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  • Steve McEwan

Human Centered Customer Service

myHSA is known for having unparalleled (client’s words, not ours) customer service. The foundation of this customer service? Our live chat, with human beings. The best investment we have ever made.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned while growing myHSA is how important human-centered customer service is, and how it can differentiate our company in a call-centre and wait-time-heavy industry. Prior to co-founding myHSA with Tim Kane, I worked for him in a commercial and group benefits brokerage. I was the only employee on the group benefits side of the business, but Tim had probably 10 or more employees on the commercial broker's side, so the company was a pretty good size. While there, I quickly realized that Tim was maniacal about amazing customer service. Exceptional customer service must be priority number one for the company to succeed. At that time, I didn’t hold that point of view. I thought that there were other aspects of the business that were more important. Later, he sold that business. The two of us started myHSA, and we found ourselves situated on the front lines. Suddenly, I was converted to the belief that good customer service is paramount. This is when we made it the pillar of the myHSA experience. Now, we are often told that our convenient, empathetic, friendly, and fast customer service is what sets us apart. We are thrilled that we’ve been able to scale this model throughout the years. It’s almost unbelievable that we maintain this standard without even having a phone number.

In this industry, it’s incredibly rare not to have a call centre. When myHSA started, our rollouts were albeit a bit messy, so having a phone number would have kept Tim and I glued to the phone all day if that was our only option. To be honest, we didn’t even have staging (testing before a feature is rolled out). We relied completely on live chat to answer our customers, and it worked. We made ourselves completely available. I mean 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It was not ideal, but we knew we needed to buck up and do it.

Tim and I were juggling chats together on a constant basis. Any time of night, during the weekend, and for all questions – it was Tim and I answering. Sometimes I watch old videos of my kids in their early years, and I can hear the chat notification in the background. How sad is that!? But that was the reality. In 2016, we hired our first employee to take some of the pressure off of the two of us during the day. Fast forward to 2023: we now have a whole department of chat experts, covering all hours of the day, every day of the year. Agents are trained in-office on all aspects of the platform, accounts, reports, CRA rules, covered items, user types and so much more.

So, to summarize, here is why I think live chat has been our best investment yet:

  1. When users are faced with a bug, glitch, or issue – they can receive real-time assistance and our support team can feed those issues up to our tech department for immediate resolution. This means that rollouts that go sideways can be ironed out as soon as we find out, and the issues that arise will affect the minimum number of users as possible. There is no need to submit a ticket for something that needs to be fixed immediately, the communication is direct and prioritized.

  2. Chat sets us apart in an industry where wait times are usually 5 business days or more. When a user opens the live chat, they are connected to a real human being who is specially trained to answer their questions immediately. Our average chat resolution time is 6 minutes, and a huge portion of our chats are solved within that 6 minute. Only a small fraction need to be redirected elsewhere. If it’s about a claim, it gets sent to adjudication for investigation. If it’s about a deposit or withdrawal, it will be directed to our accounting department. If it’s technical, it gets solved by our IT team. We are able to maintain a same-day turnaround for almost all issues (sometimes 2 to 3 days if something requires more precision.)

  3. Call centres are a waste of everyone's time. Let’s be honest – listening to bad jazz while on hold is not a recipe for a good customer experience. Not only do our customers have no wait time, but the information we require to investigate their accounts is already displayed for our agents so that they can find the user profile and answer their questions right away. There is no need for a preliminary questionnaire. We just ask a security question to confirm the user, and then we can dive into resolving the issue or answering the inquiry. Our average response time to a chat is 30 seconds. Try achieving that with a call centre.

  4. Chat allows us to see what the user is seeing (to an extent). We can’t view the user’s screen, but we can ask for screenshots. We can follow the same flow on our test domains. We can look at the resources or dashboards to see what the user is referring to. We can provide instructions with visuals for the user. This allows for a level of precision in guiding the user that is just not possible over the phone or email.

  5. Most importantly – chatting with a human means that our customers are going to get a personalized, empathetic experience. When customers are coming to us, they are putting trust in us that their claims will be handled with care, their company information is secure, or their health concerns are remaining private. It’s a vulnerable place to be, and it makes speaking with a human in real-time so important. For example, “How do I add a dependent, we just had a baby last month” is met with “Congratulations! Here is how to do that…” instead of a boring and canned answer. That human connection is integral to the myHSA experience.

We have always said the one thing we would never outsource is chat. The #1 thing we hear from our users, especially advisors, is that our live chat is our greatest asset. Every year, we usher in one or two new team members to our live chat team. Most of our employees started in a chat role, and the years they spend in that role are packed with experience. Eventually, chat agents are the most up-to-date on all aspects of the company, and are answering internal questions almost as much as customer questions.

Steve McEwan

COO & Co-Founder


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