matchmaking With math:
How analytics Beats
Intuition to Win
In sales, the rapport between a prospective buyer and seller can
be the deciding factor. Using analytics, Assurant Solutions has
tripled its success. (A case-study interview.)
INTERVIEW BY MICHAEL S. HOPKINS AND LESLIE BROKAW
ASSURANT SOLUTIONS SELLS credit insurance and debt protection products. Maybe
you’ve bought a product like theirs. If you lose your job or have medical problems and are unable to
make a credit card payment, Assurant Solutions will help you cover it.
Like a lot of insurance products, payment protection is a discretionary add-on often made at the
point of purchase. But when customers get the bill and see the additional fee of, say, $10.95 per month
for payment protection, maybe they
think, “Well, I’ll take my chances”
and decide to cancel.
When those customers call, they
reach Assurant Solutions customer
service representatives, because the
company manages insurance activation, claims, underwriting
and customer retention (for many
industry-leading banks and lending institutions).
It’s in that last piece — that attempt to retain customers, beat the
churn and stem a high exit rate —
that Assurant Solutions faced a
now-universal management challenge. As a call center positioned as
the pivot point of all customer inter-
are brought to
bear on a call
beliefs about call
centers prove to
be wrong. For instance, customers
will wait longer
intuition when predicting outcomes.
can be reconciled
in real time by
By implementing analytics-driven matching of customers and service reps, Assurant
Solutions improved call center performance three fold.
WINTER 2011 MIT SLOAN MANAGEMENT REVIEW 35