2015 Top CSR WCC Improvement Finalist Stories
The Smile on the Other Side of the Line
“I put my heart into my job and I'm proud of where I work and what I do”
I began my journey with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas in January of 2014. I have always been really good at communicating and relating to people and I thought this could really be for me. Training went wonderfully and before we knew it we were out on the floor released to provide our members with excellent service.
Through the months after leaving training, I felt pretty good. Calls were going smoothly and life was great. Then I began getting errors here and there for different things. I began getting frustrated. My errors were never for the same things and it seemed like I was starting to drown. I was overthinking and over analyzing everything and beginning to lose myself and my purpose to provide excellent service to members. I began trying to fit anything and everything in to make sure I didn't make any more mistakes. The members I was trying to help were truly not getting the best experience because I was so concerned about not making a mistake that I was overwhelming them. The harder I tried the worse their customer experience was because my emotional strain had taken my smile and taken the heart I put into my calls away. I was then put on an improvement plan and shortly after an action plan. The stress was piling on and I was lost.
While on the action plan I will never forget the amount of stress and emotional strain I experienced. I remember having my things packed at my desk with the lingering knowledge that with one bad day and three errors a month my last day could be any day. There were countless days where I would just break down crying thinking that this job I had grown to love could come to an end at any minute. I remember endless conversations with my supervisor, Drew, telling me he knew I could do it and we would work through this struggle. He never doubted that I would come out of the drought and he had all the confidence I wouldn't just come out of it but that I would come out stronger and more knowledgeable!
With the help of my supervisor and fellow co-workers I began sorting through what I was doing wrong. I found I was trying to fit too much information in to cover all the ‘what ifs.’ I was setting myself up for failure. I began not taking my errors as a personal failure but as a learning experience to help me grow. I started listening more closely to what was actually being asked and making sure to clarify any assumptions I may have. I slowed way down, got down to the heart of the problem and focused more on making sure accurate and complete information was being given and that I was truly taking care of the member to their expectations.
Additionally, I began taking a look at my wording. I began leaving off the, "If I can't get this done I will call you back" and instead told members, "I will take care of this for you and I won't close my inquiry until I have it complete." I felt it was important to let them know I care and I am going to make them my priority. Of course if I had an issue and needed to call them back I would but I didn't need to plant the seed for them to think that I couldn't resolve their crisis.
My calls became more natural and my confidence began to build. I went from trying to fill in every ‘what if’ hole and began building a castle showing we can conquer anything! I make sure I can give the member peace of mind. I show them I am here and I let them know I will do all I can to resolve their issue so they know it is done right. I listen, COMPLETELY listen, to their verbal and non-verbal cues. I put myself in their shoes and show them I am here for them and I want to make sure they know they have me to help get their issue resolved.
I put my heart into my job and I'm proud of where I work and what I do. I am not inconvenienced by callers. I'm honored that they put their trust in us and know that we will take good care of them because we care. Although my answer may not be what they want to hear all the time, my goal is to let them know we will do all we can to make sure they know they're valued by us. My favorite part is being the smile on the other side of the line who they can trust! By taking pride in my job I take every call to provide the topline care they deserve and when they are asked, they have no doubt they received world class service because they know I am here for them!
Heather Wachs – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas
Redefining the Customer Service Experience
“He decided that this was not the direction he wanted”
It’s something we tend to overlook…in his years as a customer care specialist for ENMAX, he knew there was something that had started to decline with him. He was never an agent that needed to be told he wasn’t performing to expectations, just that he wasn’t exceeding them when it came to his SQM regarding World Class Calls and First Call Resolution. He didn’t believe there was anything wrong on his part as he was no rookie, having been with the organization for quite some time. However, over time, as we all do he found his scores declining which he attributed to an increasing sense of apathy. He decided that this was not the direction he wanted to continue going and immediately set out to change things for the better.
And change them he did. He reviewed the scores he had received over the last few months and decided to put forward a plan of action. He started to utilized his Team Lead more effectively and asked him to sit with him weekly to provide real time coaching. He reviewed the feedback from his side-by-side’s and monthly coaching sessions. He submitted online forms to have a Quality Assurance Specialist sit with him to evaluate his performance and requested to sit with consistently high achieving performers on the team to gain insight from them as how to better improve his results. Did implementing these actions work? Within a shorter timeframe than he expected, he saw his SQM results increase exponentially month over month, leading him to believe that golden rule, “Take care of the customer and the business will take care of itself”. He can honestly say that he is now a firm believer and the results speak for themselves.
He really shows ENMAX is "We’re on for you"
Rajesh Gill – ENMAX, Inc.
