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Improve Customer and Employee Experience - One Individual at a Time
“BCBSVT saw improvement in literally every metric.“
In the world of health care, 2014 was a year of change and trepidation. With a mandated overhaul in the way consumers purchase insurance through state and federal exchanges, there was certainly a lot of unknown territory to venture. For a call center at a health insurance company, the representatives would need extra support, additional tools and confident, bold leadership to keep their eyes on what was important and see customers through to a resolution. Janalee Willett is a supervisor that provided just those things when they were needed most, and she exceeded beyond necessity and expectation. With the implementation of Vermont’s health insurance exchange, came a host of unforeseen and sometimes incomprehensible problems. Not only was the start riddled with errors and glitches in initial enrollment of customers onto health plans, but our customers experienced frustrations due to their system limitations that were unable to make major or even minor changes to a person’s plan and each could take weeks or even months to update. Our customers, many of whom were rightly irate at the aggravations they experienced, turned to our call center for help. Due to our company’s culture for putting member experience first, we had been able to create strategies and backup plans to help see our members through this painful transition. But strategies and backup plans could only get us so far. We needed a team to execute those plans in a professional and empathetic manner. We needed to give that team the tools to succeed and the training bring members to resolution. Janalee Willett was a shining star of giving our representatives what they needed and being a champion for resolving every issue. Janalee took the lead on being a liaison between BCBSVT and the Exchange during all of the troubles that we faced. She was able to provide us with training and keep us up to date with changes that we were facing while this new system of individuals buying insurance off of the health care exchange took place. She was able to create troubleshooting procedures to help us navigate through tough situations; especially when you are talking about health care and money, two very important factors to consumers, there are often escalated conversations that we were able to navigate often due to the guidance she provided. She took many calls from upset members whose policies had been terminated or we had not received enrollment information. In many cases these members were being asked to pay high dollars for prescriptions or were being denied for medical care, but she handled every call with care and professionalism. In preparation for the tumultuous transition to the state exchange and a drive for continual improvement, our call center also partnered with a training company to bring consistency and polish to our reps’ call flow. Janalee became our master coach and ensured the facilitation of the department-wide training for both our CSR’s and coaches. She collaborated with the rest of the management team to add the new strategies to our quality assurance standards; this solidified the partnership as a permanent change to our call center’s culture to promote timely feedback and consistent performance. Her role as master coach has not ended as she continues to provide coaching and advice to CSR’s and coaches alike. Not only did Janalee take on the responsibilities of a liaison and master coach in addition to her normal tasks, she did so with an ever-present smile on her face. She is known throughout the department as cheerful, pleasant and well-humored while also continuing to communicate in a straightforward, honest manner. She works very hard and puts others before herself. Did all of this effort work? You bet. Although already a top-performing call center in 2013, BCBSVT saw improvement in literally every metric and to obtain such numbers in a year of change and uncertainty demonstrates effective leadership by those such as Janalee. I am confident when I say our call center would not have had the successful year we did without the effort, drive and charm of Janalee Willett. She is an awesome role model, a great boss and a kind friend. I couldn’t be more honored to say that she is my supervisor and someone that I look up to every day.
