During the COVID-19 pandemic, SMI found itself trying to answer a complex question: how to address the emergency while planning for the future? With Flexible Contact Center, the insurance company took action to guarantee it would remain accessible by phone and strengthen its relationship with policyholders.

It is essential for policyholders to know they can count on their insurance companies in times of need, regardless of the circumstances. For SMI, specializing in group health and supplementary insurance plans since 1926, the challenge was to maintain contact with its 9,000 member companies and nearly 650,000 covered individuals when all staff found themselves working from home overnight due to the government’s measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Not an easy task given the 350,000 calls, 150,000 emails and 70,000 online requests received in 2019.

The solution: a contact center

“We were already considering changing our hotline to better serve our policyholders. The challenge was to fast-track the project following the lockdown and social distancing,” explained Didier Guichar, Head of the Project Department at SMI. An initial consultation was launched in early March 2020 to find a contact center solution. The project was deployed in record time: just ten days from conclusion of the contract to effective implementation of the solution in the homes of customer-facing employees..

Ironically, with this crisis and the need to take action, we are ahead of schedule regarding our original plan to improve our phone system.


Didier Guichar, Head of the Project Department at SMI

Answering policyholders’ calls

Despite a significant decline in the number of calls during the first few days of lockdown due to the cancellation of many doctor appointments, neither the internal PABX nor the overflow service provider was equipped to receive calls from policyholders while working from home. “We chose Orange Business because the solution was perfectly suited to our needs and had already been presented to the infrastructure and policyholder relations teams,” clarified Didier Guichar.

Not just a temporary solution

Flexible Contact Center is an SaaS solution, which can be rapidly deployed remotely. In under a week, 15 SMI telephone advisors were trained to handle policyholders’ calls from their homes. “The responsiveness of our teams enabled us to put together a project team in record time in order to provide a working solution in a matter of days,” added Guillaume Denis, Account Manager at Orange Business. Better than a temporary solution, Flexible Contact Center reduces costs because, as an SaaS solution, it requires no internal infrastructure and has many advantages, including its simple setup and the ability to add virtual positions as needed.

A scalable telephone system

This technical setup is part of a long-term project, which should be rolled out by 2021. “Ironically, with this crisis and the need to take action, we are ahead of schedule on the development of our phone system. What's more, thanks to Flexible Contact Center, we now have an interactive voice response system. Over time we will be able to add further features, such as call-back or interconnection with the front office based on the Salesforce solution.”

Maintaining contact with 9,000 member companies and nearly 650,000 covered individuals

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