USHEALTH Group - Customer Service Team of the Year

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Company: USHEALTH Group, Inc., Fort Worth, TX
Company Description: USHEALTH Group, Inc. is an insurance holding company based in Ft. Worth, Texas focused on providing innovative health coverage for self-employed individuals and small business owners. USHG's goal is to combine the talents of its employees and agents to market competitive and profitable insurance products, while providing superior customer service in every aspect of the company’s operations.
Nomination Category: Customer Service & Call Center Awards Team Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Customer Service Team of the Year - Recovery Situation

Nomination Title: USHG Service at the Speed of Sales

Tell the story about what this nominated team achieved since the beginning of July 2015 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

In 2015, USHEALTH Group’s rapid, unprecedented growth escalated dramatically, with core product sales increasing by 72% over 2014 sales. In the 4th quarter of 2015, our Customer Service Department was staffed by longtime reps who had years of experience using the many complex computer systems required to answer Customer and Provider questions. Senior Management quickly realized that our Company’s standard procedural model would neither support the extraordinary year-over-year growth, nor would it handle the spike in Customer contacts occurring in the 4th and 1st quarters of each year due to the demand for health insurance created by the Affordable Care Act’s Open Enrollment season. We also understood that increasing service automation was not the go-to answer in USHG’s circumstances. Because our coverage is custom-tailored, innovative and unique, human Customer Service interaction is a critical factor in helping Customers and Providers understand how these valuable products work.

In order to catch up to 2015’s blossoming sales and prepare for the continuation of our fast-paced growth in 2016, USHG’s backroom and non-core business operations were re-deployed to other departments, and a new executive was brought in to lead the Customer Service Team as we focused on delivering a world-class level of service. Determined to not just survive, but thrive, Management focused on accomplishing five key initiatives with a high degree of urgency: 1) Growing the Team though the addition of skilled, enthusiastic workers; 2) Changing the culture to emphasize professionalism, fun and a team-based focus of helping and serving others; 3) Increasing the speed and effectiveness of training to get new hires on the phones more quickly and effectively, 4) Eliminating the cumbersome need to access up to six different Computer Systems in order to answer a single Customer question by launching a customized, single-source CRM system; and 5) Promoting and mentoring Leaders within the Customer Service department to allow for delegation and increased employee satisfaction.

USHG Customer Service leadership quickly went to work recruiting and training qualified personnel, growing the department by 57% by the end of 2016. New incentive programs, increased two-way communication, all-hands-on-deck training and motivational meetings, and frequent expressions of appreciation from all levels of management up to the CEO were implemented. Thanks to both the reinvented training and USHG’s investment into the robust OZ Customer Relations Management system, new reps became productive employees much sooner, hitting departmental goals in as little as 8 weeks, as opposed to our previous 6+ months ramp-up time.

As our Customer Service Team size and capabilities grew, so did Employee satisfaction. When the USHG Customer Service Team was evaluated by Benchmark Portal, an independent company which benchmarks the performance of Contact centers, 72.2% of CS Reps reported being “Very Satisfied” and 27.8 reporting being “Satisfied.” The external evaluator stated that she had never seen such high marks for employee satisfaction in a Call Center. Growing internal Leaders made more delegation possible, allowing Customer issues to be taken care of at the time of the call, rather than being handed off for escalated review. Subject Matter Expert Teams and Supervisor queues were created to ensure Customer issues could be solved even more quickly and correctly.

The successful implementation of these new initiatives and the economies created allowed USHEALTH Group to finish 2016 with an average call handling time of 305 seconds vs. 328 seconds in 2015; and an abandon, or “lost call” rate of 5.14% in 2016 vs. 8.3% in 2015 compared to an industry average of 5-8%. These significant service improvements were achieved despite a 29% increase in call volume, helping us meet the challenge of 62% of sales growth in 2016 over 2015. In 2016, USHG Customer Service is Helping Other People Everyday while meeting the challenge of supporting a company experiencing explosive growth by providing “Service at the Speed of Sales.