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Mission Report: Blue Shield Continues to Improve Customer Satisfaction


Blue Shield of California is making progress to improve member satisfaction with its products and services, with the vast majority of its members saying they rate their customer care experience as 9 or 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, according to the nonprofit health plan’s 2018 Mission Report.

It’s all part of the health plan’s efforts to become its members’ trusted advisor, says Blue Shield’s Vice President of Customer Experience Operations Michael Bassett. “We are pleased with our progress, but we also recognize there is still room for improvement and we are committed to making meaningful strides to improve our customer experience so our members can focus on their health and wellbeing,” said Bassett. “We’re serving more members than ever, and they tell us we’re on the right track.”

Blue Shield’s membership grew more than 5 percent in 2018, surpassing 4.3 million members. Membership has increased by more than 35 percent over the last five years, from 2.9 million in 2013. During this period of rapid growth, Blue Shield’s customer satisfaction scores increased for the third consecutive year in 2018. The company also reported a 13% drop in overall complaints in 2018 from the previous year.

Member satisfaction scores, 2016–2018

The chart below shows the percentage of Blue Shield members rating their customer care experience as 9 or 10 out of 10.

customer satisfaction graphic

Efforts to improve member satisfaction at Blue Shield include a combination of investments over several years to develop customer care personnel, modernize policies and enhance the company’s digital customer experience offerings to match consumer expectations.

In 2018, more than 7.7 million member interactions took place on Blue Shield’s digital self-service platforms such as its member website and mobile applications – comprising more than 57% of all customer contacts. And members say they like these digital customer experiences. The Blue Shield of California mobile app is one of the highest-rated health plan products on Apple’s App StoreSM, earning 4.8 out of 5 stars with more than 4,000 reviews.

“We will continue to expand these convenient options to delight our members even more,” Bassett said. “But it’s not enough to be high-tech. We have to be high-touch as well.”

Moving forward, the company is focusing on making its services and products more personalized to meet the healthcare needs of its members as individuals. For instance, the Shield Concierge program features a dedicated team that includes customer care representatives, registered nurses, pharmacists, and other providers who coordinate individualized solutions for members and help manage complex healthcare needs. More than 500,000 plan members were served by Shield Concierge teams in 2018, achieving an even higher 82% satisfaction rate.

Blue Shield of California provides an array of personalized tools and services that empower its members to have a better quality of life. This approach also helps the health plan better understand what’s important to each member, advocate for their health and well-being, support them in their time of greatest need, and create an emotional connection with members so they choose Blue Shield for life. Bassett says, “This goes beyond simply insuring our members; it creates a true, trusted partnership.”