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How our mission-driven culture led to a J.D. Power award

Every day, our 6,000 employees make customer service and satisfaction a priority, because it’s built into our mission – peace of mind through better health – and our company culture.

So we were honored when global market research firm J.D. Power ranked BCBST “Highest Member Satisfaction among Commercial Health Plans in the East South Central Region.” The region includes Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. We also earned the highest rating of any Blue plan in the country.

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J.D. Power ranks companies from a variety of industries on a number of measures through consumer surveys. For the 2017 Member Health Plan Study that assessed BCBST, J.D. Power conducted a survey from January to March 2017 and drew a sample from health plan members in 22 geographic areas across the country. Six major factors, each of which plays a distinct role in the member experience, served as the basis for our rating within the region. Those factors include:

  • Claims processing
  • Cost
  • Coverage and benefits
  • Information and communication
  • Provider choice
  • Customer service

At the heart of this ranking is our great customer service.  But how we go about providing great customer service is equally as important.

We place your interests at the center of all decisions we make. To make that a reality, all our people have to be on board with our mission, understand how they contribute and share a set of core values. This starts at the top with our senior leadership and their efforts to be transparent in their decision-making and how those decisions affect you. We make all employees active participants in that process by placing tremendous emphasis on our company culture.

J.D. Power award
J.D. Power and Associates has ranked BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee “Highest Member Satisfaction among Commercial Health Plans in the East South Central Region.”

Each year all BlueCross employees are invited to participate in an engagement survey, an important tool to measure the success of the culture we’ve established. Our scores showed a significant rise in engagement even from the high levels seen the previous year, and our employees overwhelmingly agree that our corporate strategy is centered on what’s best for the customer.

“These responses showed an outstanding level of support and agreement in areas that make BlueCross unique, including the level of pride, energy and optimism that fuels daily work efforts as well as the trust and respect our teams have and demonstrate for each other,” says Henry Smith, senior vice president of operations and chief marketing officer at BlueCross. “It’s all part of our mission-driven focus to serve the needs of our customers and plan members.”

This survey tracks our customer centricity, or the ways we put customers first. Our employees’ responses for two measures – ‘The people I work with cooperate to get the job done,’ and ‘I am constantly looking for ways to do my job better’ – exceeded the high marks reached in 2016. These results show that collaboration and continuous improvement are important goals as we strive to support our members.

From survey to service

Henry Smith BlueCross SVP
Henry Smith, senior vice president of operations and chief marketing officer at BlueCross

Customer satisfaction begins and ends with our people, and we’ve taken steps to make members immediately feel at ease when they contact us.

“We strive to connect with each person on a conversational or emotional level,” Henry says. “When a customer service rep answers a call, his or her primary goal is to listen and then ask questions. That goes a long way.”

“The member can tell that we care.” 

Leadership in numbers

As part of our J.D. Power recognition, the firm shared a treasure trove of data regarding member perception. Our strengths include:

  • 93 percent of members had their most recent problem or question resolved
  • 65 percent of members provided information only once when they contacted the call center*
  • 41 percent of members waited on hold for one minute or less*
  • 91 percent of members said BlueCross and their provider agreed on amount owed after a claim was submitted, significantly higher than the regional average of 86 percent

Looking ahead

This data has given us further insight into our members, their needs and their perceptions, and will inform future articles on Insights.

“We can use our data from J.D. Power to identify tools and resources that some of our 3.4 million members may not be aware we provide,” Henry says. “This will help us find even better ways to serve all of our members who rely on us for peace of mind.”

In other words, the trophy may be in the case, but we’re not content to simply stare at it.

*Small sample size (n=30-99)
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee received the highest numerical score among 7 commercial health plans in the East South Central region in the J.D. Power 2017 Member Health Plan Study, based on 33,624 total responses, measuring experiences and perceptions of members surveyed January 2017 – March 2017. Your experiences may vary. Visit

About Jesse Thompson, Senior Communications Specialist

A photo of the authorJesse joined the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee corporate communications team in 2017. A Chattanooga native, he has more than 15 years’ experience in content creation, management, and strategy for consumer audiences, including a six-year stint in health care marketing.

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