Health Insurance Group

“The rationalisation which has taken place in this industry over the last number of years, has really squeezed our margins and things are likely to get even tougher, when new legislation governing this sector, is introduced next year. Yes. We need cost reductions; but more importantly, we need to increase our sales and we need to improve our Customer Service.Our sales people are not generating enough contacts and are not making enough sales from the few contacts which they generate. With respect to our Customer Service Centers, a recent survey shows our queuing times to be excessive and our Customer Service levels to be poor”.

Overview of Changes

At the start of the Project the average Salesperson conducted 1.3 Sales Visits per day. Although Salespeople were largely paid on commission, with 120 Salespeople divided into 10 groups, and with a Supervisor in charge of each group, the costs of sales was totally unsustainable. However, the Project Brief required that the productivity of the salesforce be increased as opposed to seeking headcount reductions; which drove the establishment of an in-house telesales operation.  Within 3 months the target of ensuring that each salesperson would undertake a minimum of 4 Sales Visits per day had been surpassed with the additional cost of Telesales being off-set by paying a reduced rate of commission on sales resulting from leads provided.

Regarding the Customer Service Centers, studies established that the average waiting time was running at 20 minutes across the 13 centers and at peak times they were routinely overcrowded and very unpleasant places to visit. Following on an initial study, a target was established to attend a minimum of 80% of Customers within 5 minutes.

The purpose of the centers was to sell Prepaid Vouchers for Medical Services and to reimburse members who had already paid themselves. A typical center had 8 to 10 Customer Service Personnel out front and an Admin Team of 5 to 7 staff in the back but visible to the public; all of whom reported to the Manager of the center

Given that the Ticket Dispensing System was capable of recording the time at which a Ticket was dispensed and the time when the ticket number was called, reports were designed which formed the basis for the management of waiting times. The next step was to merge the Customer Service Staff and the Admin Staff into a single Customer Service Team.  Thereafter, the most critical KPI’s for the Centre Managers were based on Waiting Times and Available Time per Customer.

The immediate impact of the change was to improve Waiting Times, and within a couple of weeks, and in some cases a matter of days, the original target of attending 80% of Customer within 5 minutes or less had already been achieved. In addition, by the end of the project, the headcount at the centers had been reduced by 28 Full-Time-Equivalent-People and the 3 worst-performing Sales Supervisors removed.



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Barry House
County Longford