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USA Business Choice Enlists a Friendly Gatekeeper
A virtual assistant by CodeBaby helps users navigate the insurance provider's Web site
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Because health insurance coverage is such a big expense for most small businesses, company owners naturally have lots of questions. So, too, do the agents and brokers who sell policies to that sector.

USA Business Choice, a provider of self-funded healthcare plans for small businesses, has most of the answers, but getting the right information to the people who need it hasn't always been easy. The company used to send out marketing emails and hope that people responded, but that was an outdated and inefficient way to reach prospective clients.

"We didn't feel that we were providing a consistent message that was as informative as we needed it to be," recalls C.W. Connor, principal of USA Business Choice.

That's why USA Business Choice in February added a CodeBaby interactive virtual assistant, named Brooke, to its Web site. The site routinely attracts about 1,000 to 1,200 visitors per month looking to explore their health insurance options. If they can't navigate the site easily, they'll quickly move on to a competitor's.

With literally seconds to grab their attention, Brooke not only engages people but begins to build trust, Connor says. Brooke, he adds, has made it possible for the company to educate, guide, and ultimately convert site visitors through an engaging customer experience.

Brooke appears on the lower right corner of the USA Business Choice home page. She greets visitors, welcomes them to the site, gathers information about them to help steer them to the information they need, and helps them navigate the site.

"Brooke is a gatekeeper for us," Connor says. "People want to know about what we offer, and she is satisfying that desire."

By integrating Brooke into its Web site, USA Business Choice didn't have to build an external contact center, which Connor says would have been a major undertaking for a small business like his. The company has 10 employees working out of its offices in Reno, Nev.

Currently, about 70 percent of all visitors to USA Business Choice's Web site engage with Brooke. If they, or the 30 percent of visitors who choose to navigate the site on their own, still have questions or can't find the information they need, they can always place a phone call, but that is rare.

Connor estimates that Brooke has cut the company's call volume in half, if not more. And, when people do reach out by telephone, "they already have a lot of the preliminary information they need," he says.

"People are more comfortable engaging with Brooke than they are with calling," Connor says.

And that was the thinking that went into Brooke's design. Connor and his team worked closely with CodeBaby to create the image, personality, and voice that Brooke projects. "CodeBaby was very good with the voice and the animation," Connor notes.

CodeBaby also helped to build out the FAQ that Brooke can access. At first, that database contained the 10 most frequently asked questions, but it has been expanded quite a bit since then.

"Education is a key factor for us. People have a lot of questions," Connor points out.

Based on the success USA Business Choice has had already with Brooke, Connor would like to add the virtual assistant to more of the company's Web content. One of his goals is to use Brooke to introduce webinars, live events, and videos. "We would love to use her in all our presentations," he says.

"The addition of an intelligent virtual assistant to a Web site that is delivering complex information helps businesses establish a new level of trust with customers. Customer experience tops the list of advancement areas for most Internet-enabled businesses today," said Dennis McGuire, CEO of CodeBaby, in a statement. "That is why we are working with companies like USA Business Choice to deliver innovative technology that creates engaging and impactful customer experiences and helps them convert more Web site visitors to customers."  

The Payoff

Since implementing a Codebaby Virtual Assistant for its Web site, USA Business Choice has been able to: 

  • reduce its call volume by 50 percent;
  • help 70 percent of Web site visitors navigate its site; and
  • avoid building out a contact center.

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