J&B Medical Supply Automates 75k Conversations a Month with AI Virtual Agent
J&B Medical Supply provides medical products to patients, caregivers, health systems, clinics, and first responders. Since they handle sensitive patient information, J&B must comply with HIPAA regulations, which, in turn, means a long and complex authentication process. By partnering with SmartAction, J&B was able to automate authentication, order status, reorders, and more – saving call center agents 75,000 conversations per month and revolutionizing the customer experience.
Success by the Numbers
In accordance with HIPAA regulations, J&B Medical has a multi-factor authentication process for all callers. Since many of the patients J&B serves cannot make calls for medical reasons, the typical call could be from a caretaker, nurse, or family member. This poses a problem when the caller does not have patient information readily available—and creates a frustration user experience with long authentication times that take human agents an average of three minutes to complete.
In addition to the complex authentication process, J&B found it challenging to retain agents and expensive to hire, train, and retain new agents. Unable to sustain their agent churn in the Detroit area, J&B had to turn to an outsourcer to help offload call volumes.
In cooperation with J&B’s customer service team, SmartAction developed a HIPAA-compliant, comprehensive automation approach that incorporated industry best practices J&B’s human agents had been using.
The authentication self-service solution uses natural language understanding and artificial intelligent to triangulate three pieces of patient data out of a possible six to eight. These data elements positively identify the caller. Since some of the data points are not always top-of-mind (e.g., Patient ID), the system simultaneously asks for one of two data elements to increase the odds that the requested data is something the caller knows. When a caller does not have some piece of information, the AI-powered engine can move on to ask for a different element.
In just a few short weeks after going live, callers were engaging with the AI virtual agent on 96% of calls, and almost ¾ of those callers were fully authenticated without being transferred to a live agent. Callers not fully contained within self-service were seamlessly transferred to live agents as a failover. Any data gathered was passed along to a human agent to ensure excellent customer satisfaction.
Self-service authentication took less than half the time it took agents, reducing handle times by more than two minutes. By automating approximately 75,000 agent calls per month, J&B experienced a 65% cost savings to their call center.
With so much call time offloaded from the call center, J&B Medical Supply no longer had to suffer the heavy expense of agent churn related to new hires and training, nor did they need to outsource any of the work. Due to the ordinary course of live agent attrition, J&B Medical Supply retained their most valued agents and got better use from them by focusing their efforts on overtly complex conversations beyond automation.