Project Title: Increase Order Status IVR Resolution Rate


Project sponsor: Kemper

Project Green Belt: Jeanette

Jeanette was tasked to look at a low resolution rate for a particular type of call – a customer calling the automated order line to check on the status of their order. Approximately 46,000 customer calls passed through the order status IVR, but only 9 of them had resolved successfully – an abysmal resolution rate of .02%.

Measure and Analysis

Jeanette discovered that 98.7% of all defects occurred at three points where customers entered numbers into the system – the phone number, the zip code, and the order number. The IVR had been malfunctioning but it was not easy to see.

Improve and Control

Once the specific reasons for these failures were identified, several improvements were made to the IVR, including more detailed scripting to assist the customer, reducing the system’s manipulation of the order number, and adding the actual ship date to the customer message.

This resulted in resolving 5,000 contacts annually. Now, Contact Design is contacted whenever the defect rate goes above 90% so the process can be re-examined.

Customers don’t have to wait as long for their order status, and employees receive fewer calls. So far a savings of $28,000 per year has been achieved, with the possibility of more savings as the IVR is made more robust.


A Six Sigma Green Belt worked with the call center manager and her sponsor to drill down to root causes of a problem that was causing significant employee dissatisfaction and costing the company wasted money. By developing a change plan that addressed the causes she was able to quickly reduce the magnitude of the problem and improve scheduling efficiency. The result was a “double whammy” of greatly improved productivity and lower costs. The control system she put in place with the process owner assured that the results would be maintained long-term.

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