AvMed has been providing health care coverage to Florida citizens and businesses for over 40 years. AvMed offers health coverage options to large and small employers in most major markets around the state, including Medicare Advantage products in Broward and Miami-Dade counties and Individual coverage in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. AvMed began life as an HMO, with just three or four different product line choices. The work of the call center agents in those days was straightforward and uncomplicated: a home grown system provided access to the reference information needed to handle customer calls.
But then the business got complicated.
“All of the SupportPoint benefits go directly to cost savings and to competitive advantage. We can do more with less and our customers are receiving superior service.”
Quality Assurance Manager, AvMed
- Increase in plan modifications resulted in poor service
- Home grown system unable to support growth
- Unable to provide quality training of agents
- Increased employee performance enabled by easy to follow business process guidance
- Shorter time to competency via powerful self-serve approach to learning
- Reduced errors and risk with realtime updates to process
- Higher staff engagement with key source of frustration eliminated
- Improved productivity from streamlined process management and publishing platform
AvMed moved into a range of new plans, including High-Deductible, Health Savings Account, Government, Self-funded and Consumer, each of which dictated their own terms or mandated member choice. This was a far cry from the early days. The impact to the call center? Now they had to support an exponential number of plans with their own rules, riders, deductions and exceptions, using the same system designed to serve the simpler needs of the original HMO.
Peggy Kidd, Quality Assurance Manager for Member Services, spoke to the situation. “We had to add and modify our plans to meet employer, government, member and industry needs but our system couldn’t handle all of that variation. Agents couldn’t find answers quickly, our talk times escalated, information update was difficult and slow, and accuracy was falling. We couldn’t keep up with the rate of growth and change. Providing very high levels of customer service has always been a critical component of AvMed’s mission and vision, so the situation was unacceptable.
AvMed needed a solution that would deliver accurate reference information to agents very quickly, provide a link to the 12-15 different systems required to handle calls, be fast and easy to update, and assure flexibility for a future in which more change is guaranteed. One of AvMed’s call center executives met Panviva at a conference on Providing Superior Customer Service and was introduced to SupportPoint.
“SupportPoint was perfect for the needs of our Member Service Department,” said Kidd. “Our internal review committee saw how critical the situation was and approved the purchase. Panviva’s team came in immediately to help us organize our call processes and teach us to develop the content for the system. We have been so pleased with the service and support we’ve received from the company. They left us fully trained so we can maintain and add new content to the system on our own. They also gave me home phone numbers and emails in case we have a problem or question. I’ve never known another company to continue providing that level of personal assistance two years later!”
“Once SupportPoint was up and running, we would ask ourselves ‘what did we do before we had this?’ I have said so many times that we just could not run our call center without SupportPoint.”
Kidd spoke to specific improvements. “Our talk time on the phones is one of our most important indicators and we know it has decreased tremendously. Training time has been cut by at about 40 percent. It used to take 6 weeks of training before we could get people on the phones, but now we get them on in just a bit more than half that time. Our service recovery payouts for quoting wrong benefits have also declined tremendously. Errors still get made occasionally, but now they are human errors – not caused by the inability to provide good resources.”
“Our staff morale is terrific. They love having quick access, control, the right information for their customers, and a voice! The feedback mechanism in the system that lets them offer suggestions keeps them engaged and makes them feel like a part of the process. They think it’s phenomenal. My trainers love it; the time it used to take them to keep the system updated has dropped by 70 percent. It’s nothing to go into SupportPoint to do an agent update and roll it out. In the old days it took forever to rewrite the document, get it into the system, set up face-to face- education and take everyone off the phones for training. Now it’s a completely different process– very fast and easy…Kidd pointed to their rising customer satisfaction scores. “With SupportPoint in place and our great agents, we went from a 4 Star to a 5 Star Medicare rating in Customer Service. Our commercial customer service scores also went up a full 5 points for “getting the information you need.”
“All of these benefits affect our cost savings,” said Kidd. “ Now we are able to provide accurate information so our service recovery cost is reduced; our staff retention is higher because people aren’t leaving out of frustration; we can take people’s time that was spent on training and have them do something else; and our staff take more calls in less time. All of these benefits are going to our bottom line.”