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How Simplyhealth cut customer response time from 12 minutes to one with Salesforce AI

Mark Samuels Profile picture for user Mark Samuels February 18, 2024
Summary:
Simplyhealth is using Einstein and a range of other Salesforce products to power its business processes with AI so staff can answer customer queries quickly and effectively.

service

Salesforce research suggests more than two-thirds (61%) of service professionals believe generative AI will help them serve their customers better. However, Dan Eddie, Director of Customer Service at UK health solutions provider Simplyhealth, says it’s important that enterprises do not make the mistake of investing in emerging technology before they have a tight grip on the problem that they are trying to solve. 

At Simplyhealth, the senior business team came to a conclusion of where they believed AI and data could lead to better customer outcomes across key areas, such as calls, emails and administration. They also believed AI could help to support the business on its continuing growth trajectory. According to Eddie: 

Using any kind of AI or automation really has to have a purpose. And for us, about 12 to 18 months ago, I think we were inconsistent when it came to delivering good customer outcomes. So, the number one priority with AI was thinking about, ‘How do we improve our good outcomes in terms of delivery?’ Secondly, we believed the technology could help us grow at scale. We have ambitions to serve millions more customers and we need to be able to grow and scale.

He adds: 

We started to think about, ‘Well, where is AI today and where will it be in two or three years?’ We also knew that a standard, off-the-shelf omni-channel solution might only have a shelf life of 24 months before you have to go the market again because you haven’t got access to as much AI capability.

Senior stakeholder conversations centered on finding a customer-focused solution that would still be relevant in three years or more and Eddie’s team concentrated their search on big-name providers. Simplyhealth eventually selected Salesforce:

We wanted to be on a horse that was at the front of the race when it comes to capability and the delivery of an omni-channel sales service. We also wanted access to AI across all those landscapes, so that we could grow at scale, serve millions more customers, and give healthcare access to as many people as possible.

Increasing value

The company is using Salesforce Einstein for Service to transform agent efficiency with conversational AI. Staff can reply to email enquiries with a knowledge GPT-enabled response and ensure the right information is sent to customers, explains Eddie:

What AI is able to do conversationally, and from a generative perspective, is the easy lifting. It can answer the easy questions. But the human is still very much in the loop. They press the button to say, ‘Yes, that's the correct information.’ And having that kind of AI-enabled assistance speeds up the whole process for staff.

At the moment, AI-enabled email responses are focused on three commonly asked questions: how do I change dentist, how do I change my direct debit date, and how do I change address or personal details? The time taken for staff to respond to such customer emails has reduced from 12 minutes to just one. Service agents are then able to use time saved to engage with customers, says Eddie: 

They can do more complex value-adding work within our business. That’s all about looking at good customer outcomes. So, we’re using that additional time to constantly think about the evolution of customer experience, such as in the claims area.

With more time to focus on value-adding areas, the company’s staff can process claims quickly and money is back in customers’ pockets in two to three days. According to feedback, as many as 92% of customers are “very satisfied” with the claims process. Meanwhile, 84% of customer complaints are resolved within three days, which is way above average industry rates of 46%. Eddie explains: 

We've seen a vast reduction in contact from our customers because there are less bumps in the road. It's an easier and more seamless way of doing business. And then we focus on getting our human expertise involved in making sure our service is as good as it can be.

Identifying outcomes

As well as Salesforce Einstein for Service, Simplyhealth is using Salesforce Service Cloud to enable quick customer responses. Service Cloud Voice, meanwhile, produces real-time call transcriptions and summaries, which provides a single source of truth on customers. Finally, with Sales Cloud, customer leads are routed to the right healthcare expert. This broad suite of products is supporting Simplyhealth’s multi-channel approach. According to Eddie:

Our knowledge is channel-agnostic. So, today we might service information through email. Tomorrow, we can use the same information to serve customers through live chat, and we could serve this data through phone and other digital channels as well. Put this all together and you can start to see how a 24/7 AI layer can play a part in helping the customer get the answers they need.

The company has plans for further data-led change, including adding more AI-enabled email responses to customers’ commonly asked questions. Eddie says the important thing for other digital leaders who are considering leading-edge AI services from providers like Salesforce is to “just get started”. Focus on a business outcome and think about how technology helps you get there:

Your first question is the essence of where you start. So, what is the problem you're trying to solve? And look to start in a small, incubated way to explore the use of generative or conversational AI.

 

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