Are Dispatch Teams Feeling the Pain?
While most of the claims management process has innovated towards automation, many dispatch teams are still suffering from the challenges of a manual, end-of-day dispatching workflow. It is time consuming and not flexible enough to handle exceptions or priority assignments as they are raised through the claims processing system. Does this sound familiar?
The perils of manual data entry (and re-entry)
Once an assignment is created, dispatchers are confronted with the task of manually entering the assignment data in some other tracking tool, usually an Excel spreadsheet with over-complicated mapping tables. Dispatchers are expected to re-type the assignment information into these sheets and track appraiser productivity in terms of what estimates, supplements, and reinspections they have been assigned to ensure quotas are met. All of this needs to also be considered alongside the company’s timesheet to identify appraisers who may not be available or are on holidays. And once an appraiser is assigned, dispatchers are then going to a third party mapping service to manually map out the route. In all, it’s a task that takes upwards of an hour per appraiser per day, and if something changes, the process of updating the information requires them to go through the same workflow–again. Not only is this extremely time-consuming and labour-intensive; it is also prone to error and doesn’t leave much time to focus on more important tasks such as exception handling.
Efficiency that depends on “Tribal Knowledge”
With a dispatcher to appraiser ratio of 1:10 or sometimes even lower, a team of dispatchers is often working with a group of more than 50 automobile and heavy truck appraisers and is required to plan routes for each of them based on their skillset, proximity to the assignment, and special rules. Often, there isn’t an integrated database that easily provides this information to the dispatchers. This means a dispatch team is efficient only if they are highly experienced and have “tribal knowledge” of the team of appraisers. A personal understanding of who’s good for where is required to efficiently plan a route, and this dependence on unwritten information that only the most experienced dispatchers would know puts the dispatching workflow at risk, especially when team members are away or if the team changes.
It’s hard to be flexible
With many dispatch workflows using a cut-off approach to scheduling next-day assignments, it becomes even more difficult to manually change assignments or readjust schedules based on higher priority assignments that come up later in the day. Higher priority assignments will always take precedence, yet since assignments can come at any time, late-day assignments that are not high priority end up having longer wait times. Ultimately, best inspection dates and policyholder preferred timeslots cannot be respected. This inflexibility adds up, translating into longer cycle times and sub-par customer service.
A challenge to track and measure
Once assignments are dispatched, dispatchers are tasked with keeping track of productivity, quotas, and daily assignment limits. If assignments were assigned manually, then the measuring of productivity will undoubtedly also require more manual work. This often results in dispatchers being glued to their inbox awaiting emails and phone calls from appraisers in order to update their tracking spreadsheet to plot their progress. Relying on this physical way of tracking and measuring performance is a challenge, and the quality of data would improve management visibility by a small margin, at best. And with everything being mobile these days, there should be no reason why the dispatch process isn’t leveraging mobile devices to enhance communication with appraisers and improving the ability to track performance in real-time.
STOP relying on a patchwork of systems for dispatching
Is it time to stop relying on a patchwork of systems in the dispatching process?
Planning on spreadsheets, memorizing appraiser skillsets and rules, lengthy rework, third-party apps for mapping routes, and tracking on separate files. These fragmented processes are all time consuming, expensive, and error prone, making it difficult to schedule priority appraisals and deliver appointment times preferred by customers. Why would a company choose not to automate this process and integrate it with their existing claims processing system?
We know that throughout the years, many insurers have been confronting this problem internally, building in-house programs that help ease the pain. Yet at Audatex, our business is to understand the industry’s challenges and find innovative ways to help insurers overcome them. Our dispatching solution that will help ease every dispatch team’s pain. Power Dispatch is completely integrated with Audatex Estimating, and will intelligently optimize appraiser schedules based on assignment location, skillset match, staff availability, and other business objectives defined by the insurer, while providing an easy way to receive feedback in real-time and track assignments and quotas.
Interested? See our Power Dispatch product brochure and call 1-844-AUDATEX to book a demo.
Zack Ibrahim has several years of product management experience in F100 companies. Away from the office, Zack is an avid soccer and volleyball player.