• August 12, 2013
  • By Leonard Klie Editor, Speech Technology and CRM magazines
  • FYI

Speech Answers Compliance and Cost Concerns

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Insurance companies are finding themselves under the thumb of new regulations and increasing government and consumer pressures to reduce costs. That's why many are considering speech analytics, digital dictation technologies, and unified communications to improve operations, ensure compliance, and trim budgets.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC), a healthcare insurer for more than 3.6 million people, for example, is using Nexidia's Interaction Analytics to pinpoint and resolve key operational and service challenges and to understand what is driving call volume into its two customer service call centers, which together receive about 14,000 calls each day. Speech analytics is also helping BCBSNC understand how agents handle calls, and whether customers are satisfied with the help they receive during the calls.

Using some of the information it gleaned from the calls that were recorded early on, BCBSNC determined that many customers were confused about claims, benefits, and coverage and simplified the language in its marketing materials and other customer communications and on its Web site.

A real benefit, though, has been the ability to evaluate agent performance during customer calls, to determine whether something the agent says or fails to say is prompting customers to call back, thereby driving up costs and increasing call volume.

Nicole Gassaway, senior product developer on the Customer and Consumer Experience Team at BCBSNC, calls speech analytics "a critical resource."

"We collect a lot of data during the call, but speech analytics gives us the ability to mine the customer call. It gives us the opportunity to drill down into the call to find out what was really going on," she says.

Based on its success in the customer service call center, BCBSNC plans to expand its use of Nexidia's Interaction Analytics to the sales cycle as well. "Speech analytics will be a key part of all we do, taking everything in across the full customer life cycle and journey with us," Gassaway says.

Gerber Life Insurance, with more than 3 million policyholders, also uses Nexidia's Interaction Analytics to better manage agent compliance and performance in its contact center. With it, the insurer has been able to uncover business intelligence that has resulted in improved business processes, higher call deflection rates, and decreased policy cancellation requests. The solution is also being used to improve first call resolution, internal sales processes, and sales effectiveness, to uncover cross-sell opportunities, and to identify opportunities to train agents.

Likewise, a growing number of insurance industry professionals are incorporating digital dictation solutions into their everyday work flows for the same reasons. Insurance adjusters are leveraging voice technology to simplify, streamline, and speed up document turnaround times with mobile tools to record witness statements and field reports from any location at any time.

"I send in recordings from the road or my home and don't have to wait until I get back to the office," said Steve Fasano, founder of Criterion Claim Service, an independent insurance services firm, which investigates claims for major insurance carriers. "If one of our insurance carriers or an attorney wants to hear an interview, I can simply attach the voice file to an email; no more copying tapes."

Insurance companies are also increasingly turning to unified communications to help with compliance, cost, and efficiency issues. Arabella Insurance, a property and casualty insurance firm based in Quincy, Mass., is using Zeacom Communications Center (ZCC) software to reduce call abandonment, improve service levels, and increase agent productivity. ZCC provides the insurer with intelligent call queuing, recording, reporting, call back, quality monitoring, and more.

In another area of the insurance field, CSA Travel Protection, a travel insurance and emergency services provider in San Diego, is using Interactive Intelligence's all-in-one Customer Interaction Center IP communications software suite to reduce costs and improve service delivery. Interaction Recorder, a tool for multichannel recording and scoring of inbound and outbound interactions, is helping the company verify information, settle claim disputes, and identify agents for training.

Arabella and CSA represent a growing segment of the insurance industry that is consolidating communication technologies to support customer interactions across multiple channels.

But despite making multichannel communications a priority, many insurance companies are still falling short of implementing tools that enable them to talk to customers across platforms, according to a new report from Forrester Research. While 40 percent of the insurance industry delivers good cross-channel communications, the majority is unable to communicate with customers on some channels, especially mobile. In fact, 30 percent have no adequate mobile support and do not seem to care, according to the research.

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