Case Study Cloud Contact Centre: FirstCare

Building top-class HR support services

FirstCare elevates the member experience, call quality and compliance bar.

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At a glance

  • Customer name: FirstCare
  • Industry: Human Resource Management
  • Location: UK
  • Company size: Around 150 agents


  • Redesign customer experience from the ground up
  • Improve integration, data access and process efficiency


  • Genesys Cloud contact centre, designed, implemented and managed by Foehn


  • 150 home-based advisors enabled within 48 hours
  • 63% less abandoned calls and 30-second reduction in handling time
  • £305,000 of cost removed plus 50% time saving on quality audits
  • Fourfold reduction in employee attrition rates
  • 6% uplift in quality scores
  • Solid foundation for achieving 300% growth plan

A unique approach

FirstCare is the leading UK authority on workforce wellbeing and productivity. Since 2006, it has pioneered techniques that reduce the huge personal and financial costs of lost working days in large organisations. The business helps to identify, understand and respond to employee needs quickly, such as illness, injury or bereavement. Customers range from FTSE 100 companies in manufacturing and transportation, through to NHS Trusts and the police.

FirstCare provides proprietary management tools and 24/7 nurse-led support in order to simplify day-to-day administration and deliver real-time insights. This unique approach, combining clinical expertise with advanced data systems, enables HR and wider leadership teams to support staff, manage risk and reduce costs.

To meet the demands of a rapidly growing business and maintain its market-leading position, FirstCare embarked on a digital transformation programme. The aim was to successfully transition from a rigid on-premise solution while redesigning and improving both the member and colleague experience from the ground up.

“Any downtime or service degradation seriously impacts our clients,” said Ed Lane, Head of Operations. “As well as greater resilience we also needed improved data access, software integration and operational efficiency. So, our members could have better conversations and the right level of support.”

Proven cloud innovation

Specialist customer experience partner Foehn helped scout the market and benchmark suppliers against the company’s 15 key requirements. “Foehn’s cloud and contact centre expertise proved invaluable in helping us to get the best out of Genesys Cloud,” said John Coyne, Head of IT, Data and Compliance. “Afterwards their specialists helped design and align the solution with our processes and KPIs. For example, by ensuring service levels consistently met 99.99% availability on a 24/7/365 basis.”

Inbound, outbound, call-backs and emails are now managed effortlessly in a blended fashion from one omnichannel desktop. Productivity and member experience have been further improved by integrating Genesys Cloud with the company’s back-office systems and JIRA, a home-grown CRM platform. The payroll system will be next, another innovation that couldn’t be made before, automatically capturing extra shifts within employee payslips.

Superior advisor and member experience

FirstCare advisors and nurses typically only took a few hours to pick up the new system. “They like the new features, such as peer and supervisory support via live chat or video calls, and feel more engaged and in control when dealing with members,” said Ed Lane.

For instance, automating caller ID verification alone has saved around 30 seconds per call and slashed the time it takes staff to access information and link call recordings within the CRM system. Members have more options to self-serve and can also request a call-back or complete a short survey and leave feedback – more new services that weren’t previously possible. “Work quality has improved year-on-year with scores increasing by 6%,” added Ed Lane. “Moreover, we’ve seen a fourfold reduction in employee attrition rates, again pointing towards increased job satisfaction.”

One month’s calls in a week

FirstCare stayed tightly aligned to the COVID-19 timetable and fast-changing advice from the WHO, leading scientists, and the UK Government throughout. Indeed, it was often the first port of call for members seeking clarification on issues arising from televised daily briefings. This confusion resulted in additional enquiries from members seeking clarity on top of the heightened volume of sickness absence calls. During March and April 2020, average daily traffic rose by 70% on the previous two months.

“We had to handle one month’s call volumes within the first week, while at the same time redeploying 150 worried employees to safe home working,” recalled Coyne. “To overcome this, we adapted our protocols and care pathways on a daily basis. This included on-the-fly changes to IVR menus and messages, ensuring our team and service users always received expert advice and the latest information.”

Crucially, FirstCare digitised entire processes and introduced COVID-19 control protocols within days. “Through better call prioritisation, our nurses were able to improve triage efficiency, make more timely interventions and get members at serious risk referred quickly,” said Clinical Governance Officer Suzanne Marshall. “This undoubtedly helped save lives.”

Genesys Cloud was also used to deliver the first fully virtual absence and nurse advisor inductions.

Solid foundation for 300% growth plan

FirstCare serves multiple NHS trusts, so any drop in performance directly impacts their clients’ ability to staff safely. Near-live data is critical to ensuring these needs are met. “Through daily use of Genesys Workforce Management, our resource planning manager was able to accurately pinpoint requirements down to 15-minute segments,” said Ed Lane.

The company has laid a solid foundation for achieving its 300% growth plan. It was the first absence management provider in the UK to be ISO27001 certified. Now, twice-yearly quality audits are more straightforward. Bringing screen and voice recording together has halved the time required by an assessor to undertake an audit.

Other results included a 63% year-on-year drop in abandoned calls (excluding COVID-19 impact during March/April). Advisor and nurse occupancy levels have improved. Average handling time has reduced by 30 seconds, saving around £80,000 a year. Members can now close absences using IVR. This has cut inbound demand and costs by over £100,000, while third-party chat and email object routing has saved a further £125,000 per annum.

In the first four months, over 1,100 customer satisfaction surveys were completed, with an average score of 88.7%.

“We’ve not only managed peak demand, but also raised our game – safely migrating to home working while improving the quality, speed and effectiveness of services,” concluded Lane. “As a result, we now have a significantly more agile business model and resilient disaster recovery plan, enabling the business to navigate COVID-19 challenges and save members’ lives.”