Customer service representatives need immediate access to all customer-related information.
Posted May 2, 2005
The bar of excellence for most call centers is fast, total problem resolution on the first call. To deliver such world-class customer service, customer service representatives (CSRs) need immediate access to all customer-related information--including statements, service contracts, invoices, proposals, and correspondence.
But searching for this documentation is often a hindrance to quality service. CSRs must painstakingly search through legacy systems and multiple repositories (sometimes filing cabinets). Once found, archived documents are usually in a format very different from the customer's print version. Further, mainframe-generated documents are very difficult to reproduce should the customer require a reprint. These time-consuming processes can take a toll on customer support operations--with valuable time wasted, customer inconvenience, multiple phone calls, long wait times, and high overhead.
Overcoming Barriers to World Class Support
CSRs can greatly benefit from a 360-degree view of their customer's documentation. Armed with instant access to an electronic original of the customer's document, CSRs can troubleshoot a customer inquiry more efficiently and resolve questions quickly--contributing significantly to improved customer communications. This same technology can empower customers by giving them access to their documents via a secure Web portal, opening the door to better customer relations, and giving companies a competitive advantage. More important, self-service eliminates calls that can be resolved without CSR involvement, reducing or eliminating wait times for callers who need CSR assistance.
Making Critical Information More Readily Available
While CRM systems address many call center issues, they do not provide access to all customer-related documents. Document libraries complement a CRM. Effective content management systems centrally archive both paper-based and electronic content from varying sources. Systems with performance search and retrieval provide fast access to a single document among millions. And if the system is designed with an open architecture, seamless integration with Web portals enables customer self-service to statements, invoices, and other documents.
A Case in Point
When a major health insurance plan needed to improve the management of high volume explanation of benefits (EOB) statements, they turned to enterprise content management solutions. With over 35,000 EOBs and customer correspondence printed and mailed daily, the company needed to transition from costly paper-based processes to digital. Once mailed, the complexity of EOB medical billing information would create an onslaught of inbound calls to the company call center, staffed with 700 CSRs. Most caller questions are specific to the information on the document, so CSRs need to view a copy. The company's legacy COLD archiving system was very slow, did not have robust search and retrieval capability, and did not display documents in a useable viewing format. The mainframe-generated EOBs also could not easily be reprinted, and print locations were limited.
With the call center solution, CSRs now have instant access to an electronic original of the EOB mailed to the plan subscriber. Robust search capability retrieves the right document quickly so CSRs can view the same document as the customer's paper-based version for dramatic customer care improvements. Reprint requests are quickly fulfilled via fax, email, or print, directly from the CSR desktop. And changes of address are easily updated through an address confirmation screen, which is prepopulated with address information extracted from the document. Change-of address entries automatically update the contact database through seamless integration with a CRM system. The document then goes to a print queue with a coversheet containing the new address.
Through IVR integration, phone-based reprint fulfillment has been achieved. A customer's menu selections automatically retrieve EOBs from the system and route them for mailing. This self-service automation has reduced call volume and wait times, freeing CSRs for the callers needing personal attention the most. Self-service flexibility is further expanded through Web portal integration. Plan subscribers and physician practices can securely log on to an extranet to view, download, and print EOBs and other correspondence as necessary. The access-tracking feature of the system provides log reports of access in support of HIPAA requirements.
Resulting benefits are tremendous. They include dramatic operational cost reductions, shorter wait times, reduced call volume, shorter wait times, and customer satisfaction improvements. This call center solution gives CSRs and agents around the world fast access to mission critical business documents and customer correspondence--helping to reduce call time, improve first call problem resolution, enhance customer care, and enable online customer self-service.
About the Author
Susan Worthy is vice president of marketing for ClearStory Systems. She has more than 16 years experience in the document management, records management, and medical imaging markets. She has a successful track record of establishing market leadership for companies and creating both corporate and brand identities. Ms. Worthy holds a BS in biology-premedicine from the College of the Holy Cross. Contact Susan Worthy at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-870-4000
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