Insurance Provider Transforms Customer Service

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print
Customer Service

Central Health Insurance adopted a software solution that offers intelligent workflows, improving customer service and reducing processing time by 90 percent.

A growing number of businesses are discovering that delivering consistent and high-quality support across various customer channels—phone, email, social and more—is a major challenge. At German health insurance provider Central Health Insurance AG, the need to interact effectively with potential and existing policyholders forced the company to re-examine its business processes and revamp its support platform.

The company has about 1.8 million customers, and it administers more than 500,000 health care policies. In Germany, citizens can purchase additional private insurance that provides benefits beyond government coverage, and about 10 percent of the population opts for the premium coverage.

In the past, Central Health Insurance had faced steep challenges getting inquiries routed to the appropriate representative and ensuring that staff had all the information needed to handle all the calls or messages. The previous framework involved a mélange of applications, including Lotus Notes, Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat and a CRM component. Reps had to sort through customer requests for information manually—many messages arrive as unstructured emails with attachments—and then convert documents to PDFs and other formats.

"The system was extremely slow, and we were prone to errors," recalls Rafaela Saporito, business analyst for digitization and apps in the Business Development Department of Central Health.

The company eventually imploded under the weight of inquires and inefficiencies. It required a far more robust system that could capture, classify, route and process inquiries automatically— all while extracting relevant data from email messages.

Introducing Intelligent Workflows

Consequently, Central Health turned to Kodak Alaris and installed its Info Insight (known as Mediatrix in Germany) technology platform in order to process customer inquiries more efficiently. The solution has introduced intelligent workflows that have dramatically altered the way the insurer does business through, among other things, the use of "response" and "virtual agent" tools.

Today, the software automatically extracts business and personal data contained in emails. The Info Insight application generates proposals without accessing third-party systems.

In fact, customer service agents do not touch the request prior to processing, and they have the required information at their fingertips when they handle an inquiry. The technology is particularly valuable during busy periods with peak volumes, including a typical year-end spike in inquiries and transactions, Saporito explains.

The result? The company has achieved a 90 percent reduction in processing time, and it now handles a typical inquiry in about a minute versus 10 minutes in the past. It also has dramatically improved internal performance. More than 95 percent of inquiries are now automatically assigned to the correct process and, for certain transactions, 89 percent of previously manual tasks are now automated.

"Today, customers demand digital touch points," Saporito points out. "Customers are changing, and we must change with them."

"We have transitioned away from a very slow and inefficient system that required customers to wait as long as two or three weeks, and have adopted a system that takes the process down to a few minutes," reports Jan Fromm, e-mail management specialist in the Project and Requirement Management Department. "As a result, customers are a lot more confident in our company and our services."

This article was originally published on 2015-11-10
Samuel Greengard writes about business and technology for Baseline, CIO Insight and other publications. His most recent book is The Internet of Things (MIT Press, 2015).
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