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Jun 18, 2024

Customer experience series: Paying homage to the voice of the customer

Customers are at the heart of everything we do at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC). At the soul: Our customer experience (CX) mission to improve customer expectations and perceptions of relationships, connections, and touchpoints.

It’s a mission that teams across Blue KC contribute to and the Customer Experience Practice team and Customer Experience Council doggedly drive.

Together, these groups relentlessly ask four big questions every day:

  1. Are we easy to work with?
  2. Are we effective at meeting member needs?
  3. Are we a company members can trust?
  4. Would members recommend us to others?

In a series of articles that exposes how Blue KC actively listens, measures, and improves CX, we’ll show you how we prioritize our mission to put customers at the heart of everything we do.

In this series we’ll look at:

  • Voice of the Customer
  • Journey Teams
  • Member Escalation
  • Personalized Services
  • Empathy Immersion

Voice of the customer

What if we could gather pain points from our customers, measure what they tell us, and improve their experiences based on what we’ve learned? What if we could do this – quite literally – by collecting and analyzing the words they say to us?

That’s how the Voice of the Customer (VOC) initiative started back in 2018. Today it features a sophisticated tool that gathers 100% of what customers tell us – verbatim – through contact center phone calls, emails, social media posts, and transactional and relationship surveys.

What’s in a word?

“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity,” said scientist, author, and speaker Dr. Hyder Zahed in a 2014 Huffington Post article.

We couldn’t agree more. The words our customers share with us matter — words about their Blue KC experiences, issues, concerns, and appreciation. Words like:

But also:

It’s feedback like this we value most because it represents opportunity…to better care for customers, build trust, empathize, nurture the relationships we share with them, and make improvements.

Experience-changing results

When feedback hits our CX dashboards, the Customer Experience Practice team measures it and shares the data with the Customer Experience Council (CXC), which reviews, prioritizes, and creates improvements. Since 2021, 44 improvement workstreams have been implemented, resulting in:

  • 8% year-over-year improvement in use of the Blue KC member portal
  • 9% improvement in member understanding and use of claims
  • 14% improvement in locating forms
  • 6% improvement in accessing and reading EOBs

Overall, the VOC initiative has played a key role in achieving a 74%* Blue KC Customer Effort Score, compared to a 66% industry average**. The score tracks how customers respond to “How easy is it to work with Blue KC?”.

Catalyst for change

Through VOC, “the Customer Experience Practice team became a catalyst for change,” said Mary Willett, Director, Customer Experience Practice Management.“ It rallied the organization to drive change and collectively establish a complaint-handling practice that would be managed in a manner that aligned with our Blue KC core values and measured accountability and performance.”

In addition to those noted above, the initiative has activated improvements that will ensure positive experiences in the future, such as:

  • Implementing new and revising existing medical procedures
  • Creating enhanced member support materials and resources
  • Improving international medical claims
  • Providing internal education and support materials for complex benefits
  • Improving member benefit documents

VOC also has had a ripple effect internally, prompting Solve for X, a program that harnesses the voices of employees to enhance VOC. Since 2022, Solve for X has received 180 improvement recommendations from employees; nearly 40% have been implemented.

To the future and beyond

We now have years of data from customer interactions that are informing the future of CX at Blue KC. It is being used to:

  • Communicate issues to areas that can solve them
  • Improve CX by lending expertise to systemic issues and options for improvement
  • Prioritize improvement efforts
  • Measure effectivenes of solutions
  • Predict impact and severity of issues if improvements aren’t pursued

Yes, the future of CX looks bright at Blue KC. Local and national award agencies agree, recognizing us with these recent awards for putting customers at the heart of everything we do.

*As of May 2024 **Forrester CX Index, 2024

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