It’s no secret that life’s most stressful events are related to death, marital status and finances, but health and health costs (insurance) are also in the top 10. It should be no surprise then, that common emotional questions related to a Dependent Verification Audit for insurance purposes include:
- “What is this?”
- “Am I being singled out?”
- “Am I going to get fired?”
- “You’re going to cancel my kids’ insurance??!?!?!”
Because our company’s only service is auditing dependent populations, the majority of our customer service interactions begin with the employee calling in under duress. What’s hopelessly amusing is that 90% of the calls we receive can be avoided if the employee would just read the letter in their hand, but after three lines and seeing the words “unverified dependents will lose coverage” they pick up the phone and dial the 800 number on the bottom of the page. The emotional, jump-to-conclusions phenomenon is unavoidable in our industry, but that doesn’t diminish the validity of their feelings or our responsibility to assay callers’ fears, to proverbially “talk them off the ledge.”
At DSI the critical ingredient in providing appropriate, delicate, patient customer service in Dependent Audits is building and maintaining a company culture around the Golden Rule. As HR professionals we regularly examine language of letters, website language, even the way we answer the phone. Every day we ask the question: “How would I feel about this letter/conversation/email?” If that becomes stale we ask, “How would I want my mother/brother/sister to be treated?” The result is a commitment to three guiding principles: Empathy. Respect. Accuracy.
Empathy is the ability to relate and feel what the stressed caller is experiencing. Empathy is not to be confused with sympathy, which is to feel for someone but not with someone. Empathy determines the tone of one’s voice when speaking with a stressed caller. There are no facial expressions via phone so conveying an empathetic tone is critical. When an agitated caller feels empathy through the phone, the common reaction is to calm down because he/she knows they are being heard.
Respect is a natural by-product of practicing the Golden Rule- we all want respect. All DSI employees exhibit respect not just in what is said on the phone, but also through low phone call hold times, getting to the point of each call quickly, and meeting time commitments such as return calls or email responses. DSI also respects the assumption of goodness in each caller, making no comment when employees voluntarily remove fraudulent dependents from coverage.
Accuracy stems from a desire to respect our clients’ employees but also from the simple fact that no one likes incorrect information – Golden Rule. Aside the legal importance of providing accurate, timely information, providing the proper information to employees minimizes employee time spent on complying with a dependent audit. Accuracy conveys credibility and with it, trust.
Follow the Golden Rule
The Golden Rule is alive and well at DSI, supported by the tenants of Empathy, Respect and Accuracy. Please put us to the test, just read the letter before calling. 🙂