Shelley Van Atta
Published: January 23, 2013 | Comments
EBMS, a national industry leader in health risk management and third party administration of self-funded health benefit plans, takes customer service to a level not typically seen in the industry. For well over three decades, excelling at customer service is what EBMS’ customer service representatives (CSRs) in the Client Services Department say motivates them every single day.
EBMS at a Glance:
Hours of operation: Mon.-Thurs. 7 am-6 pm, Fridays 7 am-6 pm, MST
Number of Agents: 32
Services your Center Provides: We provide customer service to our members regarding benefits, claims, accumulators, networks etc. Anything that assists the members and providers in understanding the health benefits the member is associated with.
Channels Handled: Phone, Email, Self-Service Web, Social Media
Number of Contacts Handled Per Day/Week/Month/Year: (approx.) 3 million per month
Mission Statement: EBMS designs strategies to transform the health and wellbeing of individuals, organizations, and communities.
When was the last time you were in a call center and heard laughter and saw people truly engaging and becoming phone friends with their customers? They do at EBMS. The CSRs may be enjoying what they do, but make no mistake, they take their customer service commitments very seriously. That, they say, is no laughing matter. The EBMS end-goal is to be the very best providers of customer service in their industry, and hands down, they are!
How do they achieve it? By their innovative One Call, That’s All! philosophy. One Call. Seriously. That’s all the customers make. If more calls are needed to find a solution for them, the CSRs make the calls. The customers enjoy a second cup of coffee. At EBMS, when it comes to delivering outstanding customer service, they don’t just talk the talk (and believe me, they do enjoy talking!), but they also walk the walk, going that extra mile to make certain their clients don’t have to.
One Call = Happy Customers AND Happy CSRs
"Our client services representatives are trained to make a genuine connection with the caller and to serve as the customer’s advocate," said Stacey Crossley, director of EBMS’ Client Services Department. "If other calls are necessary to complete the needs of our customer, we make those calls ourselves rather than placing the follow-up responsibility back onto them. This may result in a longer resolution commitment on our end, but our members are happy, so we’ve achieved our goal."
Crossley said her customer service representatives follow an IGROW coaching model, where they learn to be "solution-oriented and are encouraged to take the initiative, make decisions, and go above and beyond what our customers expect. That’s how we define success.
Crossley added that the department has a room with a blackboard that covers the entire wall, from floor to ceiling, on which CSRs write down suggestions or other thoughts for improvement. "By becoming part of the process, our CSRs become part of the solution. I’ve received many of my best ideas on how to improve our services from them."
Crossley stressed that at EBMS, service isn’t the cost of doing business; service is our business, adding that nowhere is this more apparent than in her department’s approach to their One Call, That’s All! efforts. In order to maintain this high level of satisfaction, she has designed a one-minute survey, to gain continual feedback to see if her department’s efforts are hitting the mark.
She also emphasized that without committed CSRs, One Call, That’s All! would only be a nice slogan. To make it a reality, it takes a dedicated workforce of people who believe in the philosophy and "talk the talk, pun intended," she added.
Partnering for Success
"The greatest thing about EBMS," said longtime CSR Roxanne Beil, "is that they truly want you to succeed and give you the tools to do so. They do not treat you like a number; someone who can easily be replaced. From the day you walk in the door as an employee, they make you feel like you belong. They provide you with continuing education within your department, as well as from outlying departments, making it easier to do your job. With the one-on-one mentoring, they personalize the experience, showing that you are not just a face in the crowd. There is always someone you can speak to with personal or professional issues. They understand that sometimes life happens and things cannot always be left at the door. The company promotes wellness and wellbeing, and makes it a priority with incentives, as well as special treats throughout the year, such as snacks, free lunches, promotional give-a-ways and company activities. There are always words of encouragement. With an open door policy, everyone within our department, and company-wide, is accessible."
Traditional call centers subscribe to the notion that the sooner a customer is helped, the happier the customer will be, Crossley noted. "We don’t disagree." However, she added, EBMS takes it a step further by believing that it’s the overall experience of a caller that matters. "Once we connect with a customer on the phone, the wait time becomes less significant than what happens after the wait." It is this connection with the customer, she said, that is the focus of the CSRs.
"At EBMS, we rely on our individual strengths and we like what we are doing," said Misty Horton, another longtime CSR. "Our members can hear that in our voice and appreciate it. We go the extra mile to be positive and helpful and we are given the freedom to do this rather than be rushed to the next phone call. The morale of one person can affect the entire department and eventually an entire organization. EBMS does things to boost our morale and it shows in the way we engage each other, and our clients and members. In the Client Services Department, having the One Call That's All philosophy enables us to engage with clients and truly help them understand their benefits. We get involved in the process and encourage the member to use the resources available to them so that we are not just throwing information out to them that they don't know what to do with."
Crossley said the EBMS Client Services Department will never compromise quality in an effort to fulfill call quotas. "We’ll always work to ensure that we aren’t only competitive when it comes to customer service– but that we’re the best. That’s not only a commitment to our customers; it’s our promise."
Customized Service is a Value-Add
Adding value to the services clients receive is the EBMS Advantage. EBMS is one of the nation’s premier industry leaders in health risk management and third party administration of self-funded health benefit plans, designing strategies to transform the health and wellbeing of individuals, organizations and communities.
Throughout the past 33 years, EBMS has thrived and excelled within the very challenging landscape of change in the healthcare marketplace.
In contrast to insurance companies, ASO carriers, and other third party administrators, EBMS creates unique solutions that can be tailored to meet the specific needs of clients, allowing for greater flexibility and customization.
At EBMS, clients will not be placed on hold when the call comes for immediate action.
EBMS can quickly adapt to a client’s requests and then can implement those requests in a timely manner. This unique flexibility outpaces their competition, benefitting their clients, customers and partners by allowing EBMS to:
- Strategically Improve the Financial Position of their Client’s Benefit Plan.
- Lower Costs.
- Improve the Health and Wellbeing of the Client’s Membership.
- Enhance the Value of the Benefit Plan to the Client and their Membership.
In designing a client’s benefit plan, there may be other services the client later would like their TPA to perform. This is where EBMS has a unique value proposition.
Through customized plan design, data analytics, health management programs, and a dedicated team of health and business strategists who work collaboratively to achieve better health for the organization’s workforce, and improved financial outcomes for its fiscal bottom line, EBMS offers a full suite of health management services, including onsite clinics, wellness programs, disease management and medical management programs, as well as the tools and information necessary for members to improve their health and get the best quality and value-care possible.
EBMS continually explores innovative ways to improve the lives of its customers, focusing on the fiscal health of the organizations they serve, and the health and wellbeing of every single member.
Customized and personalized customer service is where EBMS shines because it’s what they know they do, best!
Shelley Van Atta is Strategic Marketing & Public Relations for EBMS www.ebms.com
EDITOR’S NOTE: Head to ICMI’s Facebook page to view exclusive photos from the EBMS team!