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Bill Review Survey – Takeaway Number One

The three top takeaways from HSA’s 2018 Survey of Bill Review in Workers’ Compensation and Auto are:

  1. It’s all about customer service
  2. Analytics are lacking
  3. Medata leads the pack

We’ll dive into customer service today, and discuss the other takeaways later this week.

From the Survey’s Executive Summary:

The importance of customer service cannot be overstated. At a time when the BR industry and payer community are looking at e-billing advancements, connectivity, and predictive analytics to make BR faster and more efficient, customer service rose to the top of the list when discussing or scoring the most important aspects of BR.

Whether we were asking “are bill review vendors differentiated?”, “how important is customer service”, or how respondents ranked individual bill review vendors, customer service kept coming up. Whether respondents outsourced bill review or processed bills internally using a third-party application, whether their companies were large or small, operated in a single state or nation-wide, customer service and variations on that theme were pervasive.

For example, one may well think bill review is a commoditized business, where vendors compete on price and relationships. Fully 2/3rds of the 30 respondents believe bill review vendors are differentiated, primarily by responsiveness, customer service, and a sense of partnership.

Stepping back, this is not surprising.

In any commoditized market, the customer who believes they are being listened to, serviced promptly and competently, that their vendor/partner really cares about the relationship and is always looking to add value, will view that vendor as a partner – a key differentiator.

In non-commoditized businesses, buyers don’t care nearly as much about customer service. Think Apple; people stand in line for hours if not days to buy their latest tech because it can do all this innovative stuff, has a really great camera and screen, can store a gabillion photos…(and many of us love to show off our latest toys to jealous friends). And often that tech has bugs and costs a fortune and shatters when you drop it and battery life sucks and it is obsolete in months… (Disclosure – I’m an iPhone, Mac Air, and Mac desktop user…but I’ve never camped out at a Store)

Or Tesla.  Costs a mint, one has to wait months to get the car you want, software can be buggy, getting service is a pain in the neck, charging is NOT easy or simple or readily available in many places…Yet lots of people buy Teslas.

I know, there are deep psychological/emotional reasons we humans want to own iPhones and Teslas. That doesn’t negate the key point here – people buying highly differentiated products don’t care about customer service.

Service can be THE differentiator in a commoditized business.  

Tomorrow, data analytics.

What does this mean for you?

Much of workers’ comp – claims, medical management, insurance, related services – is pretty much commoditized. I would argue  – and the research clearly indicates – that differentiation is not only possible, but critical to your company’s survival and success.

3 thoughts on “Bill Review Survey – Takeaway Number One”

    1. Hello Jon – good to hear from you.

      I appreciate your belief in my objectivity; thanks for that. I’ve worked hard to build and maintain that reputation, and your comment is both rewarding and humbling.

      As you’re obviously on top of my customer relations, I’m sure you are very much aware that I also work with York, Mitchell, Genex, and other firms in this space.

      Be well – Joe

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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