On a Mission to get Positive Results
“She had all of the tools and the will, she just needed a few more skills”
When we began our partnership with SQM, Gloria struggled. She lacked confidence in her conversations with members. She was in the habit of “talking through” a process with her caller on the line, listening. This resulted in lower Call Resolved and Member Satisfaction scores. Instead of owning an issue, Gloria was transparent in the steps it took: “I’ll have to call my lead,” “I need to check with membership on that,” which undermined the callers’ confidence in her.
Gloria wanted to deliver world class service. She had all of the tools and the will, she just needed a few more skills. Working together, Gloria and I created an Action Plan. We listened to calls, both together and separately. We focused on the caller’s perception. With an end goal in sight we determined the issue was confidence. We created a plan that included:
- Personal accountability to obtain resolution
- Instead of “they” she began using “I”
- Reducing transparency; instead of “I need to check with a lead” she changed her verbiage to “I need to do a little more research”
- Using open hold
- Instead of working through a problem verbally with the caller listening on the line, Gloria began using an open hold to research the issue and find a solution
Phrases such as, “I don’t have any idea what’s going on,” or, “I’ve never seen anything like this before,” disappeared. During the ‘open hold’ where the caller could speak and Gloria would hear, but Gloria couldn’t be heard by the caller, she was able to attain resolution without confusing or concerning the caller.
- When listening to calls separately, I asked for Gloria’s thoughts. Typically, she responded, “it was all okay”
- I honestly responded with suggestions or kudos
It took about three months of review and partnership. Gloria also listened to and partnered with other successful representatives for tips. At the end of the review, she was sustaining World Class Call percentage in excess of 80%.
Gloriz Fritz – Regence BlueCross BlueShield
Going the Extra Mile
“Never settle for anything less than world class”
Kirk had a sub-par customer service experience with his own medical provider. It was during this interaction that he made the decision he would do everything in his power to give each caller the best customer experience possible. He tailored his servicing skills to avoid any negative experiences he had encountered, such as: being placed on hold without being asked, speaking over others, having side conversations, and not resolving the reason for the call, resulting in an additional call.
From this moment on he paid close attention to the mood and pace of his caller. He matched their pace and he brought in a personal touch to each call. Whether it is, “How are you doing today Mr. Smith?” or he’s adding a bit of humor into the conversation.
He continued to work on his techniques, paying close attention to each caller and customizing the interaction. Being warm and caring has always been one of Kirk’s strongest attributes, but he now has become a champion of securing the emotional confidence of his callers. He provides them clear information that’s easy for them to understand and maintains a commitment to FCR. He goes that extra mile to ensure all of his callers’ needs are met by ensuring his callers are not leaving with something to do after the call ends. Due to his passion and commitment to our valued callers, Kirk has improved 14% this year on his world class calls, ending 2015 at 95%.
Kirk Chase – VSP Vision Care
Breaking Down Barriers
“Great people do not dwell on the past, instead they focus on what they can change to improve themselves”
Irene, being a tenured employee of 16 years, was disappointed to know she was not world class certified for 2014. This was not a position she was used to being in and it was difficult to accept that for once, she was not world class certified. However, great people do not dwell on the past, instead they focus on what they can change to improve themselves. This was Irene’s mentality in 2015 as she went back to the basics of building rapport, extending herself to the customer, and positively positioning the plan to the customer.
Throughout 2015, Irene took part in various training classes that focused on how to increase her VOC and worked with her supervisor on how to better position herself throughout the call. By focusing on positive positioning, Irene switched the customer’s focus from the problem to how she could help resolve the customer’s issue. When asked what her biggest reason for improving was, she replied, “It was my change of mind set. I went back to being myself and really started to enjoy my calls more and I believe it was apparent to my customers.”
It was clear how much Irene was positively impacting our customers when I received a personalized letter from a customer who encountered an issue with their plan eligibility, the letter read, “I was still physically weak from illness and chasing from my company’s HR department to my husband’s ophthalmologist to my VSP plan, which left me in tears. It was then that I called VSP (for the second or third time) and got connected with Irene Dent. She was so very kind to me. She understood that I was physically worn out. She went into the files, verified whatever it was that she needed to verify, and called my husband’s eye doctor to give them a temporary guarantee of insurance. For people outside the insurance industry, coverage often looks like a big blank (yet bewildering) wall. I’m extremely grateful that people like Irene exist to help people in tears like me.”
It was a wonderful feeling when I could inform Irene that she was once again world class certified and that all of her hard work in 2015 paid off.
Irene Dent – VSP Vision Care