Suncorp has proposed to change its hours of operations within Motor Claims – Customer Engagement.
This proposal will involve Suncorp outsourcing weekend lodgment to a company called WNS from 24 June.
Most specialists who current work on the weekend will move to a Monday – Friday roster, though some Shannons and Niche products will still be serviced on Saturdays with reduced hours.
The FSU has submitted extensive feedback and questions to Suncorp, which you can review below.
Feedback and Questions
Service to customers
Members have reported that there is significant customer concern with offshoring. There is an expectation from customers that when they get in touch, they are speaking to a local, Australian contact centre.
Customers have expressed that they prefer to deal with an Australian contact centre as they find the process easier speaking to someone with local knowledge. They have also expressed that they find it easier to communicate with onshore contact centres.
There is consistent feedback from customers that they are paying for a premium product and service, which includes onshore support. If support is offshored, then they would move to a different insurer.
There has been discussion that customers can request to speak to an onshore person, which is a supervisor. There are simply not enough supervisors and these vacancies cannot be filled.
Weekends are when some of the more complex assistance needs to be provided to customers. Fatalities are more likely to occur on weekends, and customers tend to be in more difficult situation (on holidays, in remote areas, need more assistance to have their vehicle dealt with and return home). This is the precise time that expert and experienced staff need to be available. The current team are able to deal with the full range of issues without the need for escalation.
There is going to be a significant time needed to train up the offshore team, and there is simply no time to do this. There is also a concern that the lack of training of the offshore team will create a significant bottleneck.
There has been a concerted effort to shift customers away from the contact centre and complete online claims, including through performance managing staff who do not push people onto online channels. This means that the statistics that Suncorp is relying on are not an accurate reflection of customer behaviour or needs.
Impact on staff
These proposed changes will have a substantial negative impact on staff. Many staff who currently work weekends have been working these shifts for many years and have come to rely on their current rate of pay.
If their shifts move to weekdays only, they will lose their weekend loading which will substantially reduce their income. For some people, the reduction will be over $23,000 each year.
For most people, their pay will reduce by around 25%.
For many staff, this reduction means that they will not be able to afford basics like housing, food and medical care. Many staff members will need to resign from their role with Suncorp. Others have said that they will need to look for alternate housing, sell assets like cars, and seek assistance from charities with their food and housing needs.
This proposal will see pay reduce significantly with very little notice, leaving people with no time to make arrangements for their dramatically reduced pay.
It is essential that staff are able to maintain their existing rate of pay, especially when we are experiencing a cost of living crisis.
Caring and other responsibilities
Many staff work on weekends as it allows them to have family and friends assist with their caring responsibilities. By forcing staff to work on weekdays, staff will no longer have access to assistance with their caring responsibilities. For people with young children, this means that they will need to seek childcare which has very limited availability, and also comes with a substantial cost.
There are also a number of staff who work weekends in order to assist friends and family with their caring responsibilities during the week. They will no longer be able to assist with those caring responsibilities if they are required to work during the week and not on weekends.
Staff have also raised concerns where they have elder care responsibilities and can only get assistance with this on weekends (as friends and family are not working at that time). If they were forced to work on weekdays, then they would need to seek respite or other care which is expensive and difficult to source.
There are also concerns from people who have custody arrangements for children which reflect current working days. It will be difficult, expensive and time consuming to have these arrangements changed.
Many impacted staff are studying and weekend work allows them to attend to study during the week. If these people are not allowed to work on weekends and are required to work on weekdays, they will need to choose between studying or their employment.
There are a number of staff who are transitioning to retirement. Working weekends allows them to work fewer hours in total but maintain their income. This proposal will not allow them to continue to transition to retirement in this way.
- How is Suncorp planning to ensure data security and privacy with offshored teams, especially in times where more and more breaches have occurred. i.e. Medibank, Latitude, Optus, etc?
- How does Suncorp plan to overcome customer concerns and ensure customer trust as lodgement staff have a target of 70% of the time we get excess paid on lodgement.
- How does Suncorp plan on managing, training with updates, performance, stats and keep dedication to our brands?
- How does Suncorp plan on handling events on weekends i.e. flood which are most likely non drive, hail (glass needs), bush fire etc.
- How does Suncorp plan to overcome brand disapproval or drop in reputation by customers when they realize 2/7 days they cannot speak to onshore, only offshore?
- As Telstra failed to succeed with offshore and pulled back onto on shore in 2022 and now market as “your community staff”, how does Suncorp group plan to succeed where a market leader with the best coverage in Australia failed with years of experience?
- How does Suncorp plan on delivering customer expectations and positive reviews? Due to online claims, AI programs and webchat, expectations by customers on the phone where humans are required will be more unique, complex and sensitive, how will this be managed?
- How will Suncorp address the significant drop in income for people whose shifts change as a result of these proposed changes?
- What is the median and mean income reduction as a result of these changes?
- What flexibility is there on the timeframes for implementations of this proposal?
- How will Suncorp ensure that people are able to meet their caring and study responsibilities when shifts change?
- What options are available for people who are not able to move their shifts from weekends to weekdays?