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Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Portugal Digitally Transforms Complaints Management

1.5 FTE developers
6 weeks delivery
66% FTE saving
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Mercedes-Benz customers demand the best. So, when things don’t go according to plan, it’s crucial to resolve issues quickly and without hassle. When the pandemic crisis added more workload to Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Portugal’s operations team, it needed to raise its game. The answer was a “no brainer.” Working with OutSystems partner ForTrevo, the company extended its OutSystems-powered customer portal with an integrated complaints management system, delivered in four weeks.

  • App Modernization
  • Business Process Management
  • Case Management
  • Customer Experience
  • Operational Efficiency
  • Web Apps & Portals
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“Delivering a new complaints management system on OutSystems was a no-brainer given our situation. Delivery was much faster, especially as we could reuse the integration middleware from our OutSystems-powered customer portal.”

Renato Silva CIO, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Portugal
Challenge

Email-centric Complaints Management—A Recipe for More Complaints

The operations department is the “engine room” of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Portugal, as it’s the primary touchpoint throughout the customer lifecycle. Whether that’s onboarding customers, handling finance or insurance options, or resolving incidents or complaints, the 20 colleagues in operations are custodians of the customer experience.

In 2011, when Renato Silva joined Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Portugal as IT manager, he inherited a monolithic customer and contract management system (“CMS”), which was hard to change. Waterfall implementation methods added risk and delay to improvements.

To improve the customer experience, the company needed a customer self-service portal to unify communications and provide a 360-degree view of customer interactions. Based on his previous experience before joining Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, Renato knew that OutSystems would perfectly suit this portal project.

“I was confident that OutSystems would improve our agility by making development faster and easier. Moreover, there are ample OutSystems partners and consultants we can call on.”

Renato Silva CIO, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Portugal

Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Portugal became an OutSystems customer in 2012 and delivered the first version of its customer portal in three months.

“We were ahead of our time,” says Renato. “The capabilities we provided were superior to any other car manufacturer’s financial services operation, and thanks to regular enhancements, the portal is still going strong ten years later.”

However, with a limited budget to extend the portal, the related area of complaints management remained out of scope for several years. Teresa Santos, operations director, takes up the story.

“As a financial services and insurance provider, certain complaints can quickly escalate if not responded to within strict deadlines. If the Bank of Portugal or the Portuguese insurance regulator becomes involved, the administrative effort and cost to resolve complaints climb steeply. So our old process, which relied on manual emails, a shared inbox, and a fragile spreadsheet, was a significant risk."

Teresa Santos Operations Director, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Portugal

The pandemic crisis added considerable workload to the operations team, with economic strain fueling more complaints and increasing the risk of process and compliance failure.

The complexity of Mercedes-Benz’s complaints handling process placed a considerable training burden on the operations team. That and slow processing meant three operations team members worked full-time just managing complaints.

In late 2020, the operations team decided to overhaul the complaints management process with a digital solution integrated into its customer portal.

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Why Mercedes-Benz chose OutSystems:
  • Speed-up development and improve agility
  • Deliver public-facing web apps and portals
  • Modernize legacy systems
Solution

Reuse and Low-code Mean Faster Delivery

Over the previous three years, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Portugal had used OutSystems Delivery Partner ForTrevo to enhance and extend the customer portal. “ForTrevo understands our business and is much easier to work with than other IT suppliers we’ve used before,” says Teresa. “Nowadays, they know us so well that they often anticipate things we need before we’ve thought of them.”

With such a successful working relationship, ForTrevo was the natural partner to deliver the complaints management solution.

“Building the complaints management solution on OutSystems was the obvious way forward. We needed to integrate customer and contract data into the new application. And as we’d used OutSystems to build the middleware that connected the portal with our CMS, we could reuse all that development when building the complaints management system."

Renato Silva CIO, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Portugal

Once the operations team and a solution architect from the IT team had scoped-out requirements, ForTrevo assigned one junior developer to build out the solution. A tech lead also assisted in the final stages of the project.

The complaints management solution was delivered in six weeks, including development, UAT, and deployment. “This was a big-bang deployment,” explains Joana Mourão, Tech Lead at ForTrevo. “The whole solution was released in the first deployment, with only minor enhancements needed since.”

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Partner

Fortrevo

ForTrevo's team designs and develops innovative web & mobile applications, using OutSystems platform. Our team of Certified OutSystems Developers is strongly skilled and committed to deliver...

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Results

Measurable Efficiency and CX Improvements

The complaints management solution went live in April 2021, with immediate benefits for customers, operations staff, and management.

Complaints are now fully managed in a built-for-purpose case management portal, which has replaced the shared inbox, tracker spreadsheet, and incident management system.

Now, the portal tracks all communication, and manually composed emails are a thing of the past. Case stages make the end-to-end process entirely measurable, with enforceable SLAs and alerts which cater for different complaint categories. This has eliminated the risk of regulatory concerns arising from human errors, missed emails, or spreadsheet glitches.

Managers benefit from detailed performance metrics presented in the portal’s dashboard. These include complaint cases at each process stage, SLA monitoring, average resolution time, and much more.

“Our new complaints portal drives like an AMG supercar. It’s fast and provides a brilliant user experience. It makes my job much easier, which leads to a better experience for our customers."

Susana Santos Contract Management Specialist, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Portugal

The improved ease of use has positively impacted operations, as Teresa explains. “Now everything is in one place, and the UI is consistent with the customer portal, it’s much easier to train staff to manage complaints. So staff rostering is much more flexible.”

Integration with the CMS and customer portal deliver numerous other benefits:

  • Contact center staff can easily see if a customer they are dealing with via the contact system has an open or recent complaint.
  • If a complaint handler needs to consult a manager, lawyer, or dealer to resolve a complaint, everything can be done through the portal, eliminating the previous toil of compiling and forwarding information.

Measurable performance improvements include:

  • A 66% FTE saving. Instead of three FTEs, now just one member of the operations team handles all complaints, with occasional support from other team members.
  • A 70% SLA improvement. Before the new complaints management system went live, the team resolved just 44 percent of complaints within SLA time limits. This has now risen to 75 percent, a 70 percent performance improvement.
  • Complaint resolution time halved. The operations team has halved the average time required to resolve complaints that involve third parties, such as suppliers, lawyers, or dealers.

Moreover, the complaints management system supports Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Portugal’s continuous improvement program. Now that the operations team has complete visibility of each complaint’s lifecycle, they can see where delays have occurred and raise process improvement proposals whenever needed.

The complaints process closes with a customer survey, so customer feedback enriches Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Portugal’s continuous improvement program.

Describing the difference that OutSystems makes to his team, Renato says, “OutSystems helps us work in a more agile way. For example, the built-in feedback facility used in our development and UAT environments shortens the feedback loop, so we can quickly make last-minute adjustments.”

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Teresa agrees, “UAT is much easier and faster on OutSystems. I used the feedback feature a great deal when refining the dashboard UI, and ForTrevo’s developers implemented changes on the fly.”