Guardian Life’s Head of Customer Service Technology Oleg Gurvits and Assistant Vice President for Self-Service Channels Rich Pagliarini recently joined me to share their experience and insights during our webinar, “Guardian Life Simplifies the Agent Experience with Oracle Service.”
Guardian Life is a 160-year-old distributor of life insurance, disability, annuities, and products focused on helping individuals with their health and wealth. They serve both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) customers through their general agency and broker channels.
In the webinar, we discussed the challenges they experienced with creating a unified service model and enabling agents with a 360-degree customer view. We also explored their strategic transformation to an organization that’s laser-focused on the customer and agent experience. By partnering with Oracle Service to execute their strategy, Guardian Life has experienced unbelievable progress and success.
Shifting from a product focus to a customer focus
Guardian Life’s strategy wasn’t always customer-centric. Gurvits explained the impact of their previously siloed, product-focused approach. “If you were a small business owner, you might have bought a group plan with dental coverage for your employees and life and disability personal policies for yourself. You were obviously a high-value customer to Guardian. And yet, if you had an address change, you had to call Guardian to submit that change multiple times to different call centers with different managers and different representatives for each of the products.”
As the business evolved to focus more on the customer, they knew they needed to empower agents to service a single customer with many products from different areas of the business in a unified manner.
Simplifying customer experiences requires a single view of the customer
According to Pagliarini, implementing a unified desktop that provided full transparency to agents was among their first steps toward transforming the service experience. The unified view of a customer’s interactions across the company—whether through correspondence, online, or via a chatbot or agent—enabled Guardian Life to understand and begin to anticipate future customer needs. That ability to predict future needs now allows them to offer automated self-service capabilities through various consumer touchpoints.
But it’s not only customers who benefited from this new technology. The unified desktop also dramatically improved the agent experience. As Pagliarini explained, “When you have different audiences, you have to understand how they want to work and how you can enable them to work in the best way.”
By proactively providing knowledge articles and incorporating Intelligent Advisor to pre-fill forms that typically require agent intake, Guardian Life simplified the agent experience by relieving them of searching for the information and tools needed to complete simple transactions. The result of their newfound efficiency and expertise: Agent morale improved, and they were emboldened with a newfound sense of confidence. And as the old saying goes, happy agents lead to happy customers.
Self-service was also critical for their B2B broker partners, given the frequency of their interactions, as Gurvits described it. By providing a self-service option to this segment of their customer base, Guardian Life plans to meet them on their channel of choice so they can do business with their broker community the way those partners prefer.
Positive outcomes for the agent experience
Guardian Life’s journey toward transforming its call center to a contact center began with Oracle Service in 2016, thanks to a shared vision of the future for customer service.
By introducing the unified desktop, Guardian Life created an integrated training series for agents who had previously only worked on discrete product lines. It not only helped reduce average handle time and post-call work, but it also reduced the length of the agent onboarding process and empowered agents to service cross-product customers from a single perspective for the first time in the company’s history.
The new modern user interface also positively impacted agent sentiment. Participating in the planning phases and helping determine which data and functionality from legacy systems to incorporate gave agents a vested interest in the transformation. They also recognized the investment that Guardian Life had made in them and toward their success by providing them with familiar, consumer-like applications.
The bottom line
Guardian Life’s story is one of amazing digital transformation. Their journey crossed organizations, product lines, and technologies, all with a relentless focus on both the customer and agent experience. To learn more, watch the replay.
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