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LifeWorks Inc. (formerly Morneau Shepell Inc.) provides HR outsourcing services to 24,000 corporate businesses across 160 countries worldwide. Their technology-enabled wellness solutions support employee and family assistance, pension and benefits administration, retirement and financial consulting, and much more.
The support team at LifeWorks faces seasonal spikes in customer demand, especially during enrollment periods in the fall. During this time, companies will send mass communications to their employees, reminding them to make their benefit selections and upgrades as needed within a two-week window.
Penny Campbell, Vice President of Client Experience, describes this occurrence as a “J-shaped distribution.” They would see an initial increase in support requests, which would die down after a few days. However, towards the end of the enrollment window, demand for support would skyrocket with employees making last-minute updates to their accounts.
“There is no cost-efficient way to staff a J-shaped distribution of call volume,” says Penny. “I can’t justify having the required staffing levels for one or two peak days at the end… We need to invest three to four weeks of training agents so they can take these types of calls.”
LifeWorks would rely on voicemail to manage call volume overflow, but this proved to be inefficient and costly. Customers were escalating complaints, which added to their struggles. It was clear they needed a solution that was flexible and cost-efficient enough to support them during these sporadic spikes in demand.
In 2018, LifeWorks implemented Fonolo Voice Call-Backs. In addition to helping manage high call volumes, the solution promised better operational efficiency and a better member experience. The pilot period resulted in improved performance for their contact center,
which was enough for them to begin promoting the offering to their clients.
“We’re a B2B company, so we often roll out Fonolo as part of a service improvement plan for clients who need extra support with staffing and service levels,” says Penny.
Unlike most call-back solutions, Fonolo is feature rich, which gives users more flexibility in its usage. LifeWorks applies Fonolo strategically, using predicted wait time calculations to determine the best time for a call-back offer.
“We typically offer the call-back option when estimated wait time exceeds our trigger threshold of 5-10 minutes,” says Penny. In a case like this, the caller only waits 30 seconds before receiving a call-back option. “We want to prioritize member experience without becoming over-reliant on Fonolo… but it’s good to have call-backs to fall back
Since adopting call-backs, the LifeWorks team has noticed a significant improvement in their daily operations. Penny says Fonolo has helped them modernize their systems and provide a better member experience overall.
Peak seasonal periods no longer spark concerns around wait time or staffing, since Fonolo automatically handles all aspects of the virtual queue. Even unexpected call-spikes — or the tail-end of a J-shaped call distribution — are more manageable, since customers no longer need to wait on hold for service.
Complaint escalations have also decreased dramatically since hold time is no longer a necessity for callers. Furthermore, Penny says she has noticed a decrease in their average handle time, which can be attributed to fewer complaints about hold time once they reach a live agent. As a contact center leader, Penny looks forward to the opportunities these advances will bring LifeWorks in the future.
“With Voice Call-Backs in place, we can service larger high-volume clients without having to worry as much about staffing levels,” she says. “Fonolo has proven itself in our business.”