e-Commerce Solution Delivers Major Savings
Many of us are familiar with using the web (e-commerce) to purchase goods or conduct on-line banking, but one organisation has successfully implemented e-commerce to reduce its administration overhead. Here's the scenario.
You have a customer base of approximately 100,000. A large proportion of your customer's income each year is determined by successfully completing and submitting a paper based claim form within a relatively short statutory time-frame. The form is complex and requires an amount of cross referencing and the application of a number of rules. Your customer's core skill is not the completion of complex forms. If they get it wrong they can suffer financially. And of course some do get it wrong.
There are two major factors driving this business solution. The first is the relatively short window customers have in which to complete their submission. On submission the claim form has to be checked for completeness and then accuracy, i.e. have the rules been adhered too? A two pass administrative task requiring different skills. If major errors are found then the submitted form will have to be returned to the customer for correction with the obvious implications of possibly missing the claim window completely or the customer suffering financially due to the late submission of the claim.
The second driver is the business process. In an ideal world the process would be designed so that submissions are processed throughout the year avoiding any peaks and troughs. Unfortunately that approach can't be applied in this organisation. So if the process is peaky is there a way to flatten it?
The most intensive activity when processing the claims is checking the accuracy or applying the business rules if you prefer. This activity also requires specialist knowledge and can lead to backlogs at times.
If these constraints can be neutralised it would be possible to reduce the amount of administrative support and hence the cost of processing. It was with these goals in mind that the e-commerce system was designed.
Importantly the system had to be able to offer customers an incentive if they were going to move from paper to electronic claims. Let's look at this aspect first.
The system is remotely accessible over the internet and is web browser based. A deliberate decision was taken to support a broad number of browser vendors and also a number of past versions of browsers as well as current versions. This decision was based on research of the user base which showed that whilst many kept up with the advances in browser technology just as many didn't bother to upgrade their browsers.
On logging into the system the customer is presented with their personalised contact details as a pre-populated screen. The concept of pre-populating the screens wherever possible runs throughout the whole system design. This approach allows the customer to check the data on-screen for accuracy rather than having to research the data for themselves. As the business logic is also embedded within the solution any changes the customer makes is assured to adhere to the business rules making the rejection of a claim far less likely. A context sensitive help facility is also available to the customer should they require it.
By taking this approach to the problem, the customer is able to complete their claim on-line and make any changes they wish during the open claim window. As the system is "on-line", submission is almost instantaneous enabling the customer to make full use of the claim window. Once submitted the customer is emailed an electronic receipt to prove the submission was made. No more worrying about claims being lost in the post.
The big plus and a major cost saving for the business is that submitted claims can be electronically processed with only the minimum of manual intervention in a QA role helping to smooth the peaks in the business process and delivering significant efficiency savings.
If you would like to know more about e-commerce or would like help implementing your own e-commerce system we would be happy to help you. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org by phone at +44 (0) 7771 784 246 or use our feedback form here.
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