Bupa starts reopening Victorian retail outlets with new innovations

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Bupa says it has commenced the reopening of its Victorian health insurance stores with the adoption of strict hygiene and social distancing measures to protect customers and staff.

It said all of its Australian retail stores will be open for business by Thursday 5 November.

Bupa temporarily closed its Victorian retail stores in August as a result of the state government’s decision to introduce stage four restrictions to the Melbourne metropolitan area and Mitchell Shire as well as stage three restrictions to regional Victoria.

Bupa’s acting director of customer growth, Adrian Kemp, said the company welcomed the opportunity for face-to-face interaction with its customers across Australia.

“While temporary closures have interrupted our ability to support people in-store at different times, we viewed these interruptions as opportunities to innovate and reimagine customer service.

“With a focus on career development and boosting our customer service capabilities across all touchpoints, we upskilled our most of our staff with three or four new digital capabilities. This allowed us to work flexibly and meet customers changing needs,” said Mr Kemp.

Bupa said it had redeployed its retail staff during the April and August lockdowns. They were moved into a range of new positions including hardship processing with over 38,000 direct conversations taking place and digital messaging with over 100,000 conversations over iMessage and WhatsApp.

“With so many Australians working from home, we saw more people take advantage of digital messaging which enabled them to avoid commuting to retail stores and potentially being put onhold when calling our contact-centre.

“By meeting our customers where they are, we have been able to help customers through what has been an extremely challenging period while also increasing satisfaction levels,” said Mr Kemp.

Bupa said it has also developed a ‘Virtual Consultant’ solution that has seen Victorian retail staff serve customers face-to-face via video chat.

“When it comes to the in-store experience, engaging with the customer and reading their reactions is really important as staff can pick up on concerns or misunderstandings and provide reassurance where needed through reading subtle facial expressions.

“To date, the response has been extremely positive with many customers noting that it was just like speaking to a physical person... This is a great example of how we have adapted, innovated and laid the foundations for the future over the past 6 months,” added Mr Kemp.