Janalee Willett – BlueCross BlueShield of Vermont
Dedication to Serve, Inspire, Coach and Recognize
“She had ideas that could help me hurdle those areas of opportunity.“
Dede Tobin is a World Class Certified Supervisor in our Commercial Customer Service team at Regence BlueCross BlueShield. Dede has had outstanding success on her team with our department Member Experience goals. This can easily be attributed to her dedication to serve, inspire, coach and recognize those on her team. At Regence we have a CSR Recognition program called “Service Hero”. From a list of multiple nominations, this program rewards the top 3 CSR’s per quarter. Dede has had a winner from her team in each quarter with a total of 6 winners of the possible 12 awards in 2014. When asking a few of Dede’s team for examples of how she has inspired them to improve their Call Resolution or Csat performance, here is what they shared:
Dede allows and encourages me to take risks to get a resolution. She is always available to help and will always provide positive feedback to get the best result. She thinks outside the box and focuses on doing the right thing for us and for our members SHE ROCKS! Leah W
I truly believe that through her compassion, Dede is able to identify not only how our callers are feeling but how we are feeling as well. She has made me aware of my triggers and my struggles but not before she had ideas that could help me hurdle those areas of opportunity. Without passing judgment, she provides examples that fit with your personality type on how to overcome your weaknesses and become a better you. I can honestly say that Dede doesn’t break down your calls just to get your satisfaction or resolution scores higher. She breaks them down to help us become better individuals, to be better human beings. There is no formula she uses, she is just an amazing individual that believes everyone has the ability to be just as amazing and she leads by example. Because of the culture she has created we know we have countless team members at our disposal that can help us not only meet but exceed our goals and create an amazing member experience. Annette J
Dede has helped me out so much to push me to be world class certified. She has showed and taught me things to engage in conversation before getting that ID number. She has helped me identify what my triggers are and what I can do NOT to have these and what I can do to improve. She helps me through my struggles and holds me accountable. She checks on each and every one of us more than once a day and asks what she can do to help us if we need it. She invites us to share experiences throughout our group chats. Best calls and SQM stats are sent to her weekly. I don’t know what more I can say about Dede she has just made the work place and work experience enjoyable and not so scary. Mary W
Dede is very strong at making sure awareness of what should be a focus is constant. By weekly emails, checking in on a personal basis, constant feedback on our SQM results, etc. She also encourages us to share our tips/tricks with the rest of the team. I have no idea how she can juggle that much to be honest. It is pretty amazing. Patrick A
Dede not only assists her staff by coaching; she steps in to help when needed. In a situation where our member didn’t receive resolution for a check reimbursement timely Dede partnered with one of her representatives to work with our finance team by sharing the need for urgency and was able to escalate this to resolution. When a follow up call was needed to update our member, Dede didn’t hesitate to take ownership for the call back, understanding that the member needed reassurance and was very concerned.
Dede has also supported in 2014 as an “FCR Champion Supervisor” working across location with peers to instill focus and drive on our member experience goals. Dede has also generated innovative ideas and practices that have increased Call Resolution and Csat, with her team and others within our department. Two specific programs she implemented and shared was a “Follow up work Process” and “Best Call Practice”.
What has been amazing to see is Dede’s consistency with her success that has continued from 2013 to 2014. From all of this it is apparent that Dede can easily be recognized for her service directly to our members, her team, her peers and our entire department.
We are very fortunate and grateful to have Dede on our customer service leadership team.
Dede Tobin – Regence BlueCross BlueShield
Coaching for Success
“She is present, but believes that people learn from their mistakes.“
Sue Fordyce is not only a valued tenured employee of Rogers and has been for 28 Years. She is also an influential, motivational, passionate leader who demonstrates her abilities and focus through leading great teams and attaining consistent quality and customer satisfaction. Sue has been ranked as the number one team manager for all of her customer satisfaction and FCR kpi’s in our dedicated Enterprise Customer Service team throughout 2014. She has been able to work with her team to ensure they deliver reliable and high value service to their customers. She has a team of 12 individuals and works out of our Burnaby office. She is totally self -sufficient and has been able to build outstanding relationships with her peers, her sales partners and most importantly, her customers. Sue has coached and empowered her team to take ownership and handle each customer interaction the first time right. This is evident in all of Sue’s results. Her teams FCR for 2014 came in at 89%. Fantastic results!!! Her overall CSAT for her centre was 92%!!
Sue takes the time to meet with her employees on a regular basis. She coaches them individually and as a team to share the feedback from our customers. She works individually with her team when escalations arise, she lets them take ownership of the situation and deal directly with the customers and the sales team. She is present, but believes that people learn from their mistakes, so she lets them resolve and ensures to coach and provide feedback to avoid replication of the same issues. She regularly attends customer meetings with sales and she listens to the voice of the customer and translates that into action. She stepped up to the challenge in 2014 to lead her team as well as integrate a new team to Rogers without letting any balls drop. She maintained focus, but because she has built such a strong independent team who own their accounts like it’s their own business, she felt confident to be able to support the implementation project while her dedicated team continued to deliver excellent service. Sue is looked upon as a mentor for many of our newer managers. She is open and honest, and excited to help people develop and learn. She is a leader amongst the team and that is recognized by her peers when they reach out to her for guidance and insight.
