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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee dials up phone outreach

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee (BCBST) has chosen Eliza Corp. to provide customer outreach call services as part of its new effort to be seen as a “health management” company.

With Eliza, BCBST will enact various phone campaigns designed to encourage customer health and wellness. The first of these automated, personalized campaigns — a message about avoiding the H1N1 virus — will reach BCBST’s 3 million members this fall. Other topics broached by the campaigns will include chronic condition management, preventive screening reminders and medication support. By engaging customers and informing them of BCBST’s resources, the campaigns are expected to improve member retention.

“We’ve been moving away from being simply a company that pays health claims to really focusing on being personal health advocates, and that involve a lot of outreach,” said Scott Wilson, public affairs manager, BCBST. “We need to get better and be more agile at reaching out, and this falls under that goal.”

Eliza and BCBST use customer data and analytics to ensure that calls apply to customers and meet their specific needs. Chris Hardy, manager, Blue Systems Integration, BCBST, added that in any campaign, there’s always the option to transfer callers to a live agent. “That fits into our personal health advocacy mission, where based on how they answer certain questions, we may want to transfer consumers to a health coach,” he explained

Because the calls are informational, not marketing-related, they are not affected by the FTC’s new telemarketing sales rule amendments regarding prerecorded calls. Consumers can opt out of the call program at any time.

Hardy added that informational outreach is definitely a trend in the healthcare space, as insurers and healthcare providers move to be more responsive to customer needs.

BCBST has used Eliza and other vendors for outbound call campaigns before but has not had a single house vendor for such services. Manual phone outreach, postcards, surveys, member newsletters and e-mail round out BCBST’s customer outreach strategy.

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