(Image source: Pacific Life.)
Offering since 1868, Pacific Life (Newport Beach, Calif.; over $8.6 billion in revenue) has been doing things right for a very long time. Today the company and its affiliates provide a wide variety of insurance products annuities and mutual funds and offer a variety of investment products to individuals, businesses and pension plans—the company does business with more than half of the 100 largest companies in the U.S. However, Pacific Life’s leadership understands that the ways of doing things right change, and applied that rationale to its Retirement Solutions division’s legacy customer communications capabilities.
For over two decades, the Retirement Solutions division had primarily been using mainframe-based solutions to produce customer communications in its administration of fixed and variable annuities and mutual funds for individuals. Pacific Life concluded that the mainframe environment, which was inflexible and fraught with manual process, was increasingly inadequate for meeting customer expectations with regard to speed, ease and communication channel.
“With our mainframe IT environment, we were putting in a lot of short-term fixes and workarounds to achieve the functionality our Service team was requesting,” comments Brian Pead, assistant VP, annuity applications, Pacific Life. “We wanted a state-of-the-art solution that would enable us to more effectively manage all of our documents and expand our capabilities, such as sending communications electronically over different communication channels.”
In late 2013, Pacific Life decided that keeping up with a changing marketplace required upgrading to a single-platform solution that had the potential to decrease inefficiencies, reduce risk, and speed communications. The company conducted a thorough RFP process and identified Quadient (Boston) as a contender for its Quadient Inspire customer communications management (CCM) solution.
In-Depth Proof of Concept
To win Pacific Life’s business, Quadient provided Pead’s team with an in-depth proof of concept to demonstrate and validate the features within Quadient Inspire’s Interactive Automation and designer component. The exercise convinced Pead of both the power of the solution and the collaborative quality of the vendor—who had sent several developers and consultants to support the proof of concept, which included the development of solutions within Pacific Life’s actual workflows and documents. Following the success of the proof of concept, Pacific Life identified Quadient Inspire as the best candidate and selected the solution in late 2014.
Having licensed Quadient Inspire, Pacific Life applied the solution to transform its On Demand Letter (ODL) business process. The procedure in place was for customer service representatives (CSRs) to manually generate letters from a Microsoft Word based tool. CSRs were also tasked with preparing the letter for mailing and archiving. The archiving itself, undertaken by Pacific Life’s document control center, was a further manual process along the workflow. The initiative ran from Nov. 2014 through April 2015, covering the first 20 templates.
“The way we were generating on-demand letters was inefficient and we recognized the need for more advanced systematic controls to ensure we were sending properly vetted documents,” says Pead. “Quadient Inspire has enabled us to automate the process so that our CSRs can do what they do best—provide industry leading support to our clients, eliminating the need for CSRs to be involved in handling the letters.”
Quadient Inspire allows a CSR to generate pre-formatted letters with pre-approved text options that are consistent in their look and content and to submit the letter for printing directly to the mail room, with automated archiving, according to Pead. “The mail room manages the printing and mailing, and has removed the burden from our CSRs entirely,” he adds. “We currently process a few hundred on-demand letters per day and are saving five minutes per transaction, which translates into approximately 16 man-hours saved every day.”
The Quadient solution has also enabled Pacific Life to reduce the number of document templates it uses by two-thirds, while providing greater functionality within the remaining templates to generate different types of output.
Customer Choice of Channel
“Historically we have served a demographic that preferred receiving paper documents,” observes Randi Gordon, director, customer communications management, Pacific Life. “Going forward, our clients will expect to receive correspondence and access to their account information over a variety of communication channels. Quadient Inspire’s robust capabilities and the company’s excellent professional services and support teams are making that transition extremely smooth for us.”
Having tackled on-demand letter workflow, Pacific Life now plans to use Quadient Inspire to generate transaction confirmations and offer e-delivery capability for the thousands of transaction confirmations it sends out daily. Pacific Life also plans to ultimately generate all account statements from Quadient Inspire. The correspondence will be redesigned with an updated look and feel, with an emphasis on consistency between document types as well as offering expanded e-delivery options. The ongoing project will require integration between multiple back-end systems.
“With Quadient Inspire, we have leading edge capabilities in terms of how we present customer data and deliver content to our customers,” Gordon adds. “Moving some of the large volume to e-delivery and with a focus on generating print ready output to reduce print vendor programming, will also significantly reduce our costs.”
While modernizing customer communications remains a work in progress at Pacific Life, through implementing Quadient Inspire, the company has already transformed its capacity for change, and has revolutionized the user experience for its employees, Gordon suggests.
“The automated, template-based workflow and approval process for our correspondence has dramatically improved our brand consistency and significantly improved the efficiency of our Service team support,” said Gordon. “And we recently asked our internal users about their experience so far with Quadient Inspire and we were very excited by the positive responses. They can hardly believe how much easier it is for them to process their daily correspondence and how much more they can accomplish.”
“Quadient has been a real game changer for us,” Gordon affirms.