Distinguishes its High-Tech Support with MAGIC®

Working at a technical help desk can be a thankless and frustrating job. However, with the help of MAGIC, associates at HealthPort are realizing their effectiveness and customer appreciation.

HealthPort, a fully owned subsidiary of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of South Carolina, provides comprehensive information management software and services for the healthcare industry. In the crowded marketplace it is important to stand out, not only in terms of products but also in service.

Service is the Key to Differentiation in Technical Support

In the competitive technical support industry, a major way to differentiate is through offering exceptional customer service. According to Karen Hardy, manager of Computer Services, “We had decided that for us to distinguish ourselves from among the many technical support companies out there, we had to be the best in customer service and support.” To become the best they began researching their customer service training options.

Prior to initiating Communico's MAGIC Service Culture Initiative, a team from HealthPort visited the Colonial Life Insurance Company to participate in a presentation to see what MAGIC was all about. While there, they saw first hand the enhancements MAGIC could make and the benefits of working with the experienced Communico facilitators. Karen describes, “Once we saw the difference it (MAGIC) made for them, there just wasn't any other choice. Communico worked so closely with us to ensure success. Every contact we had with Communico was so positive, we knew we had to have that experience at Companion.”

Introducing, Accepting, and Reinforcing a MAGIC Culture

To create a buzz about the upcoming programs, a training fair for all support staff introduced MAGIC. Initially the staff was reluctant and nervous about being monitored and having to adhere to a checklist—the 33 Points of MAGIC. Other staffers balked at being taught how to be nice to people. One particularly skeptical manager commented, “I thought MAGIC would be a waste of time. But I have to say, it is the best class I have taken in my entire career.”

After the completion of the two-day program, the staffs' fears and skepticism were replaced with excitement. The technical support staff in particular began to realize the importance of good communication skills coupled with solid product and system knowledge. After the first few classes, others across HealthPort were asking when they were going to experience MAGIC.

The key to the success of the program was getting the managers and top-level executives involved from the beginning. Upper management endorsing the customer service culture reinforced the MAGIC training, making it that much more effective.

Managers were required to complete both the two-day program as well as the Coaching program. As a result, they learned the skills needed to monitor and coach the support staff consistently while modeling the MAGIC principles themselves. Each month the coaching team gathers for calibration meetings to ensure that the calls are being monitored on a consistent basis and continuous improvement is being reinforced. These meetings also give managers a chance to share best practices and work out any issues.

The results have been tremendous. According to Karen, “MAGIC has made a significant difference for us. Before our support team started the training, we only heard from our customers when they were angry. Now, we get letters on a daily basis thanking us for the level of service we provide. They're saying things like: ‘I appreciate what your support person did for me.'” These letters are posted on HealthPort's “Wall of Fame” as reinforcement for the entire company to see how their hard work is paying off.

Making Every Interaction MAGIC

“One of the greatest internal benefits of the MAGIC program is that everyone sees that we are all customers,” adds Karen. The highly technical staff did not realize how MAGIC applied to them as they do not interact with the public. As Karen describes it, “They now see how using MAGIC makes such a positive difference in relationships with co-workers and ultimately, our customers.”

“Our two trainers, Linda Howard and Roxana Kahn, are so excited about the MAGIC program that they incorporate the practices into everything they do—even at home,” adds Karen. Their strong belief in MAGIC has influenced all who have taken the program. They have created such a buzz that the employees who have yet to experience MAGIC are clamoring for spots in upcoming training classes and “graduates” are asking for refreshers.

The results are serving the organizational goals according to Karen: “As more and more learn the MAGIC approach, our employees are building an outstanding service culture.” This service culture will ultimately be a differentiator for HealthPort and allow them to stand apart from their competition.
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