in order to best support their clients.
What did you discover?
We developed a clearer understanding of the challenges that employers face. We know that on the whole employers do not have large payroll departments so one of the things we did was to make sure the payroll data we require is easier to interpret so any anomalies could be picked up quickly. We also created co-located teams, enabling all our colleagues who run specific parts of the customer journey to be in the same place. So when we developed a new version of our front-end system for employers we could implement an upgrade in hours rather than days. The traditional way of working was far less agile and required improvements. In short we are finding out what employers and advisers want by listening to them and coming up with solutions that are also agreed with them.
What improvements and innovations have you made?
For employers, we’ve simplified and sped up the monthly administration process, reducing the average processing time from 22 days down to just one day. We have also developed straight-through digital processing for 90 per cent of interactions, ensuring enquiries are dealt with from start to finish by one specialist rather than multiple areas. This has taken place over the last 18 months.
We also recognise that not everyone wants to deal with us digitally, so we’ve made sure that from a telephony perspective we are easier to deal with – for example instructions which include switching portfolio management and increments can be made by phone.
Other improvements include being able to pay out tax free cash within 48 hours and Retirement Account new business applications submitted online are processed within 48 hours.
At Scottish Widows we make processing a protection claim as stress-free as possible, accepting evidence by email and accepting life cover claims from relatives over the telephone. We are also challenging the way we obtain additional underwriting evidence, for example, phoning a client direct if appropriate. This means that even if your client’s case is referred, we can often make a final decision the same day.