The feedback from our VP in BC Enterprise Sales-Western Region prime is that he would like all of our teams to work as efficiently and effectively as Sue’s team does. The feedback from his Director team has always been positive and the direct feedback from our customers for Sue’s team is something to celebrate. Sue is a role model for her peers and other leaders throughout the organization. She works hard for her team and the customer. Sue has been around a lot of change in her years with Rogers, but she continuously finds ways to evolve and keep her team moving forward. She is influential and is able to get people on board. She speaks her mind and is always first to think about impacts to our customers. She has brainstorming sessions with her team and has delivered an open culture so that her team feels comfortable in giving feedback and owning the experience, which is evident in all of Sue’s results. I believe Sue exemplifies what it means to be “Manager of the Year.” She is one of my strongest managers and one of the strongest managers we have in the Enterprise Customer Service Team at Rogers. The feedback you would receive for Sue for this nomination would be supportive and positive. Her style of management, her coaching and her passion for the customer not only make her an amazing leader, but also make her an ambassador for Rogers. I know Sue wears glasses, and I often think those glasses belong to our customers because she is always able to see things from the customer’s point of view-that’s what makes her successful.
Sue Fordyce – Rogers
“Walk the Talk” – Supervisor Handles Tough Call and Shows her CSRs how it’s Done.
“It literally changed the way we handled internet banking calls at the Centre.“
A big struggle we had in the Contact Centre for a long time was getting Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) to improve their handling of internet banking calls. This was quite urgent as “internet banking calls” represented the number one source of repeat calls, as well as the major source of “Non-WCC” calls. In September 2014, a CSR recognized that the customer he was assisting with registering for internet banking sounded as though she would be a “repeat caller” as she was not technically savvy and was moving at a very slow pace. Having already spent approximately 15 minutes with the customer, he decided to escalate to his supervisor, Jefferian for a resolution. Jefferian accepted the call and what a model conversation it was! She patiently listened to this customer, understood exactly what she wanted to do on internet banking and more importantly, she correctly assessed the level of guidance the customer needed.
At the beginning of the conversation, Jefferian put the customer at ease by advising that she would stay with her until she had successfully registered online. Throughout the call, Jefferian picked up that the customer was doubtful about her technical abilities and sought to support the customer by asking who was at home with her and if she would be comfortable with having her grandson join the conversation to better assist her navigating the screen. The customer agreed and after several minutes on the call, the customer announced that she had successfully registered on internet banking and was able to complete her transaction. At the end of the call, she asked to speak with me (Jefferian’s Manager). Her feedback is noted below: “I want to commend Mrs. Jefferian Thompson-Pratt for assisting me with on-line banking today. I had a mental block, a break down, I started to grow two horns and two tails, I was frustrated! She had no under tone, no attitude, I could feel her smile. You could not pay me to do her job. I can’t thank her enough for how kind and patient she was. I offered to bring her some cookies for being so sweet, only for her to tell me she is not in the Bahamas. I am the owner of a limousine service, let her know if ever she visits the Bahamas I will personally pick her up in a town car and take her to Atlantis, for being so sweet. I bless her for being so patient, I tell you she did not grit her teeth, She is an Angel! Please give her an incentive for me.”
Jefferian was featured in Scotiabank’s Service Heroes Bulletin and received the CEO’s Service Hero Award as well as a certificate from our President & CEO. In her response, our President commented: “The customers’ feedback inspired and motivated the entire team.” After I shared the customer’s experience with the entire team, both CSRs and Team Leaders expressed that they felt motivated and encouraged to make every customer feel the way this customer described her experience. It literally changed the way we handled internet banking calls at the Centre. Team members felt empowered and as such, were guided by Team Leaders and the Quality Assurance Team to change the way they managed internet banking calls and prevent the customers from calling back by implementing suggested steps during the conversation. Steps that were evident in the conversation Jefferian had with the customer. The feedback from the team members was positive and it reinforced what we strive to achieve on a daily basis and demonstrated to the CSR who escalated the call and others that it can be done well. A call that typically resurfaces as a repeat call, when managed well was a sterling example of a “wow” experience. Team members were reminded that by achieving First Call Resolution and truly connecting with customers every call, including internet banking calls, could result in a World Class experience. It is my delight to also share that for the month of September 2014 100% of the calls surveyed for Jefferian’s team were World Class Certified!
