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Premera Blue Cross - Agent Training Best Practice

SQM Group Helped Premera Blue Cross Achieve:

Of agents improved  call resolution rate.


Average improvement on call resolution across the department.


Years of improved FCR rate and customer satisfaction performance.


FCR Results

Each agent is provided with a certificate of completion, and they all celebrate the end of the workshop. As a result of the agent Training, 70% of agents who have completed the training have improved their call resolution. On average, call resolution has improved by 8%. We have significantly improved our FCR rate and customer satisfaction performance in the last five years.

Premera Agent Training Best Practice

Company Description

At Premera, we serve 1.8 million people – from individuals and families to Fortune 100 employer groups. Our mission is to provide peace of mind to our customers about their healthcare. As one of the Pacific Northwest’s largest health plans, we provide comprehensive, tailored services to customers in Washington and Alaska. This includes innovative programs focused on wellness and prevention, disease management, and patient safety – delivered through health, life, vision, dental, stop-loss, disability, workforce wellness, and other related products and services. We are committed to controlling rising medical costs while ensuring access to quality care for our members.



Opportunity Statement

Premera started using “SQM Workshops,” which is a three-day program that all agents go through annually. Every other week, five agents are selected to attend the workshop. A dedicated area on the call floor, where the workshop will be held, is decorated to create a fun environment. One Team Leader and one Call Coach are assigned to manage the workshop, for which they completely clear their calendars and provide 100% focus to the agents attending the workshop. The intent of the workshop is to provide agents with increased dedicated time with a Team Leader and a Call Coach to focus on call resolution and the member experience.

Day One

Each agent receives a report that consolidates every comment a member has ever given them that is broken up into three sections:

  1. Satisfied
  2. Not Satisfied
  3. Repeat Call Reason

Every agent receives this feedback as surveys happen throughout the year; however, it is a powerful exercise to consolidate all the comments, which often allows agents to identify trends in behaviors. After each agent reviews their comments, they get together as a group to discuss what each person has learned from their report. This turns into a great conversation.

In the afternoon, call calibration is conducted. Typically, the group listens to random calls from an agent that is in another location. Each agent is given a sheet of paper to write down from their perspective:

  • Was the call resolved?
  • Was it a World Class Call?
  • What did the agent do well?
  • What could the agent have done better?

After the call is played, each person has an opportunity to talk about the four questions. This also turns into great conversation and best-practice sharing. At the end of the day, they fill out a very simple three-question online survey before they leave. The questions asked are:

  1. I learned something new today that will help improve my calls resolved. True/False.
  2. The information I received today from the Team Leader and Call Coach was consistent. True/False.
  3.  I am looking forward to coming back tomorrow. True/False.

Results thus far: 100% of responses from workshop attendees have been “true” for all 3 questions.

Day Two

In the morning’s first activity, each agent listens to three of their calls picked randomly. The agent is then asked to fill out the “Knowledge / Confidence Self-Check” form for each call to score the call from the member’s perception.

After the exercise is completed, they are brought to a room where they can share their findings in a group setting. We will often play one or two of the group’s calls to see if the agent’s form matches the rest of the group’s opinion. This activity seems to be the most eye-opening for the agents, and the feedback received is that this is their favorite activity.

Day Three

On the last day of the workshop, the group continues through more call calibrations throughout the morning. In the afternoon, lunch is provided, and managers meet with each group to get their feedback about what worked well, what didn’t, and what was the most impactful / best activity. We’ve received great feedback from these sessions and have incorporated numerous suggestions into the following week’s workshop.

During the afternoon, agents complete one last activity, which is to write down an action plan they can use to improve their call resolution and member satisfaction performance. Each agent completes a final survey about their experience, where they are asked:

  • The SQM Workshop was a good experience for me. True / False.
  • I believe my SQM scores will increase going forward. True / False.
  • I would recommend that other agents struggling with FCR attend the SQM Workshop. True / False.
  • Do you have any ideas on how we can improve the SQM Workshop experience?

SQM Group Call Center Best Practice Awards

SQM Awards Received

Best Practice: First Call Resolution Improvement: 2020