A friend recently forwarded me a podcast from the radio show, This American Life, about one woman’s drawn out struggle to resolve an error on her phone bill, mistakenly caused by her phone company. Over the course of several frustrating phone calls her bill was finally resolved—after 10 months and negative national media exposure!
This story got me thinking about all the other consumers who have been in this woman’s shoes, and dealt with inadequate customer service. Poor service often isn’t really about customer service representatives who are apathetic toward their customers’ concerns. Instead, I think poor customer service can be attributed to representatives who are apathetic toward the actual company for whom they work.
At Bloom, we know that the more our frontline employees—those who are the first point of contact for our customers—are excited about our company and what we do, the better service they will provide.
Here are a couple of key principles we follow at Bloom Health as we strive to create the best customer service experience in health care:
1. Create a consistent experience across the organization
We don’t limit customer service to one department—we expect great customer service across the company. While we have a knowledgeable and dedicated service team on the phone, we also rely on folks from other areas to support our customer-centered approach. By making our web experience user-friendly and free of insurance jargon, we strive to make our customers as comfortable as possible. We view our web experience and our phone experience as manifestations of the same product. It is this collaborative approach across the company that makes our customer experience unique.
2. Customer service should not be measured in numbers alone
Traditional metrics like average talk time or number of calls answered do not capture other important interpersonal characteristics of customer service. This approach lacks connectivity across departments. Also, what customer wants to be regarded as a number? In an ever-increasing service-oriented industry, it is more important than ever that we innovate when it comes to measuring our customers’ experience.
3. Each interaction with a customer is your most valuable R&D opportunity
An incoming phone call for help logging in or a quick question about the plan options is worth a lot to us because it provides us data on what issues are members are having that we need to create solutions for. I’m always on the hunt for opportunities to better understand our members’ point of view and relay that back to the rest of Bloom so we could make the experience better next time.
We firmly believe that as we continue to bring new solutions to the health benefits industry, a new and better way of providing customer service will be critical to our success. At the end of the day, customer service is our product.
- Holly Hoheisel, Advisor Team LeadTweet