Automated application process delivers 70 per cent cost reduction
05 September 2012: Kcom has helped the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), the organisation that provides critical central services to a range of NHS bodies, to make over £700,000 in cost savings through the introduction of an automated application process for European Health Insurance cards (EHIC). The solution, designed specifically for NHSBSA, is able to process applications using complex speech recognition software.
Since 2006, UK residents travelling within the EU have had to apply for an EHIC to make sure they can receive the same level of healthcare provided by the country they are visiting. These cards are valid for five years and therefore the NHSBSA needed a cost effective way to handle both large numbers of calls and variable levels in call traffic.
Within two years, NHSBSA achieved a saving of around £600,000, by handling the majority of applications on the automated system and reducing the need for contact centre operators to handle calls.
Following a high profile campaign around the benefits of having an EHIC this summer, the system was able to handle the notable peak this summer and NHSBSA was able to cope with the demand.
NHSBSA realises significant cost savings with an application for a renewal costing around £1.40 if carried out by a call centre operator. Automated applications reduce this cost by 70%.
Brendan Brown, Head of Customer Service and Innovation at NHSBSA says “Since the solution was implemented in 2009, there has been around a 60% increase in the completion rate with renewals, which can largely be attributed to the solution. Applicants are finding it easier to apply for or renew their cards; there’s less need on the operators part to assist. As a result, the cost savings have continued to be impressive, as a majority of the transactions are done via self-service.”
The solution is based on a ‘payment per transaction’ model, developed especially for NHSBSA by Kcom. To maintain a focus on continuous improvements to the service, Kcom only receives payment when a caller successfully completes their entire application on the automated system. The focus therefore is on making sure the system is as intuitive as possible.
“Kcom promised us cost savings, as well as an enhanced customer experience and that’s exactly what they delivered. It’s proved so successful, that we recently renewed our contract with them.” continues Brendan. “Importantly, this system has freed up the time of call centre operators so that they can focus on the other services we deliver that are best delivered through a contact centre.”
Suzette Bouzane-Meadows, Head of Contact at Kcom, says: “This voice recognition solution has been successful due to the robust platform that we use to deliver this service. We understood from the beginning what the biggest challenges were for the NHSBSA. We’ve designed a service that is focused on improving the customer experience as well as delivering significant cost savings. We’ll continue to work closely with NHS BSA to further develop the solution to meet the increasing demand.”