CNH Care + Zendesk: Building empathy-driven customer relationships
End-to-end healthcare solution provider Connect and Heal has always prioritized customer experience. When call volume reached an all-time high after the COVID-19 pandemic, the company decided to move everything in-house and upgrade to Zendesk for better quality control. This simplified ticket resolution and created unprecedented transparency across customer experience touch points. Agents now handle twice the workload without wasting time on menial tasks and customers receive resolutions faster.
Agent productivity is up by 50 percent, which results in agents spending more time solving customer queries.
Assistant Vice President of Customer Experience - CNH Care
Number of employees
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increase in agent efficiency
less hold time on customer calls
During one of the hardest times in his life, Sanjay Vinayak was spending his time navigating a broken healthcare system. Experiencing this lack of support firsthand inspired him to start Connect and Heal (CNH Care) eight years ago. Today, the company is the first port of call for its customers, integrating primary and preventative care under one roof and providing seamless connections to healthcare services.
Helping customers during times of crises
Ensuring that its customers genuinely feel cared for has driven the company since day one. Things like sending two ambulances in an emergency (while only billing for one) or an agent taking the extra time to pacify a caller make a world of difference. “One of our agents received a call asking to reschedule a lab diagnostic test,” recounts Linish Theodore, assistant vice-president of customer experience at CNH Care. “When asked if there was any particular reason for rescheduling, the caller said that his house had just burned down. The customer was still very distraught and our agent decided to stay on the phone until the customer calmed down. That wasn’t in their job description, but our agent decided that it was what they needed to do, simply because it was the humane thing to do. This is the kind of care and empathy we want every customer to feel when they reach out to us, no matter the circumstance.”
Addressing the customer’s most urgent needs is clearly what matters most to CNH Care. “If a customer is calling us, it’s because they’re dealing with a health crisis and something has gone wrong with their support plan. We don’t want them to worry about finding a solution. That’s our job,” Linish explains. “We want every customer who calls us to have a concierge level of personalized support.”
Providing that kind of response, though, had become challenging. A massive influx of daily calls after the COVID-19 pandemic began to overwhelm CNH Care’s customer support team. Information wasn’t being tracked effectively and calls were getting dropped. “We found discrepancies between the number of calls and the number of tickets. It wasn’t a consistent error but one that we couldn’t resolve with our previous software provider,” recounts Linish. “This discrepancy led to some callers not getting the proper attention they needed.”
The increase in call volume also necessitated scaling operations quickly, which CNH Care struggled to do with multiple third-party agencies. The company decided to look for a new tool that would bring everything under one roof, enabling its agents to deliver exceptional customer care.
Empowering employees with access to the right tools
This is when Zendesk came into the picture. Having used Zendesk in previous roles, Linish knew it would offer exactly what CNH Care needed. The company proceeded to move all its support services in-house on the new Zendesk Suite.
In May 2022, CNH Care began onboarding 210 customer service agents to the platform. The company also provided around 400 Zendesk light licenses to other teams, facilitating information flow and improving response times. Everyone from sales, account management, operations, tech, and design—staff that might be tapped to address specific concerns raised through customer service—could now be immediately alerted to customer concerns that require their attention. And because Zendesk is integrated with the company’s telephone provider, customer service agents can track progress and update customers in real time.
Amplifying agent efficiency with increased functionality
Most of the organization is now on Zendesk and has gained visibility on the entire customer care value chain. Moreover, each team has its own customized dashboard to track open tickets and action items. This one change has doubled agent productivity in CNH Care, thanks to shortened communication and coordination times.
The new setup also ensures that calls no longer fall through the cracks. “When a call comes in, a ticket with all the customer information pre-filled in and previous interactions opens automatically” Linish explains.
CNH Care has also added proactive support to ensure that callers don’t waste time waiting for customers to reach out. If a customer isn’t connected to a doctor as per the scheduled doctor appointment, a ticket is generated and the relevant team is notified. The customer care team then helps the doctor and patient to connect immediately. Another automation monitors dropped calls and facilitates a call back from an agent within a 4-minute window.
Building customer trust with greater transparency
With this newfound visibility on tickets, agents can focus immediately on building a rapport with the customer. It has also made the call experience more seamless. “Customers’ time on hold was reduced by more than half and the average time spent on a call has also dropped by 25 percent” says Linish.
This visibility also enables agents to be more proactive in providing service updates. “Customers don’t like being kept in the dark,” Linish explains. “So when we see there’s something we can’t fix immediately, we are honest about it and let the customer know. Giving updates reassures customers that we’re working on the problem. It allows us to set expectations and communicate that we are still working to resolve their issue.” Customers have appreciated the transparency, with the company’s CSAT scores rising to 96 percent.
Reaping the benefits of richer, more accurate data
One of the biggest changes Linish made was connecting an API to export all the information collected by Zendesk into an external data warehouse. This data is then sorted and displayed on custom dashboards, providing agents and other staff with valuable, actionable insights.
With newfound access to accurate data, Linish and his team can now identify and fix the biggest problem areas for customers. “If we have a customer who’s called us three times about the same issue, we’ll see it on the ticket. Then we know we haven’t done a great job the first time they called, so we go back and figure out how we can do better,” says Linish.
Putting together reports for customers has also been simplified. “Before, if our corporate clients needed a report, we would have to prepare it and collect missing data manually,” explains Linish. “That would take hours, or even days. Now it’s just a matter of accessing the details on the dashboard, exporting it and sharing it with the customer, all within a few minutes.”
Going forward, the company has plans to leverage additional features including conversational support. The CNH Care app will be revamped and equipped with multiple new tools and microservices that will create a more proactive approach to health care. “With Zendesk I’m not distracted with finding information but focused on having a conversation with the customer. It helps us prioritize providing empathy and care, which is what’s most important in our line of work,” says Linish.