Business Consulting Services—Omni-channel customer engagement success stories

The Standard makes plans to improve CEX.

The Standard partners with Nuance Business Consulting to create a strategy for improvements.

Company profile

Standard Insurance Company, through its subsidiaries marketed as The Standard, is a leading provider of financial products and services. A publicly traded, 106 year-old company based in Portland, Oregon, The Standard has a workforce of 3,300 employees and sales and services offices located in major cities across the United States. Serving more than eight million customers nationwide with employee benefits, retirement plans, and insurance products, The Standard generates over 1.6 million inbound contact center calls related to eight different product lines on an annual basis.

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When Nuance came in, they didn’t just look at opportunities for IVR and inbound and outbound speech applications. They sat with us, listened to our agents, and looked at everything. They looked at all of our data and the capabilities of our existing IVR. They even commented on the empathy of our customer service agents, which I really appreciated.

David Payne
Assistant Vice President of Contact Center Operations
The Standard


  • 17 different call centers stretched out over multiple product lines and leaders
  • Using outdated IVR platform with many sub‑menus that were cumbersome to navigate



  • In one case, average menu navigation decreased from 3.5 minutes to 30 seconds
  • Benchmarking about standards for IVR and Web CEX
  • Identified future state capabilities


Through its contact center operations, The Standard is committed to delivering world-class service to its customer base while actively supporting the corporate goal of increasing market share. After all, world-class service is not just an empty promise for The Standard; the company backs its commitment to service level guarantees for its customers. The Standard will refund a percentage of the customer’s premium if the Service Level Guarantee is not met. That’s strong incentive to continually ensure the quality of each and every contact center interaction.

Founded in 1906, The Standard has experienced more than 100 years of growth, expansion, and product diversification. As a result, when David Payne joined The Standard in 2009 as assistant vice president of contact center operations, the company was maintaining 17 different call centers, stretched out over multiple product lines and leaders, using an outdated Periphonics IVR platform. Because groups across the company continually requested the addition of new IVR menu prompts to meet specific product line and service requirements, many sub-menus had become cumbersome to navigate. This added unnecessary, unproductive time to each phone interaction, often when the caller needs assistance desperately, potentially compromising the overall customer experience.

“When an individual is calling us, they are usually in a time of need,” said Payne. “The majority of the time we’re dealing with people that have found out they’re going to be out of work. They may have been diagnosed with a disease, they may be taking care of a loved one, or perhaps they can’t make their mortgages and can’t take care of the family. So empathy is something we really try to provide through our interactions. We don’t measure handle time because it just isn’t a good driver for us; it sends the wrong message to our employees and our customers.”

After evaluating the state of The Standard’s contact centers, IVR technology, and other supporting technology, Payne decided to engage a consulting organization to make recommendations for improving caller interactions and the overall customer service experience in both the short and long terms. The Standard chose Nuance Business Consulting for their consulting needs.

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