The claims industry is dedicated to taking care of people, so front-line customer service roles are among our most critical jobs. The functional name may differ across organizations — call center, service center, contact center — but the challenge of attracting, engaging, and retaining early-career professionals for these essential roles is rather universal. These issues must be addressed to mitigate business risks and foster the kind of experience we strive to create for our clients’ employees and customers who reach out to us for assistance.
Sedgwick has undertaken an enterprise-wide initiative to tackle these challenges and elevate the level of our front-line customer service, with the twofold goal of benefitting our colleagues and the individuals we serve. Here, I’d like to highlight some of the progress made thus far and lessons learned on our journey to transform our contact center operations into what’s now known as the Sedgwick care team.
As a first step, we sought to update our naming conventions to better align with our organizational purpose and reflect the important work these colleagues perform every day.
When Sedgwick first introduced its contact center operations, teams were co-located in traditional call center environments; today, most of our customer service colleagues work remotely. “Center” is no longer an accurate representation of how and where we operate today.
Further, our company is driven by the idea that taking care of people is at the heart of everything we do. It’s important that this organizational purpose statement resonate with our customer service colleagues, so they feel personally connected to our collective mission. To perform at their best, they must appreciate the vital role they play in the overall claims process by acting with empathy and helping people in their time of need. They are often the first voice our clients’ employees and customers hear after something unexpected disrupts their lives and they need Sedgwick’s support to make things right again. As one of the first touchpoints with our claims process, it’s essential that our team delivers an experience inspired by caring.
To emphasize this core focus, we’ve repositioned our contact center operations as the Sedgwick care team. We’ve also updated our job titles, transitioning from service center representatives and team leads to care team representatives and leads. Doing so has given our care team colleagues a greater sense of pride and ownership in their work — which, in turn, promotes higher levels of engagement and retention.
It’s also beginning to open new doors for Sedgwick as we work to recruit the best and brightest talent. Positioning our roles as part of the care team is helping us attract candidates with backgrounds in caregiving and who are also looking at jobs in healthcare. People who understand the importance of a good “bedside manner,” active listening, social awareness and empathy are exactly the kind of colleagues we want taking care of our clients’ employees and customers.
Putting our team on the path to success
Language does matter, but we know it takes more than updated naming conventions to effect meaningful change. We have also revamped how we onboard and train new members of the Sedgwick care team. While our previous orientation program focused primarily on the technical details of the job, we’ve now added to our curriculum more on the claims journey as a whole and the important role the care team plays in shaping the user experience from the outset.
When people reach out to Sedgwick for assistance, it’s often because of something unwelcome — a medical diagnosis, auto accident, workplace injury, property damage, death in the family or to care for a loved one. We interact with people during trying times in their lives, and they are turning to Sedgwick to help them get back on track. Our care team is charged with providing first-tier support as caringly, effectively and efficiently as possible amid difficult circumstances, with the hope of turning a negative occurrence into a positive experience. The new colleague training program we’ve implemented better highlights the critical role of the care team in delivering on Sedgwick’s promise that caring counts.
We have also retooled how we support our care team colleagues so they can perform at their best. We’ve made sure they have quick and easy access to information needed to authenticate a caller’s identity based on data from their employer or insurance carrier, as well as to a knowledge bank with answers to commonly asked questions. Additionally, we’ve significantly improved our mentoring and management programs, with an eye toward ensuring colleagues receive the resources and support they need to succeed at work while maintaining a sense of balance and purpose.
The journey continues
We’ve already made tremendous strides in taking the Sedgwick care team to the next level, but our journey is far from over. I am most excited about the company’s investment in a leading-edge, multichannel and highly customizable telephony platform that will further enhance our service capabilities. (For more details, see Tech forward in the latest issue of our digital magazine, edge.)
In addition to providing a better and more tailored experience for our clients’ employees and customers, this seamless and user-friendly platform will also help to reduce technology-related stress among our care team. This, too, should support greater job satisfaction and colleague retention — ultimately helping the team deliver more empathy and understanding. Clients and colleagues will be hearing more about the implementation of our new global telephony platform in the months ahead.
We are fully committed to bringing the best people, technology and processes to our care team, so that we can bring the best of Sedgwick to your employees and customers. Taking care of people is truly at the heart of everything we do, because caring counts.