February 05, 2013

Fremont, Mich.-based Gerber Life Insurance piloted an analytics platform from Atlanta-based Nexidia at about this time last year. Its goal was to glean insights that could improve the customer experience within the company's busy call center.

The pilot, which took place in several sprints, was successful enough to warrant a full on-premise deployment of the system, according to contact center VP Bob McDonald.

"We did nine different sprints for two weeks each working with them, and we took different areas we wanted to focus on as kind of a test run," McDonald says. "It gave us some valuable data to make changes."

Speech analytics are the major selling point of the Nexidia platform, McDonald says. For someone in his position, the ability to analyze each and every call lends credibility to the findings.

"Unlike manual efforts, like making 'tick marks' mid-call or listening to 200 phone calls, I can analyze 100% of my calls and not just a sample," he says. "It's clear and unbiased. It really got a lot of people across the co to believe in speech analytics where the data is understood and it's seen as relevant."

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McDonald identified several impacts the speech analytics have had on the contact center's performance:

1. Reducing repeat callers. "Most of the reason people called us back was that we weren't setting the expectation for how long a call was going to take," McDonald says. "So we added some statements to our premium notices to help [elucidate how long a call would take]."

2. More useful interactive voice response (IVR). "People are now going into the IVR and being satisfied by it by eight more percentage points," McDonald explains. " We added prompts in our IVR to check status of loan payment or refund checks."

3. Improving close rate on sales. " We know if you mail a packet to someone you're not going to get it back, so we want take advantage of the caller at that moment," McDonald adds. "What I look for in the sales side, is are we using the right phrases? How are we asking for the application, are we asking for payment information up front?"

4. Getting buy-in from the business to help the call center. "If they're calling me because the loan process takes too long, or something like that, what Nexidia can ID potential processes that aren't working to our greatest efficiency," he explains. I have a LEAN certified person on my team who can then take that process and use lean methodology to see where we can improve."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, ...