Payroll and health care benefits are one of the largest aspects of operations management and human resource management for any business. For Third Party Administrators (TPA), communication with policy holders and beneficiaries should be accurate, direct, and simple. To maintain both safety and efficiency, it is important to find an alternative to call centers.
A TPA company working with operations management needed a way to effectively communicate payroll and benefits information. Typically, this information was handled by employees in a call center. However, using a call center proved to be expensive and problematic for the most frequent customer questions around balance inquiries for their FSA (Flexible Spending Accounts) and healthcare claim status.
In addition to potentially wasted time, the call centers may were a high expense for this TPA company. According to CostOwl, the average cost for a call center staff is $30 per hour. If you’re receiving 30 calls per hour, then each call costs 50 cents. That seems like a very small amount of money, but multiplied by thousands of customers makes it add up very quickly and it becomes a harsh overhead cost for customer service. Conversely, it costs 1 cent to send a SMS message, which would have only cost the TPA company 30 cents per hour (that’s 99% savings!).
Use Case for Operations Management
The TPA company wanted to find a simpler, more efficient and cost effective way to deliver FSA balance inquiries and insurance claim status updates. To answer those frequently asked questions such as “How much is my payroll each pay period?”, a simple gateway SMS message can be sent directly to the staff member and bypass the call center altogether. This eases the call volume at the call center – allowing for the calls that truly require a person to be answered faster – while still delivering the information needed from staff members in real-time.
The 2 goals that this TPA company had were to reduce costs and improve the customer service experience.
First: Reduce costs for the TPA company by decreasing the call volume in their call centers. While call centers are a valuable resource, they can cost thousands of dollars per week for a business so being thoughtful about best uses of them is important.
Second: Create a better customer service experience for the policy or account holder. The average wait time for a call center is 56 seconds and it steadily increases. And nothing is more frustrating than waiting on hold for a simple account inquiry. SMS can improve the customer service experience and reduces potential security breeches. Information is passed securely from one technology platform to the specific person, using the SMS platform as a delivery channel, rather than having a specific person search for it and verbalize the information over the phone. Fewer people accessing the information means a lower liability for information breech.
The TPA company implemented a Gateway SMS campaign so that healthcare, benefits, and payroll information can be accessed via text message using a keyword. Operating completely from their own platform, the TPA company uses our SMS platform to deliver account balances, new payments, and other FSA information. The SMS campaigns are setup using SMS API calls, so the TPA company can completely operate using their own platforms. It’s setup once and no further work is needed to maintain it – easy and affordable. This lowers call volume for the call centers and simplifies overall customer interaction.
Using SMS for healthcare benefits and other personal account inquiries has been fruitful for the TPA company that is using 3Seventy’s platform. By leveraging the campaign creation features in the platform and through the SMS API, they can craft their own messages to best compliment their existing messaging. The number of contacts in the customer database have more than doubled over 18 months – from 3,900 in 2014 to 8,673 in 2015. The company sends over 1,000 messages each month, which is a potential cost savings of $1,000 per month. Overall, the cost effective use of SMS has reduced dependency on call centers.
Operations management greatly benefits from making these small, but impactful, changes. It is important for staff or customers to get the information they need quickly and in a secure fashion. With SMS integration to payroll and other account management, things are simplified for both the business and the beneficiary.