Reimagining retail and customer service


Bupa has commenced the reopening of its Victorian Health Insurance stores with strict hygiene and social distancing measures in place to protect customers and staff. All of Bupa’s retail stores across Australia will be open for business by Thursday 5 November.

Victorian retail stores were temporarily closed in August as a result of the state government’s decision to introduce stage 4 restrictions to the Melbourne metropolitan area and Mitchell Shire and stage 3 restrictions to regional Victoria.

Bupa’s Acting Director of Customer Growth, Adrian Kemp said it's great to interact with customers face-to-face in stores around Australia and to see so many Bupa employees back at their usual work.

“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.

Retail staff during the April and August lockdowns were redeployed into a range of new positions including hardship processing roles with over 38,000 direct conversations taking place and digital messaging where over 100,000 conversations have taken place 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 on-hold 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.

In order to speed up service times in retail stores outside of Victoria, Bupa has also developed a ‘Virtual Consultant’ solution that has seen Victorian retail staff serve customers face-to-face in-store via video chat.

What began as a trial in one South Australian store with a single Bupa consultant has since grown into a team of 10 that provide virtual support into stores across SA, WA and Queensland where in-store traffic has bounced back strongly.

“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,” says Mr Kemp.

The first phase of Bupa’s Victorian store reopenings began on Monday 5 October with its stores in Regional Victoria (Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat). All remaining Victorian retail stores, including a new Swanston Store (195 Swanston St), will reopen on Thursday 5 November. Bupa’s Sunshine store will not reopen with local customers encouraged to visit Highpoint for all their health insurance needs.

All Bupa health services including dental, optometry and audiology are currently open with additional safety measure in place.

As government restrictions ease in metropolitan Melbourne, Bupa is also pleased to announce its support for the ‘Let’s Melbourne Again’ campaign as a Founding Partner. ‘Let’s Melbourne Again’ is an initiative led by a group of passionate organisations who are working together to rebuild confidence, creativity and hope in the city of Melbourne through a range of offers and activations.

Media reference number: 20/098