Jefferian Thompson-Pratt – Scotia International (Jamaica)
A Change from the Ordinary
“The inspiration behind that change is Alexandrea Roopram.“
Every day I set my alarm and wake up at the same time. I eat the same thing for breakfast and I drive the same route to work. I park my car in the same parking space, take the same elevator to the second floor and I sit at the same desk. That’s when things change. That’s when I change. The inspiration behind that change is my supervisors, Alexandrea Roopram.
There is nothing easy about being a customer care representative. It is however, our job to make things easy for the customers that we care for. As a supervisor, Alexandrea has taken me and her team to new heights in order for us to accomplish the latter. She has inspired us all to exceed our own expectations and she leads by example, day in and day out. From a business standpoint, Alexandrea has her finger on the pulse of the call center. She is in tune with every target and metric and she keeps her team informed on where we are at, where we need to be, and most importantly, how to get there. With relevant daily communications, Alexandrea informs and inspires us all to monitor our progress. During one-on-one meetings and call shadowing sessions, Alexandrea tailors her supervisory style to each one of her representatives, whose personalities, character traits, strengths and weaknesses she knows so well. Even as a seasoned customer care representative, I made extreme gains in terms of my own personal metrics; drastically increasing efficiencies month over month, while making sure quality remained at the forefront as well. The result could be heard in the voice of the customer, both literally on every call, as well as the positive comments noted during member surveys.
From a personal standpoint, I can’t begin to count the ways in which Alexandrea has demonstrated all of the core qualities of customer care, which in turn has helped me to put into practice the same traits in dealing with customers. Effective communication and active listening combined with showing empathy, care and concern are just a few of the traits which Alexandrea has exhibited on numerous occasions. She has celebrated my successes, and helped me through my hardships in ways that I will never forget.
A lot of things in my everyday life are the same but being a customer care representative elicits change. Being a customer care representative on Alexandrea’s team has brought about positive changes on so many levels. Looking back, I can already see how far I’ve come and the inspiration which Alexandrea has imparted will continue to brighten my path at Sun Life in the future.
Alexandrea Roopram – Sun Life Financial
Positive Reinforcement – The Driving Force Behind Improvement
“Jennifer praises when we do a good job, and positively corrects us when we make mistakes.“
I am a new CSR with VSP. Jennifer makes sure I understand everything; she is very active with the entire team. Always willing to assist and help with resolving calls. A plan worksheet was provided to record what areas I needed to improve and how I was going to meet the goals. During every monthly meeting with Jennifer, we would go over calls that were not resolved and she would help me focus on the main aspect of the call and ask me “what is it that you could have done in addition to the service you provided to resolve this call?” We’ve mocked calls that were unresolved to get to a resolution. She would provide me with tips on certain calls that showed similar trends. She provided tips on how to improve my CSAT. Ex. Asking the customer if all of their questions and concerns were answered on that call.
I am proud to say, I met all of my goals set for the year. My Calls Resolved ended at 95%, and my CSR CSAT at 97%. Also this is my first year of being World Class certified. Jennifer praises when we (our team) do a good job, and positively corrects us when we make mistakes. She is quick to listen if we have personal issues, frustrations, or even comical occurrences that happen within our daily lives. She has taught me the important aspects of the work environment: responsibility, motivation, and respect. She handles our team very well and is stern but fair when jobs are not done correctly. She shows a genuine interest in what we are doing. She shows that she trusts my judgment and ability to do the job. Because of her, I feel that my job here is very important and that my employment in this office is worthwhile.
Jennifer Riggle – VSP Vision Care