Health Alliance Medical Plans is an Illinois-based insurer serving 270,000 members. The company recently expanded to two new states and won two new Medicaid contracts, driving new contracts in both the commercial and individual sectors of the business. The company has two contact centers with a total of 100 customer service representatives.
“With SupportPoint, our customer service representatives don’t waste time hunting for information in multiple applications or guessing at answers.”
Director of Customer Service and Audit, Health Alliance
- Implementation of new plans were causing an information overload
- Need to harness data
- Deliver the level of customer care that members had depended on
- Increased the level of representative’s confidence
- Enabled management to project for senior staff the impact on the organization
- Surpassed initial ROI calculations
In late 2012, Health Alliance saw a coming storm. The upcoming expansion to new states, entrance into the highly-regulated Medicaid market, and the implementation of new plans compliant with the Affordable Care Act were causing an information deluge.
Health Alliance’s Director of Customer Service and Audit, Angela Beitelman, had talked to existing Panviva clients and was convinced that SupportPoint was the tool she needed to harness the data, support her customer service representatives and continue to deliver the level of customer care that Health Alliance members had long depended on.
SupportPoint cloud-based software provides knowledge workers with instant access to the exact information needed, workflow navigation, applications, and communication all in one place, through a simple interface.
“SupportPoint is able to provide that step-by-step guide to our employees about how to use each application,” Beitelman said. “The cloud-based software tells agents what application they should use based on the customer interaction. With SupportPoint, our customer service representatives don’t waste time hunting for information in multiple applications or guessing at answers.
Beitelman’s plan was to get SupportPoint up and running before her contact center faced the brunt of upcoming expansion and health reform stresses. But as she began SupportPoint implementation in January 2013, the storm hit. “If that performance were to have continued we would risk penalties for contract violations with some of our clients, we would risk loss of sales, and potentially risk not being awarded new contracts,” Beitelman said. She had to make a quick choice – continue with the SupportPoint implementation, or abandon it to deal with the immediate crisis.
Beitelman chose the former, and she’s glad she did.
Beitelman decided not to refill five full-time and two part-time positions after some of her best staff were promoted. Going into 2015, Beitelman will again need to hire to accommodate members signing up for the new Medicaid programs. But she said she will be able to add staff at a slower rate.
Could Health Alliance have regained its top-notch customer service metrics without SupportPoint? “Maybe,” Beitelman said, “but it would have taken longer, and it would have required hiring additional staff.”
Initially, customer service representatives were skeptical about needing to learn another new application. But soon Beitelman began receiving emails from customer service representatives that read, “I get it, I understand why you bought SupportPoint. This is one of the best tools you’ve ever purchased for us.”
Beitelman’s team felt more supported and turnover dropped. She saw customer service representatives’ mastery spike, and with it, customers’ trust in Health Alliance.
“SupportPoint has increased the level of confidence that representatives have when they give an answer,” Beitelman said. “So the health plan member feels, ‘yes I got the answer, the representative knew what they were talking about, I don’t feel the need to call back and see if I get a different answer’.” If the member does call back, the SupportPoint roadmap ensures they will get the same answer.
Beitelman says advantages to working with Panviva are the business consulting approach and demonstrable health insurance industry experience they bring.
“The Panviva team helped me to develop an ROI calculator based on previous implementations with payer organizations as well as metrics specific to Health Alliance. This enabled me to project for senior staff how we would be able to impact the organization over a one to three year period, by implementing SupportPoint. So far I am finding that we have surpassed our initial ROI calculations.”
In addition to cost savings associated with fewer new hires, Health Alliance ranked first in the J.D. Power 2014 Member Health Plan StudySM among regional competitors and also attained a National Committee for Quality Assurance “Excellent” Accreditation.
Beitelman was just as satisfied when she put her c ontact center to her own tough challenge – pleasing her parents.
“Your parents are going to be honest with you about your company,” Beitelman said. “So I had them call in, posing as members. They were treated with courtesy and professionalism and they felt they got information they could rely on.”
Beitelman now has an ambitious plan to expand the use of SupportPoint beyond the contact center, to divisions throughout the company including claims and marketing.