“The queue is now managed entirely by the Blue Prism solution requiring little human intervention and the project is well on its way to achieving all of our objectives”
Co-operative Financial Services has completed a project to automate the bank’s ‘excess queue’ procedure, using Blue Prism’s Automate product. The excess queue procedure is carried out daily by the bank to accept, reject and return direct debits, cheques and standing orders as a result of the customer having insufficient funds to meet the payments. The automation of the entire procedure means that the bank now has a ‘virtual team’ of 20 people completing the workload by 11.00am each day instead of a team of employees working to meet a 3pm daily processing deadline. Employees previously tasked with these duties have been redeployed into proactive customer account management roles to the benefit of bank customers.
Automate has also significantly improved consistencies around customer account management as the bank embarks on a programme to protect its most vulnerable customers.
Overnight BACS processing results in a daily ‘queue’ of customers with payments due to leave their accounts and with insufficient funds to meet these payments. A nine-strong team in the bank would have the daily responsibility of manually reviewing the 2,500 or so higher risk accounts and making decisions to either return or process the payments depending on the account profile of each customer.
Co-operative Financial Services completed the project using Automate, a robotic integration tool from Blue Prism. This enables non-technical users to replicate the manual steps taken by clerical staff and interact with the bank’s core systems non-invasively, so no change is needed to those systems.
Commenting on the plan to automate the excess queue procedure, Joanne Masters, Business Systems Manager at Co-operative Financial Services said: “The Bank is committed to proactively supporting customers and the business case for this project was to redeploy staff from manual roles into customer facing account management roles, alleviate the daily time pressure of having to complete all processing by a 3pm deadline and manage all customer accounts with the same degree of accuracy and consistency. The queue is now managed entirely by the Blue Prism product, requires little human intervention and the project is well on its way to achieving all of our objectives.”
The bank has already seen a number of benefits as a result of automating the excess queue procedure.
Proactive customer account management
Employees previously engaged in manual processing have been released to work on pro-active customer account management. Outbound customer calls can now be made every day of the week where previously they were confined to Saturday when there was no activity required on the excess queue. Commenting on this move, Joanne Masters said: “With more staff now working on outbound customer calls we are able to quickly identify customers in financial difficulty and pro-actively call them to discuss their accounts, rather than reacting too late, enhancing our overall customer service.”
Treating customers fairly and in a consistent and timely manner is of paramount importance to the bank. The rules-based Automate process ensures that the excess queue procedure is followed in exactly the same way every time, ensuring that the bank is able to meet its FSA obligations.
Before automation, 11 employees would work from 7.30am to clear the queue, yet on high volume days struggled to meet the daily 3pm deadline for payment processing. With 80% of the process already automated, nine team members have been moved across to customer-facing roles. The Blue Prism system has created a ‘virtual team’ of 20 employees working simultaneously from 7.00am each day and the London office now receives the information it requires by 11.00am each day.Commenting on the completion of the project, Alastair Bathgate, Managing Director of Blue Prism said, “We are very pleased that once again Automate has contributed significantly to Co-op Financial Services’ ability to service it customers proactively and in a timely manner. Automate has in total now enabled 50 staff to be moved from back office processing to front office customer service”.
Blue Prism provides a new generation of operational agility software. Utilising the latest technology, Blue Prism helps organisations like Barclays, npower, The Co-operative Financial Services and Shop Direct manage complex business processes, linking people and systems seamlessly and effortlessly to target changing business goals.
The company works across a range of industries including call centres, utilities, telecoms and banking. Using our Operational Agility Software suite, our customers benefit from accurate and consistent process execution, lower customer churn, lower staff turnover and lower operational costs.
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