I wanted to understand what might be causing the payout delay in the current experience. I conducted user interviews with victim coordinators to map out their process, using a service blueprint to capture my findings. This helped visualize the process and align the team around key pain points.
Highlighting gaps between behavior and motivation
Empathy maps helped document our users' motivations and behaviors, and highlight any gaps. The coordinator's job was seeming more and more like a juggling act. They were motivated by the idea of providing 1x1 support to victims, but felt so bogged down by manual coordination that their job didn't feel rewarding anymore.
#1 Coordinator Burnout
Days were long and burnout was big. Coordinators didn’t know which appraisals were completed until late in the evening, and would stay up late responding to changes and reworking schedules and routes for the following day. The work was manual, and playing the “middle man” was taxing.
#2 Plans Change
Despite the hard-working coordinators, claimants were frequently late or forgot their appointment entirely. Occasionally the appraisers would be stuck for hours with nothing to do, and a long distance from home. The lack of organization and efficiency frustrated the appraisers.
The problems we identified inspired a hypothesis: If we could eliminate the need for coordinators as "middle men", then we could help appraisers stay productive and service claimants faster. From a team “Big Ideas” brainstorm, we came up with the idea to create a system that would automatically assign claimants to an appraiser based on their location.
My initial wireframes explored our hypothesis, drawing inspiration from similar experiences in ride-sharing applications. Automatically matching claimants to appraisers seemed like a way to lighten the load of the coordinator.
The appraisers liked the idea of an Uber-like approach to assigning appraisers to claimants, but the coordinators had some significant concerns around feasibility, like the risk of multiple appraisers matching with the same claimant.
As our users pointed out, automating the appraisal system based on location would not solve our key problem. In fact, the proposed solution could exacerbate the problem for those claimants that live far from the place where the appraisers happen to stay.
Maybe we were underestimating the autonomy of the appraiser. After the second set of user interviews, it seemed like the key to eliminating the need for a middle man was empowering appraisers to manage their own routes.
One of the most important aspects for an appraiser to manage their own route is being able to adapt when claimants forget their appointments, or cancel at the last minute.
Our client piloted the workflow with a one field team (~5-8 Field appraisers) who responded to tornado damages in the Midwest. Our client saw a measurable improvement in two key metrics that indicated value for the business and for the users.
Appraisers involved in the pilot said the new experience had improved the efficiency of their day. Coordinators said the freed up time allowed them to dedicate more time to helping victims, rather than playing the middle man.