Blue Cross Team Improving Customer Service Experience for Members
If you’ve ever had a bad experience calling a customer service number, you’ll appreciate the goals of an ad hoc team operating at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Pulled from different areas of the organization, they’re on a mission to ensure that every customer service experience defies expectations every step of the way.
Known as the Service Avengers, the group is composed of people with vastly different skillsets. They’re encouraged to question everything about existing customer service processes, find improvement areas and make changes that deliver a better overall experience for customers.
Led by Julie Weber, manager, Service Analytics & Insights and Dennis Proctor, director, Workforce Optimization, the initial team was assembled about two years ago. Bringing together entry-level employees with managers, directors and every level in between from varied teams within the organization could have backfired but Weber and Proctor said the energy on the team, which rotates about 10-15 people in and out as needed, has led to amazing breakthroughs.
They credit a ‘no rules’ approach and an expectation that everyone has a unique perspective and value they bring to the table. The group routinely looks at how customer service calls are handled and identify issues that customer service representatives, members, and providers face. They ask a lot of questions and listen when CSRs bring questions to the table.
“Why do we do it this way?”
“Is there a better way?”
“We’ve had a lot of success with this approach,” Weber said. “If one customer service representative asks the question, there are likely others who have the same one.”
In less than two years, the team has celebrated many improvements they helped initiate:
- Improved the experience callers have in getting to the right place using an automated phone system, eliminating unnecessary transfers. “Getting the caller to the right place the first time is a core problem we’ve worked to address,” Proctor said.
- Created a better note-taking protocol so that repeat callers can more easily pick up where they left off with a different CSR.
- Optimized a tool used by CSRs to transfer callers, cutting down on misdirected calls and excessive hold time.
- Worked on several initiatives that improved communication, so CSRs were better able to access information they need to successfully help members.
Their work is always a work in progress, meaning delivering exceptional customer service is something that takes a continuous improvement approach. The work is never really done as there’s always room to be better. To some, that might seem disheartening, but to the Service Avengers team, a can-do attitude and a driving force to be best in class fuels more questions, more ideas and ultimately, better service.
In addition to making the customer service experience better for members and customers, solving frustrations makes for a better working experience for CSRs, who want to do their best work and make callers happy by successfully resolving their problem.
“The vast majority of these problems are pain points not only for the customers but for the CSRs servicing them,” Proctor explained.
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