Health Champions: Meeting point for the health insurance community

On January 23, 2018, BSI and Swisscom hosted the Health Champions pop-up event at the Swisscom Business Campus. Industry experts, among others, learned how health insurance companies facilitate digital customer experiences, and what added value they deliver for companies and customers in the keynote by Walter Lutz, Head Market Development and Member of the Executive Committee at SWICA and by Lukas Vogt, Head Business Development and Member of the Executive Board at Sanitas. Other highlights from the networking event: the new digital opportunities that automation, machine learning and voice biometrics offer, as well as the latest findings on which measures promote customer loyalty.

Open discussion

Representatives of various Swiss health insurance companies came together for the first time to participate in the pop-up event for health champions to openly discuss and share experiences on topics involving the digitalization of the customer relationship. “Since customers demand an omnichannel experience, expansion of the classic touchpoints such as phone and letter through digital communication channels is taken for granted by them. They expect the same digital experiences from their health insurers that they have been accustomed to from other sectors. New strategies and solutions are needed that benefit both customer loyalty and the efficiency of the health insurance company,” according to host Jakob Hauser, Head of Interaction Management Solutions at Swisscom.

Best Practice: Digitalization at SWICA and Sanitas

The hosts and speakers from left (Karlo Lovric (BSI), Joel Agard (Swisscom), Walter Lutz (SWICA), Lukas Vogt (Sanitas), Jakob Hauser (Swisscom) and Claude Schuler (BSI)

Staff's role in the digital transformation

“When it comes to customer interactions, the human component and competence will continue to be of major significance. Digitalization is a tool that we must provide to our employees and customers in order to remain a relevant market player and to keep up with the zeitgeist,” explained Walter Lutz of SWICA. Because customers are increasingly moving along digital channels and focusing on platforms, SWICA is committed to the digital world. The goal is to integrate all touchpoints within a single framework. BSI CRM helps maintain an overview of customers and their history as well as their next actions. The aim is to be the number one in customer satisfaction and to achieve the best “willingness to recommend” value. SWICA uses customer satisfaction surveys conducted by external providers as the benchmark basis for further developing the individual touchpoints and locations. “The step from offline to online will be planned to be market-ready. We will need to work closely with our employees. They make a crucial contribution to service quality,” stated Walter Lutz.

“Digitalization is a tool that we must provide to our employees and customers in order to remain a relevant market player and to keep up with the zeitgeist.”

Walter Lutz, Head Market Development and Member of the Executive Committee, SWICA

From “product factory” to digital business model

Lukas Vogt shared with the community how Sanitas is mastering the path from product provider without a field sales staff, to digital interaction channels with a seamless, end-to-end range. Using the “test & learn approach”, Sanitas addresses customer-focused offers and processes which enable personalized customer interactions and a digital product model through data-driven navigation. Towards this end, Sanitas redesigned all its digital channels and invested in the customer interface so as to keep its finger on the pulse among customers. In his entertaining keynote speech, Lukas Vogt did not conceal the fact that not every digital offer was a winner. Nevertheless, you should not be discouraged by such things. “Error culture and digital self-responsibility help during the transformation.” As additional success factors, the insurance expert listed the full and optimal use of data within the framework of analytics and a closely networked partner ecosystem, which facilitate a digital end-to-end operating model, such as the customer portal for on the go, the integrated app and website, and more. To keep the IT as agile as possible, Sanitas outsourced the core IT to Swisscom and established agile IT internally. “Digitalization requires new skills, which we were able to build up together with partners. We are concentrating on what we can do well and use standards from partners such as BSI in the CRM field to keep us agile”. And speaking of being agile: the CRM project was completed according to the agile SCRUM project methodology. Sanitas again has major plans for 2018: the launching of new products and digital services, the enhancing of customer satisfaction and regulatory excellence should benefit the company's innovative strength and customer satisfaction.

“BSI CRM has become the health insurance company standard.”

Lukas Vogt, Head Business Development and Member of the Executive Board, Sanitas


From chewing gum dispensers to service automation

“Everything that can be depicted in a flow chart will be done by machines in the future,” quoted Claude Schuler, Marketing Manager at BSI, from the popular author, Ben Hammersley at WIRED UK. Claude Schuler summarized precisely what automation means and what possibilities it opens up for health insurance companies in a brief introduction. “Omnichannel requires digitalization. Omnichannel means the synergistic planning, managing and controlling of the numerous sales channels and customer touchpoints available with the aim of optimizing the customer experience and business success across the various sales channels and process steps.” Bad times for contact center employees? “No! What we humans offer that machines do not is empathy; technical solutions are practical tools. At the end of all processes and sets of rules is ultimately a person, who understands the customer and assists him with honesty and compassion,” explained Claude Schuler.

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Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence and machine learning 

The health insurance experts learned just how artificial intelligence and machine learning are already delivering added value today in a brief introduction by Joel Agard, Market Initiative Manager for AI & Machine Learning Solutions at Swisscom. His company has already successfully deployed AI internally and among customers in the area of e-mail triage. The triage process is automated and wait times are a thing of the past; the system can automatically answer 50% of the questions. The unanswered questions are then automatically routed to an employee with the proper skill set. This saves time and improves the customer experience. What’s more, the triage precision rate has been boosted from 60% to 92%.

Swisscom is also a pioneer in the area of speech biometrics (voiceprint) in association with AI. Voiceprint means the customer is identified on the basis of his biometric data while he speaks; his concern is automatically routed to the right agent, thus increasing the first contact resolution rate. The biometric customer identification also saves valuable time and shortens the average handling time (AHT) – delivering tangible added value for customers and staff.

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The secret to loyal customers

Every company wants loyal customers, but what does a company have to offer to make customers want to marry them, or to at least want to be faithful forever? Claude Schuler answered this question, about which he also wrote a study in the context of his master's thesis: “Loyalty has not disappeared; it has simply become more difficult to drum up in the digital age.” To make customers ultimately love, not the service provided by the platforms and aggregators, but our company, requires measures that give rise to customer loyalty. “Recommendation,” according to Schuler, “is the highest level of customer loyalty. To make the customer your ambassador you need to stock up the enthusiasm account.” Claude Schuler listed fun & experience, status gain and extra services as examples of enthusiasm-evoking measures. Care is to be taken to make sure that enthusiasm characteristics do not quickly turn to basic characteristics, which may satisfy customers, but not necessarily enthuse them. He mentioned discounts as an example of this.

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Swisscom and BSI

Swisscom and BSI help navigate through the digital world while providing a networking platform for health champions.

Solving problems together

Positive feedback from those who took part in the first pop-up event for health champions has encouraged the hosts, Jakob Hauser and Karlo Lovric, health insurance community managers at BSI, to plan further events for the community. “The healthcare community shares similar problems. Asking the right questions and promoting dialogue contributes to good decision making, cost reductions and increased benefits,” according to Karlo Lovric. “Automation is more than just a response to cost pressures. The customer experience is equally important, and this is facilitated by automation,” explained Jakob Hauser. What might potential market positioning look like? Lower costs and sell more cheaply? Or optimize benefits and thereby boost margins? There was plenty of discussion on this topic during the aperitif that followed. The experts exchanged their thoughts and furthered ideas for winning over customer hearts. The consensus among the representatives from the various health insurance companies was that IT is playing an increasingly essential and strategic role. “Successful players in the market do not view IT as a cost factor, but as a partner and enabler in the digital world,” according to Karlo Lovric.

Interested in the next Health Champions Event?