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HCF using AIRDOCS™, hosted on Microsoft Azure, for a personalized customer experience

Executive Summary

The Hospitals Contribution Fund (HCF) of Australia was formed in 1932. HCF is a leading health insurer. Each year it sends its 680,000 policyholders notification of their new premiums. This is a difficult communication that often results in complaints and even attrition.

Traditionally, they had taken a ‘one size fits all’ approach, with little in the way of tailored messaging.

AIRDOCS CEO, Greg Twemlow, commented, "Moving to AIRDOCS™, hosted on Microsoft Azure, empowered HCF to create a highly personalized customer experience. And in a streamlined and cost effective way."

Importantly, policyholders got a much clearer understanding of the price changes that affected them, accompanied by highly tailored and relevant messaging about the value of their membership and cover.

Business Challenge

Most private health fund customers expect an annual review to their premiums, but don’t look forward to it. This communication has the potential to create higher costs for the call centre due to increased complaint calls, as well as lost revenue from people who lose their belief in the value of membership.

HCF needed to notify its 680,000 policyholders about their new premiums, which would take effect on 1 April 2017. As usual, this had potential negative consequences for customer satisfaction and the business.

In the past, there had been a ‘one size fits all’ approach with only minimal tailoring of the communication. Until 2016, the communication had included both a partially personalised letter and a separate brochure with generic messaging. This was a costly, impersonal and ineffective way to deliver the message.

The Communications Challenge

The communications challenge was to help members clearly understand the changes to their premium, which were predominantly increases. To counter this largely negative news, HCF also wanted to demonstrate the value of membership by communicating the benefits in a highly targeted way.

For this to be effective, we needed to deliver a personalised experience to each one of those 680,000 policyholders, and to do that meant embracing digital technology systems.

The Solution

HCF saw the premium review as one of its key annual communications, and looked for a new way to deliver this as part of their digital transformation. HCF chose to partner with AIRDOCS in 2016 because it gave them the flexibility to manage the project in-house with the ability to make changes to the communication template and logic, without the need for external providers. This was important, because with such a time-critical project (the 1 April date of the increase is immovable), AIRDOCS made it possible to make changes quickly, right up to the “11th hour”.

The process of passing data to the Microsoft AZURE platform and back to HCF was streamlined via a high speed SFTP process, providing security and reducing the time and associated costs of moving large amounts of data.

In terms of execution, we moved from one-size-fits-all approach to a highly targeted document using details about:

  1. The policy type – of which there were numerous combinations
  2. The family type – from single parents, to families, to couples
  3. The price impact - whether they had an increase, a decrease or no change
  4. The product benefits – focusing on the ones most relevant to the individual customer

The resulting communications matrix included well over 100 unique variations across the 680,000 customer base.

All the personalised content was formatted into a single A4 document, delivered either by mail or email according to the customer’s subscription preference. The AIRDOCS platform uses the state-of-the-art CSF composition tool by FIS Global which also enables a print-ready PDF to be sent to a print and mail stream (in the case of a hard email bounce) creating time and reporting efficiencies.

The double-sided document was personalised in nine different areas – ranging from the letter and panels on the front (which provided details of the changes), to the panels on the back that supported the value benefits of being a member of HCF and the types of cover they owned. (See examples provided.)

The communication was designed and written in a more targeted way to explain the changes clearly, and reinforce the value that HCF members consistently enjoy.

After the communication was generated within AIRDOCS, these were supplied back to HCF via SFTP for loading into their Member Portal.

Benefits and Impact

  • A better customer experience – members received a highly tailored communication helping them understand that, despite a premium review, their HCF membership and cover was still great value.
     
  • Freedom to choose the mail house – because the files produced were print ready, HCF had the freedom to seek and compare quotes from various mail houses for the job each year (rather than being locked into the mail house that did the programming work as previous). This has helped us achieve a higher quality result at lower cost.
     
  • Streamlining process – the AIRDOCS platform has the capability to trigger and produce a direct mail pack where an email address bounces, which reduces data handling time between our email platform and direct mail provider.
     
  • Assisted with resourcing – HCF has a small and lean team working on this major communication. AIRDOCS provided the option for a managed service to the business as part of the offering, which made the creation and update of the documents easy. However, there is the option to manage this in-house in the future if we prefer.
     
  • Document generation logic is built within the AIRDOCS platform rather than being programmed by an external mailhouse or internal IT team.

Transformation and Differentiation

The founders of AIRDOCS had a long history in the Customer Communications Management industry, designing, implementing and supporting customers using on-premise and ASP style solutions. Frustration with the complexity, time to market and cost of these ASP solutions led to the formation of AIRDOCS as a company and a product. From the outset AIRDOCS was designed as a cloud first solution based on a Microsoft stack. Some of the key benefits / drivers are:

  1. Global reach – AIRDOCS has global aspirations and by selecting Microsoft Azure as our core platform we have instant global reach and the ability to create AIRDOCS environments within different GEO political regions to meet the data sovereignty (as well as data performance) requirements of customers in each region
     
  2. A comprehensive development platform – after much research we chose to base our architecture on .NET core as it gives us a lot of flexibility when choosing the most appropriate target platforms. The tight integration of Visual Studio with Microsoft Azure, MS SQL Server, GIT and obviously .NET have made it an ideal platform for building and growing our solution.
     
  3. High-levels of data security, sufficient to meet the needs of the most demanding customers, was a very important part of our decision to host in Microsoft AZURE
     
  4. Freedom to choose IaaS or PaaS based components. In the early stages, we chose a simple infrastructure model on Microsoft Azure to reduce development complexity. As we have rolled out the platform we are migrating more and more to Microsoft Azure PaaS services which give us access to lower costs of operation combined with high levels of performance, scalability and security
     
  5. Support from Microsoft ISV Partner programs was another key factor in our decision, unlike other Cloud providers, Microsoft actively supports AIRDOCS through their ISV programs.
     
  6. The low incremental cost of cloud computing in Microsoft Azure allows AIRDOCS to quickly scale up and down to meet workload spikes without increasing the underlying running cost of the platform.

Market Need

The solution we developed for HCF is relevant to any mid-market company anywhere in the world. Every mid-market company with more than around 10,000 customers will be challenged to access sophisticated technology like AIRDOCS. This is because traditional on-premise CCM solutions are costly, complex and time-consuming to implement and use.

AIRDOCS brings world-class CCM functionality to mid-market companies as a service. Our customers can launch campaigns in a matter of days and pay for the usage they consume. So, mid-market companies, like HCF, now have access to the technology to implement a full digital customer experience.

For more information or to arrange for a demonstration of AIRDOCS please contact our sales team at sales@airdocs.io 

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