Training Top 100 Hall of Fame Outstanding Training Initiatives

Each year Training magazine requires all Training Top 100 Hall of Famers to submit an Outstanding Training Initiative that we share with our readers. Here are the details of Capital BlueCross’ Exceptional Customer Care training.

Capital BlueCross: Exceptional Customer Care Training

Capital BlueCross has established a reputation of service excellence across a 21-county service area in Pennsylvania. In May 2019, Capital BlueCross received the coveted J.D. Power 2019 Commercial Member Health Plan Study award, ranking highest in overall member satisfaction among all commercial health insurers in Pennsylvania.

However, in the highly competitive healthcare market that exists in Pennsylvania, an organization cannot rest on its laurels. That’s why Capital BlueCross embarked on a strategic initiative to increase its overall focus on the Capital BlueCross Member Experience (MX) (members are synonymous with customers). In addition to critical projects dedicated to providing an effortless experience for members (such as using Alexa to answer basic questions), MX examined the skills and abilities of outward-facing employees and how they interact externally with members and internally with one another. Capital BlueCross wanted to ensure that all member-oriented roles were focused on providing an effortless experience for its members:

  • Were these individuals equipped with the skills to deliver positive member interactions?
  • As Capital BlueCross provided services across the organization, did everyone think of the member first?
  • How could Capital BlueCross make a positive difference in service delivery?

Capital BlueCross did not have to look too far to find a solution—its Sales organization already had success in building this capability. Since 2015, Capital BlueCross has partnered with Richardson to design and deliver a comprehensive training curriculum as a critical component of its Commercial Sales strategy to retain and grow existing customers. One component of the program from 2018, “Exceptional Customer Care,” received a very positive response from the salesforce. Outcomes of the course focused on Emotional Intelligence skill development and managing customer interactions more effectively with these new skills.

In 2019, Capital BlueCross decided to build upon the successful rollout of “Exceptional Customer Care” and developed a customized program with Richardson for its Retail Health and Wellness audience, which includes managers, assistant managers, health guides, and sales and service reps. The success of this program prompted another organization that contains Capital BlueCross’ Network and Contract Management and Network Strategic Implementation group to join together and sponsor an Exceptional Customer Care session.

Program Details

Learning objectives for the Exceptional Customer Care program include:

  • To develop the strategies and skills to understand and meet customer needs, exceed their expectations, and create a positive customer experience
  • To learn the Exceptional Customer Care framework to meet and exceed the service needs of customers and strengthen relationships
  • To gain insight into current approaches and skills and help participants reach the next level of customer service and communication excellence
  • To increase productivity, i.e., maximize opportunities for one-call resolution and minimize escalations
  • To learn the value of feedback to ensure continuous development of participants

The Training team interviewed stakeholders to ensure their challenges were understood and customized program content to their service environment. Role-plays were designed to mimic real-world scenarios from their everyday work lives.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the training was primarily instructor led, with a mix of online assessments and mobile reinforcement post-training. Richardson QuickCheck frequently pulses short, skill-building objects to learners for approximately 12 weeks immediately following the initial Exceptional Customer Care sessions. Reports are available to guide further coaching, reinforcement, and sustainability of the learnings for the group and individuals.


Some 61 learners have participated at various levels across multiple Capital BlueCross organizations, including Capital BlueCross Retail Health and Wellness, Network Management, and Strategy and Business operations. Through Richardson QuickCheck, Capital BlueCross has seen proficiency in certain areas improve by up to 57 percent. The skill sets that improved the most were:

  • Effective questioning skills: +57 percent
  • Commitment from the customer: +50 percent
  • Resolve objections: +26 percent

Capital BlueCross continues to invest in skill development in member-facing organizations.

Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.