Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Self-Service for The Affordable Care Act

On Tuesday, October 1, 2013 the health exchanges opened for the first time. The White House expects 7 million uninsured people to sign up during the six-month enrollment period. According to a recent Yahoo News article (Healthcare Exchanges Open Tuesday: What You Need to Know), 45% of people polled by Kaiser said they had heard “nothing at all” about the health insurance marketplaces mandated by the law. News all over the nation encouraged participants to “call” and ask questions. The news casters reassured the public that call centers were ready to take their calls. And of course, callers to the federal call center reported long hold times.
Typical Questions – but this is just the beginning
§  What is the health insurance exchange?
§  Do I have to buy health insurance on the exchange?
§  How much does it cost?
§  How do people enroll?
§  Can the insurance prices change?
§  Will the enrollment website work?

The high level pieces of information found in the media or on websites are challenging to interpret. The public, as well as businesses, are affected in different ways. For example, rates and regulations vary by state; rates can change; and when more information is necessary individuals can read the full law for more details. The general public will be forced to call.

Why Self-Service?

The White House expects 7 million uninsured to sign up during a 6 month enrollment period. This does not include the addition of millions of people who just want information about the law and visit the site for research purposes. It also does not include the frequent return visits to the site for clarification on what is covered.

Virtual Agents have long been used to reduce the load and cost of the typical call center by encouraging end users to help themselves. During peak seasons, new releases, and in times of the unknown, consumers ask questions that can often be resolved online. Since Virtual Agents have become more popular,  the public is more comfortable with using such technologies not only as personal assistants, but to find quick solutions for customer service, support, and shopping.

Benefits of a Virtual Agent/Self-Service

Health service providers, insurance carriers, and pharmaceutical companies are now empowered to leverage Virtual Agents to answer questions related to the new Affordable Care Act. Virtual Agents help these businesses and non-profit groups to:

§  Be ready for the call spikes, and questions related to the Affordable Care Act
§  Respond to questions that could have Legal implications if answered incorrectly.
§  Respond 24x7. Knowledge about healthcare is mandatory, and we need it right now; especially when it involves small children, the elderly, or those with pre-existing medical conditions.
§  Communicate in multiple languages. Although English is the native tongue in the United States, Spanish and Asian among other dialects account for a large majority of your audience.
§  Understand what the public wants to know. Leverage built in metrics to analyze the most Frequently Asked Questions, identify areas for growth, and take advantage of opportunities to learn more about your audience.
§  Adapt rapidly. Not only can Virtual Agents learn from conversations, but by implementing VAs on a website, changes can be made quickly. No need to wait for website publishing cycles - a secure login to the VA provides the opportunity to make instant updates easily.             

Trusted brands across various industries have implemented Virtual Agents to reduce call center costs, increase Customer Satisfaction, and capture actionable intelligence. In a recent survey, 88% of respondents agreed that self-service tools had a major impact on resolving issues, and would likely recommend self-service such as a Virtual Agent to others.
When live chat is unavailable, when the phone queue is too long, or for quick information and guided help, Virtual Agents are ready.

About noHold Inc.

noHold is a privately held company established in 1999 and is headquartered in Milpitas, CA, USA (Silicon Valley). noHold is the acknowledged leader in Virtual Agent solutions with a mission to deliver real answers to real questions - real fast. Simple to use, easy to implement and as close to human as you can get; noHold turns automated customer support into cognitive customer interaction. noHold customers include Cisco, Lenovo, Dell and a host of industry leaders.


Helpful Resources:

§  For more information about the Affordable Care Act visit US Department of Health & Human Services

© Copyright noHold Inc. 2013 All other product and service names are the property of their respective owners. This document is an independent publication and should be used for research purposes only. noHold is not affiliated with The US Government, The Affordable Care Act, or any other entity mentioned herein.