72 million conversations, $6 billion in premium submitted
Your Bloom Call Center Team
Bloom’s investment in both people and process is focused on creating an environment that produces the best possible programs for our client. At Bloom, we believe in dedicated teams so any agents assigned to your team are yours exclusively. Years of experience show that dedicated agents will form an identity with your offerings and brands so that your message to your prospects, whether from you or Bloom, is always consistent.
A few of the areas where we are engaged in continuous improvement are as follows:
At Bloom, we take the regulatory aspects of insurance very seriously. As such, we have implemented a full compliance program since our inception.
We have developed and refined our program over the years to ensure we walk in lock-step with current regulations. By holding ourselves to the same standards expected of a plan sponsor, we aim to detect, correct and prevent fraud, waste and abuse through precise implementation of our compliance plan.
Bloom has a dedicated team focused on Quality monitoring, reviewing calls for Sales effectiveness, compliance, information accuracy, and customer experience. The Quality team calibrates with our clients weekly to ensure that the highest quality standards are upheld and that we are in-tune with client standards and goals. In collaboration with each client we create a custom QA profile against which individual and team performance is measured, internal and client reporting is provided, and trends are identified.
Quality data is used to track high level trends which may identify the need for program-wide action, such as more training, as well as scores and trends at the individual level. Coaching and feedback is provided directly to agents, identifying both successes and areas for improvement. Program and/or Floor Managers deliver call audit information to team members, allowing them to listen to associated call recordings where warranted. If call reviews involve a score which falls below the required benchmark corresponding action ranging from side-by-side coaching and/or re-training occurs. Following audit delivery, an audit form is signed by both the Manager and the Agent and returned to the QA team who archives the form for reporting purposes. Next steps are determined by continual monitoring.
Peak agent performance is vital for any successful sales campaign, and that’s why Bloom has focused extensively for years on the development and implementation of its quality programs.
Bloom works closely with clients to implement plan-specific quality programs and has a well documented history reflecting those efforts. Client-specific branding begins with meticulous training of Bloom agents to be the client’s brand. At Bloom, our agents are your brand!
Quality and Compliance Manager Symone Bradley is passionate about quality performance and has been certified by the American Society for Quality. Her efforts have played an integral role in the creation and implementation of Bloom’s quality programs.
“Quality is a marriage between three concerns: being an advocate for our Agents, fulfilling the client’s needs and ensuring callers have the best possible call experience,” Symone says.
Current Bloom quality programs include call review and scoring, agent coaching, reporting, trending and calibration. Each program is adaptable to mesh with a client’s existing quality program or can be configured to implement a new program.
Just as every quality program offers flexibility, each quality program also fits seamlessly into Bloom’s “culture of compliance.”
Compliance is part of Bloom’s corporate DNA and there is no better illustration of our commitment to compliance than the company motto, “Do No Harm.” Compliance is a team effort involving every Bloom employee emanating from the top down.
Bloom believes the key to a successful compliance plan is to prevent the occurrence of violations in the first place, and that begins with comprehensive communication, training and adherence to Bloom’s internal quality standards.
It is through awareness of applicable laws and regulations consistently taught in training and monitored through Bloom’s quality analytics that agents understand the “do’s and “don’ts” related to their daily responsibilities.
Bloom conducts comprehensive random and risk-based call monitoring and analysis of its agents. All Bloom calls are recorded in their entirety and are available upon request. Any identified compliance issues are managed through Bloom’s internal corrective and disciplinary action policy. Documentation of any compliance violation is archived and kept audit ready for Bloom’s clients.
Symone Bradley’s roles overseeing both Compliance and Quality give her a front row vantage point, ensuring that the high standards of Bloom and its clients mesh with all applicable regulatory requirements and that Bloom agents meet their fullest potential.
Training Bloom agents and establishing best practices for contact center agent success.
At Bloom, we believe that excellent education and training provides the foundation for success in all of our programs. In today’s insurance environment, it is critical that agents not only thoroughly know the products they are marketing but the rules and regulations about how to market. Beyond this, they also have to know how to relate well to customers, learn their needs and help place them in products that are suitable. The key to success in our telephonic sales environment is thorough training in the knowledge and skills necessary to accomplish these goals.
Our dedicated Education staff is there to ensure that these goals are met through initial training of agents in each program and thorough follow-up trainings as needed. We have a dedicated training room with computer work stations and our own intranet training environment for housing courses and testing. Our staff works closely with all Bloom departments to keep abreast of ongoing training needs and to respond to these quickly and effectively.
Whether we are conducting training provided by a client or implementing training we have developed, the Bloom Education Department delivers results. Our clients and our agents consistently rate our training as highly effective. Our agents are happy that they can get all of their questions answered to do their job effectively. Our clients are pleased as we are always available to discuss questions or concerns regarding training. We also provide thorough and timely feedback about training and test results. More importantly, our department’s success is measured in Bloom’s overall success of delivering results in all of our programs.
The “how to” may evolve from year to year, but the role of the Bloom Education department remains constant: To imbue every agent with sufficient Medicare, product and compliance knowledge and wed that with demonstrable sales/customer service skills.
