When most people think of administration, they imagine a lot of data-heavy, boring work done in the back office. Or endless hanging on the line in a call centre queue. That is so last century. Administrative work today – particularly in the beneficiary fund and umbrella trust industry – puts personal relationships at the core. There is still a lot of data but the way in which it is handled makes all the difference between mediocrity and excellence.
In essence, it is the culture of an organisation that will determine how clients and their information are treated. Here are four principles to bear in mind.
To be truly respectful, you need to understand the clent’s own culture. Ideally a contact centre should provide a service in all 11 official languages, plus any others which are common amongst clients. For inbound calls, it should be standard practice to connect recognised phone numbers with the right contact centre agent automatically, someone who can address the client with the correct salutation and title, in the client’s preferred language, and who will actively listen to the issue at hand.
Provide a holistic solution
A good administrative agent will intuit what a member needs and make sure that a phone call or meeting is not ended before the member has been comprehensively helped. This may mean proactively prompting further discussion. For example, if a member wants to know when they are getting their lump-sum payment this could be a trigger to move beyond a pure money discussion and check with them that they have applied for an ID, that they have their own bank account and that they have also started to think about career choices. Open up a broader conversation to help the member at their particular life-stage.
Empower the client
“Solve for the present and empower for the future”. There is no doubt that a happy cllent is a self-sufficient client. The aim of a good administrator in a service industry should always be to reduce dependancy. In the beneficiary fund industry, if a guardian in a rural area needs to make a request for funds for a school uniform, explain in detail how to get a quote from the shop, how to fax it and take the process further. The guardian will know that you have taken the care and time to make sure they understand and should feel capable for the next time. They may also feel empowered in their ability to explain the process to other guardians.
Compliance and safety
One can do all the above but if the client does not feel safe and if their data is not fully protected, it will put both the client and the business at risk. That is why compliance with procedures and legislation is so important. Security checks and quality checks should be an integral part of procedures and ideally there should be an internal audit function in addition to the external audit.
In conclusion, the culture of an organisation is directly linked to strong administration. Think about it.