At ShoreGroup, we work as a trusted advisor to a number of organizations in the health insurance industry in customer care. Insurance is an industry that has been under tremendous financial pressure to limit their spending on administrative and “overhead” costs as compared to direct care payments, and unfortunately disaster recovery planning falls into the former category. However, these preparations are critical to ensure they are able to continue to serve their members, especially in times of crisis.
When Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast of Texas, one of our health insurance provider partners was severely impacted: their main customer care center is located in downtown Houston, and was hit hard by the storm.
Thankfully, their contact center core systems were designed with disaster recovery in mind — utilizing the unique Cisco “active-active” redundancy model — so their core systems were split between data centers in Dallas and Las Vegas, and were not impacted by the storm. Although their main site was under water and none of their contact center representatives were able to get in for weeks, they were still able to provide valuable services for their members.
The insurance industry was an early adopter of self-service technologies, using automated interactive voice response (IVR) systems to provide members 24/7 access to their claims information, eligibility status and automated policy updates.
Even without customer care representatives in their main site, members and doctors’ offices were able to use the automated systems to access information and ensure their members were able to access the care they needed in their provider network. Because many Texans had lost access to their homes and personal items, including insurance cards and member numbers, the self-service allowed their members and providers to receive benefits information and request authorizations for care directly without speaking with a representative.
The Cisco contact center platform also allows for easy deployment of at-home or remote agents using cell phones or home phones, so that if your team is not able to come into an office but still has power and network connectivity they can work. With a major disaster on the scale of Hurricane Harvey, having this option for employees who were evacuated early to continue to provide customer service is key to the disaster recovery strategy.
Here at ShoreGroup we begin every implementation with a detailed design session to review and plan both the business and technical aspects of the solution, with a critical view on disaster planning. Our design experts are well versed in the options for the Cisco contact center solution from having geographically redundant data centers for core system components, self-service applications to provide important member information 24/7, to the mobile/remote worker option to ensure employees can continue to deliver superior customer care even in the event of a disaster.
Want to ensure that your business is prepared in all disaster related situations? Download our new whitepaper to learn how to set up an IT disaster recovery plan.
Chris Klardie is the director of our contact center professional services team at ShoreGroup. He has over 25 years of experience with the Cisco contact center platform, including 17 years at GeoTel and Cisco in the contact center business unit and advanced services teams. He has worked on some of the largest global designs for Cisco and managed their Assessment-to-Quality (A2Q) program as their global solutions architect.