UnitedHealth Group: Using Social for Customer Service in a Regulated Space — Live from Member Meeting 30

Coverage of this session by Evan Perkins of SocialMedia.org. Connect with him by following him on Twitter.

2:10 — SocialMedia.org's Erin McDaniel introduces UnitedHealth Group's Senior Communications Specialist, Rachel Medina.

2:11 — Rachel: Social media and health care does not tend to be sexy. It's not as exciting as other industries. UnitedHealth serves 45M individuals and touches 85M lives and had $122.5B in revenue in 2013. It's in a highly-regulated and that's also highly complex.

2:12 — To launch the program, they asked, “What was the need?” They began a listening program to find out what was being said about them.

2:14 — Rachel: UnitedHealth's Social Customer Care 1.0 involved forming a team, service level agreements, training, creating a workflow, and lastly elevating their visibility. It was difficult and was viewed by legal as going rogue in some sense.

2:15 — Their Social Customer Care 2.0 started with finding the right people. They pulled some folks from their call center who knew about the business and social.

2:16 — Rachel: Next, they purchased an engagement platform. They wanted to add labels and audit-trails (for legal).

2:17 –The hardest piece of the operation was writing the rules for engagement. Their isn't room for flexibility or personality. They framed it around an “if this, then this” mentality. They figured out first how to evaluate and route their engagement.

2:18 — Rachel: Lastly, they figured out how to marry their call center training with their social training. They used the same nuances in the training and created as much overlap as possible, adapting to the traditional call center model.

2:19 — UnitedHealth also invited their vendors to participate in the launching of the program.

2:20 — Rachel: You can see them @myUHC on Twitter. They have standard responses that they use with two key components for compliance:

  1. You don't assume membership; and,
  2. You need to include the word “private” before you get into a direct message.

2:21 — Their social channels are to help get the conversation started. Most problems will be handled in private.

2:22 — Rachel: They are continuing to adapt to their procedures. They want to be available for all their customers and also get it moving throughout their business. UnitedHealth sat with their legal team and took the time to educate them and earn buy-in.

2:23 — Rachel sold the program as a “pilot” at first, re-allocating already existing resources. It was easier to overcome the initial hurdle and gain momentum for the program internally.

Q & A

Q: What are your SLAs?

A: Rachel: We had three areas: low-level (claim issues, etc.), mid-level (having to do with prescriptions or claim approval); high-level (life or death, you need medication, you are at the doc's office and need something approved ASAP).

Q: What are your hours of operation?

A: Rachel: We have set hours, 8 AM-5 PM CT. We are looking to expand that, but there are a lot of variables involved. We post this information publicly and I keep track of the after-hours to know what's coming for the next day.

Q: Do you work with the full customer service team?

A: Rachel: For the most part, our health advisors are the ones resolving the issues. They have extensive knowledge of how to resolve.

Q: What tools do you use?

A: Rachel: Sysomos for the monitoring and Spredfast for the engagement. I love both.

Q: Is this program just for BtoC or is it for everyone?

A: Rachel: We are trying to keep things general, and as far as the public knows we handle everything, but we do evaluate things on our end to see which of our business units needs to handle it.

Q: What are your KPIs and how do you track those?

A: Rachel: Looking at the number of reviewed tweets that go through. We will review and label how many we actively engaged with and how long it takes to get resolved positively. We use Spredfast for measuring/tracking.

Q: How do you determine who handles what on your team?

A: Rachel: We have advisors who use our “if this, then this” scenarios and rules we laid out in the beginning. If they are not sure, they usually come straight to me.

Q: Do you advertise this as a social care channel?

A: Rachel: We aren't doing a big push for it, but we are working to get it on our member portals as necessarily.

Q: Have you been able to see a shift like decreased call volume with an increase in tweets?

A: Rachel: We do not have strong enough correlation to tell at this point. However, we know that call hold-times are too long. We also can see trends as they come up and thus allocate call center resources as appropriate.

Q: What percent of your members are using social as the first point of contact?

A: Rachel: We don't have the data to show who goes to what channel first. But we do get feedback from unsatisfactory call experiences. We can then send that over to the appropriate people to affect change.

Q: What are you anticipating when you move into Facebook. Will you double staff?

A: Rachel: We recently added three health advisors (from two to five, total). We are trying to prepare for the worst, but we aren't entirely sure at this point.

Q: Did you see backlash from rollout of Affordable Health Care Act?

A: Rachel: Yes, we did get a lot of comments and mean Tweets. We simply asked people to contact their plan provider and pointed them to resources.