“Every year we have a foundation of knowledge we have to communicate and confirm that Agents have absorbed,” says Bloom’s Senior Education Specialist, Chris Jaffe. “Each year we review our training to see how we can best help Agents integrate knowledge and practice skills that are essential to their success on the job.”
There are a lot of required skill sets that Bloom Agents must master, including comprehensive knowledge of Medicare and Medicaid, product knowledge, compliance regulations, how to navigate different software applications and websites, follow a phone script, engage callers, and how to sell plans and provide customer service support.
“There is less emphasis on memorizing information and more on where to find information. Much of our training involves giving Agents ample core knowledge to remain compliant and instruct them where to access specific information when on the phone,” Chris notes. “Agents have to master a body of information as well as the soft skills like how to communicate effectively to prospects,” he adds.
Chris says the Education department has learned how to break material down and help the Agents learn by practicing and doing so they can more easily pull together the relevant skills to do their jobs well. “We’re focusing more on incremental learning. We provide an overview of the basics of Medicare, and once they learn the basics we move on to specific details of Medicare and Medicaid, product training and learning the soft skills,” he says.
One area of focus is script training. Agents learn how to effectively navigate a script so they remain compliant, while simultaneously engaging the caller and moving toward the desired result. Agents know that in order to be effective they must engage every caller while investigating plans, communicating plan details accurately and in a manner that callers can understand – all while achieving the program’s goals and remaining compliant.
“We tailor our sales or strategy approach to our client needs. It’s important that Agents learn to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of the industry,” Chris explains. Throughout the training process the Education Department stresses the value of needs assessment and exploring what is important to prospects.
The Education Department is also involved in developing and delivering training/retraining as needed throughout the calendar year. When the Education staff isn’t busy training newly licensed Agents and reviewing compliance changes with veteran Agents, the staff works on developing courses for Continuing Education credits that must be approved by the Indiana Department of Insurance. The department has had multiple courses accredited the past three years.
Staying ahead of the industry curve is formidable, but Bloom’s Education department is up to the task. As Chris sums it up, “Bloom recognizes the important role training plays as we evolve and grow as a company responding to the needs of our clients.”
Supporting contact center needs and our technology vertical with innovation.
Kirk speaks a language all his own. He also speaks French and even spent time teaching English in France before he came to Bloom. He has created IT solutions for direct response marketing environments since 2003. His interests lie with information technology security, particularly open source, open standards and technology security. Kirk’s pragmatic nature prompts him to search and find the right tool for the multiple tasks he’s routinely assigned.
Heading a department of IT professionals—Kirk’s team brings technological innovation and efficiency to every departmental function within Bloom. Kirk’s staff works closely with department leaders to ensure that everyone’s technological needs are met as expeditiously as possible.
Kirk has a passion for all things technological and his talent is in helping non-technological people to work smarter and more efficiently by utilizing technology appropriately.
Between the hiring of prospective agents at Bloom and training them to become top performers, agents-to-be are required to run the licensing gauntlet. Bloom’s Licensing Department administers this entire process from A-Z.
Bloom Licensing and Staffing Manager Keri Tabor administers all aspects of the agent licensing process, from pre-license training for new hires and trainees to certification of those who become licensed agents. In addition to overseeing the state pre-licensing certification course, the department also oversees the administration and management of state licensing for all Bloom agents as well as licensing for the agency by state and communications with the respective Secretary of State authorities.
Keri is also tasked with reviewing and scheduling ongoing staffing needs, and forecasting future staff needs based on historical data analysis.
Bloom’s Licensing and Staffing Department also maintains an internal database that houses licenses for all agents, including Bloom, and generates a monthly report querying upcoming license renewals companywide. This carefully structured internal process also allows Bloom to maintain address and name changes for agents and stay current on license renewals for any furloughed agents.
To reinforce our commitment to excellence in caller experience, Bloom maintains a performance management program and a progressive discipline process that takes proven steps to remediate poor work habits and poor performance.
Our Operations team takes a daily look at call center performance metrics and KPIs (including enrollment count, conversion, average handle time, etc) and identifies any outliers. Those identified are provided opportunities to re-train, coach and improve. Agents exhibiting inappropriate language or demeanor with a caller are immediately dismissed; essentially a ‘zero-tolerance’ position for unacceptable behavior. Depending on the outcome of the coaching, performance improvement plans are used to identify and address the issue and if the problem persists disciplinary actions are delivered as warranted. Our Managers see performance statistics in real time and give on-the-spot feedback as much as possible. Bloom also utilizes an agent scorecard, which is reviewed in one-on-one meetings with agents weekly to discuss performance. It’s important to understand why an agent is underperforming to engage the appropriate level of attention and follow up. We utilize a variety of coaching methods including side by side coaching with a manager, engaging the quality department or training department for help with deficiencies and to establish a ‘Performance Improvement Plan’ (PIP) where needed. Generally, the increased focus and attention on an issue results in the agent’s performance improvement. The PIP documents and outlines performance issue, sets expectations, and reviews next steps. PIP forms are signed off on and passed along to Human Resources for the employee file. Unless the performance is improved, the discipline progresses up to and including termination of employment.