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HOT PROJECTS: Insurance
When customers don't know about services they may want to buy, it's like throwing away opportunity.
For the rest of the July 2003 issue of CRM magazine please click here
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It's like throwing away opportunity when customers don't know about services they may want to buy. Disability insurer UnumProvident greatly expanded its offerings since the mid-1990s through acquisition and natural growth, but many established policyholders had little exposure to the new opportunities. Working with Grizzard Performance Group on segmentation and message strategies, the insurer launched a program called SmartStep in April 2002 to deliver targeted information on new products to 180,000 current policyholders. The segments were drawn up based on need, age, and other relevant factors, and spread out over seven major waves of mailing. To date, UnumProvident customers have opened nearly 7,000 new or expanded policies as a result of the program, pulling in $3.7 million in first-year premiums alone, all on a project budget of just $1 million. "It gave us a good feel for running a direct marketing campaign, and for connecting with policyholders and [agents] we may not have had much business with," says Jim Foley, director of market development for UnumProvident. Frustrated by reliability problems and slow workflow, WPS Health Insurance replaced its call center's aging Dictaphone gear with a digital contact recording system from NICE. The call monitoring process is now more reliable, and managers don't have to waste time waiting for tapes and playback equipment to become available. Even better, the system can monitor every call, as well as store the agent's screen display for each call. "We had to go to the utility closet to play back calls on a tape recorder, but we now have online access from any PC, and we can see what the agents did, how they moved around the screens, and see whether we need additional training or anything to improve effectiveness," says Amy Miller, manager of quality assurance for WPS. Better access to calls has meant timelier coaching, which has translated to a 17 percent improvement in internal quality ratings, while the more efficient access to calls has freed up three managers to work on more proactive quality measures than call monitoring, such as one-on-one coaching.
In the insurance business agents sometimes have to wait days to make an offer to a customer, because they can't do so without a risk rating and premium in hand. To cut that wait time, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST) extended its use of SalesLogix to include Blue Wizard, an automated prospect-quoting tool that can return full quotes to outside agents in record time. "Before Blue Wizard it might take agents one or two days to get a response back from us. Now they can do it themselves in under two minutes," says Andrea Cooling, a BCBST marketing consultant. The system also has made telecommuting easier for sales management staff and has eliminated several bulky paper steps from the customer lifecycle management. BCBST has enjoyed cost avoidance in the high six figures with SalesLogix and the advanced quoting system, and the process to evaluate revenue ROI is ongoing. "We know that the more quotes you have, the higher your close ratio's going to be," says Janet Adams, BCBST director of marketing administration. To better serve customers, Northwestern Mutual Financial Network wanted to take the manual message-passing out of sales operations, eliminating phone tag to share notes between agents and managers who might need to discuss a client meeting or schedule action items. Northwestern has been rolling out a Siebel implementation to unify customer records and calendaring, allowing managers to trigger events for their staff and giving all relevant employees instant access to the latest customer activity and meeting notes. "As sales reps we often partner on a case. So I have a client that I would do a lot of things with, and someone who does group insurance business can have access to my records and put in file notes. Rather than me calling them up and saying, 'How did the meeting go?' I can just pull up the file notes," says Terence McTigue, a managing director based in Eden Prairie, MN, whose office has been on the Siebel system since last November. "It's a time-saver, and we can be more efficient in getting back to clients." Customer confusion is a sure way to a negative return on investment. CIGNA Retirement and Investment Services needed to overhaul its statements to provide clearer information to employer plan participants, while creating a better vehicle for personalized new service offerings, and satisfying employer demand for more customized branding on the regular plan reports. "We wanted participants to be able to take action on the information we were sending them, versus throwing it in a wastebasket or filing it in a drawer," says Mary-Beth McCormack, senior project manager at CIGNA. Working with Extream Software, CIGNA was able to design a more modern, more flexible template and roll it out to customers in just four months, an improvement over earlier cycles, which took well over a year to complete. A few quarters in, CIGNA is still assessing the results, but is pleased with the response from customers--a response that should keep employers happy with the service they receive. "Given that we just rolled it out last year, we haven't had enough time pass to say if it increases contributions, but we did find that ninety percent of the participants said that the new statement provided them with information they needed to make better decisions," McCormack says. 5 Steps to ROI Whether companies focus on hard dollars or soft ROI, the current economic climate dictates that they must measure the results of their CRM investments. Doug Turk, executive vice president and general manager of Inforte's products business unit, advises organizations that want to accurately measure ROI to follow this five-step plan: 1. Identify quantifiable business goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) that support these goals. Understand that KPIs drive behavior intended to achieve the business goals. 2. Using preferred financial models (ROI, NPV, IRR, etc.) conservatively estimate ROI according to the identified KPIs. 3. Follow a phased approach to projects using ROI models to support and measure each phase; keep in mind the value/velocity balance (it is most important to achieve ROI results as quickly as possible). 4. Prioritize project phases and individual requirements by ROI impact. 5. Measure actual results.
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