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[September 3, 2004]

Health Plan Clicks to Talk



BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina (BCBSSC) has implemented CrystalVoice Communications’ Click-To-Talk (CTT) solution, enabling more than 40,000 registered users to receive priority customer service by placing live calls to BCBSSC over the Internet. BlueCross BlueShield is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, and CrystalVoice (newsalert) is a provider of Voice over IP ( VoIP) (define - news - alert - tutorial) software solutions, providing applications for enterprise communications, e-commerce, customer relationship management, conferencing, distance learning and enhanced telephone services.

The CrystalVoice product will allow BCBSSC to help modified behavior, enabling physicians to attain information before reaching the call center. The licensed software can be downloaded from CrystalVoice’s Web site, requiring only two hours of training. It can be accessed anywhere there is Internet access to achieve such actions as limiting the time spent on patient referrals and other correspondence.

The solution provides the opportunity for doctors, or other Web site visitors, to click a button, and be immediately connected over the Internet to the resource they need. Click-To-Talk puts intelligent software at both ends of an Internet connection, according to CrystalVoice president Steve Zola, enabling high-quality voice transmitted over the Internet and other unmanaged networks to a remote or contact center agent, an after hours support line, a teleconference involving numerous speakers or other destinations best supported by immediate voice communication.

The Product’s Pursuit Outside of the Doctor’s Office

For use other than physician provision, CTT’s integration with CRM tools and collaborative applications aspires to improve efficiency and reduce costs, and its user-interface provides for branded company identification. Additionally, a keypad interface is provided to allow interaction with ACDs and other interactive voice response systems.

Outside of doctors using the solution, CTT aims to strengthen customer loyalty through increased dialog, as well as provide a cost effective, value-added communication option. The service, according to Zola, can also improve targeted marketing efforts by enabling more effective email campaigns, as well as to enhance customer satisfaction by responding quickly to the customer’s needs.

CTT allows the user to experience full-duplex, high-quality voice over the unmanaged Internet or any unmanaged network, even over low-bandwidth and degraded network conditions. The company provides high-quality voice communications, even if an end-to-end Internet connection of only 8 kbps is available.

CrystalVoice wants its VoIP solutions to create the possibility of improving customer satisfaction by way of providing direct voice contact for Web visitors. The VoIP software provider has sought to do so by enabling customers to click a button to talk directly to a contact center agent through their PC so that they can get the help they need while completing an e-commerce transaction or attaining online support.

Although voice quality is a key component of Click-to-Talk, the ability to traverse complex, corporate and personal firewalls and make optimal use of the audio components on the Web visitor’s PC are also critical. The CrystalVoice Click-to-Talk solution provides advanced firewall support and an easy-to-use, installation wizard for audio management to address these issues seamlessly.

David R. Butcher is Assistant Editor for Customer [email protected] Solutions. He believes BCBSSC is too long an acronym without vowels, although it pales when compared with the world’s longest acronym: NIIOMTPLABOPARMBETZHELBETRABSBOMONIMONKONOTDTEKHSTROMONT, which does have vowels—numerous, in fact.


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