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Monday, November 14, 2005

BC/BS and Concierge Service Delivery

I attended the New England HDI Meeting on November 9, 2005 to hear the presentation by Julianne Bride from Blue Cross/Blue Shield on the Concierge Service Delivery model they use.

I took some quick notes directly from the presentation and then wrapped the bullet points in sentence form for readability in some cases. Hopefully by reading this, you will get an appreciation for this kind of approach to service. It is a kind of one-to-one service on a grander scale than I have heard of previously. Their results are quite impressive. The customers clearly like this concierge service delivery model.

Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BC/BS) has a pilot group operating separate from their service center

They have a business technology group separate from the central IT organization. This business group is focused on their business, ensuring that the appropriate technology is being used and any upgrades, new services are carefully implemented.

To manage our customer experience, keep our promises, and create a service experience that delivers on our brand.

They refer to their group as a service center deliberately not referring to the group as a call center.

The service representatives are rewarded for specific business objectives.

Reduce repeat calls
Show genuine concern for the member
Create trust, confidence, and loyalty
Link to job and customer satisfaction

The Concierge Service Delivery model takes the approach to answer the question:
“If I were the member, how would I like to be treated?”

BC/BS identified three components for concierge service delivery:
“Take care of the details”

Generally the member calls fall into one of three categories:
Administrative reason
Benefit question
Claim question

“Take the member out of the loop” is the key value-add for the program. The service agent is empowered to either resolve the call on the first contact, or if it will take too long for them to resolve on their own, to hand it off to another group for research and follow up. This second group does have an individual that will stay with the issue until it is resolved and they keep the member apprised of status along the way. The origination service agent is freed up to return to the queue.

The service agents are measured for average handle time but only in the aggregate; i.e. monthly basis. It is more important for them to be in an acceptable range than to be hitting a particular number. BC/BS understands the nature of their business that a particular call tie can not handle all their member requests appropriately. They are also measured for quality with quality coaches monitoring their calls.

Hiring is important and they spend good time doing so. They structure a call scenario in the process of the interview. The interviewee is set up as a call agent for a cereal manufacturer. A mother calls in complaining that her child did not get the toy that was shown on the box cover. The agent is empowered to do whatever they feel is necessary to resolve the call. They test for the natural customer service nature of their candidates this way.

As part of the reward and recognition program they do “Praise bys”. A carefully coordinated drive by of the agents cube with senior executives in attendance: some applause and signs to minimize disruption in the service center, a brief presentation, including some refreshments.

They also schedule for shadow days with a real concierge from one of the major Boston hotels (the BC/BS office is located in Quincy).

The measure their customer satisfaction on a five point scale with two surveys, one transactional based approximately hundred a month and another mail based (send out 3,000 obtain usually a 1,000 response). The use a five point scale (1 low, 5 high) with the top two boxes are counted. They have been 90 or 91 percent top two box for the last five years while growing their member base from 1.6 M to 2.6 M. Quite impressive!

They are now getting into segmenting their market by health category instead of by member plan. Do folks with diabetes have needs that are different from those with a heart condition? Are there services unique to each patient condition? Can some service improvements and value add be delivered by the service center better to a segment by health rather than a segment by plan membership? These are some of the questions they are looking into as they try to evolve the Concierge Service Delivery to the next level.

Comments on "BC/BS and Concierge Service Delivery"


Anonymous Blue Cross of California said ... (12:24 AM) : 

Blue cross of California are a great health insurance provider. Health insurance is a major aspect to many and blue cross can help everyone get covered.


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