The work at both Volvia and If is taking place at the phone in front of a computer. The companies are using the same underlying program, but they work with different applications that only share some information. If the customer have his car insured in Volvia, his property insurance from If will get a discount, and that sort of information is possible to see. After the acquisition Volvia has also started to sell property insurances, but once they are sold the contact goes through If, because Volvia does not have the authority to do the changes.
Apart from the companies own computer system they are connected to Vi?? gverkets Computer system, where information about all car registrations is obtained. When the telephone operators take a phone call the time and which operator is talking gets logged in the computer. Apart from this, Volvia operators keep hand notes regarding every call and a summary of what have been said. These notes are stored in archives and can be obtained by other operators that need more information about a certain customer.
Though to take part of information from other operators log files is very rarely happening in reality. If is not using the extended log files at all. When a new person is employed by either of the companies they first have to attend an education. These educations go on some hours per day for around three weeks. The education is almost exclusively regarding insurances, not the actual way of working. After the education a period of sitting by the side of an established operator awaits. Then the roles are switched and the newcomer takes the calls while getting monitored by the old-timer.
To get as much input as possible the person to sit by changes every day. In Volvia the by-sitting period usually lasts for about two weeks, while in If it is a little shorter. After this introduction the new operator knows the basics, but in both companies the employees agrees that the knowledge you obtain by doing the job adds more knowledge than the education. Every once and a while the operators are attending new education occasions. This could be to learn about new insurances and products offered by the company, or to learn a new application in the computer system.
In If all operators learn everything from the beginning and they all can do everything their department is supposed to do. In Volvia, who only have one department, the operators get more education along the time they work. This can result in an operator not being able to do certain procedures and thereby needs to patch the call to another operator. The know-how of people is not written down anywhere but is something the new operators learn after a while. Both companies are once a week holding a sales meeting where the operators talk about their ways of working.
The thought of these meetings is to share knowledge, but the operators see one problem with the knowledge sharing, because it could affect the bonuses. The bonus system for the shifts is based on individual performance. This means that if you help someone else the competition with your own performance increases. Neither of the companies have actively worked to increase and share the knowledge between the companies and in Ifs case between different departments. Even though If and Volvia are concerned with the same tasks, no workshops cross companies has yet been made.
Though in If a meeting between the telemarketers and the different shifts are planed for letting the operators learn some sales techniques from the TMs. All the operators are valuated after there performances. They get measured by how high the sales percent are and by the length of an average phone call. These evaluations help management to configure the work force in the right way. The measurements take into account that different insurances takes different times and that the operators do not have a strictly sales job. In the different shifts and departments a great sense of community evolves.
Because of the rather homogenous groups this relations are able to evolve. The companies also help to build the feeling by arranging trips, after-works, parties and team competitions for their employees. Some times a year larger parties with different departments takes place to help the employees to get a face on people the might come across in the computer system. Once a year a big party for the entire If are arranged, which means that Volvia and If employees get the chance to meet. In both companies it is very common that people in the same shifts also meets as friends outside of the work. Related article: “you don’t listen to me because you are always talking on the phone with her.”
Based on the context given above we are called in as knowledge managers to help the two companies telephone operator departments to get better. The main reason that our services are needed is the high workforce turn-over. The managements do not have the possibility to offer the students in the different shift a good enough offer to match a full time job and will thereby keep the high workforce turn-over. What they can do is being concerned about their way to manage knowledge and now they want an opinion about their position today, and what they can do to improve their knowledge management to better face the future.
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