Client Story


AGIA reduces handle times and costs—while improving member experience

AGIA is the largest privately held third-party broker, marketer, and administrator in the affinity marketplace. For over 60 years, it’s been the insurance and member benefits partner to some of the country’s largest and most iconic associations and organizations.

With a company philosophy of “right member, right product, right time,” it’s no surprise that customer experience and contact center performance are pivotal to their overall business success. But in 2021, when their previous contact center platform impeded their agility and ability to evolve, they partnered with Sharpen.

Why AGIA Chose Sharpen

In 2021, the AGIA contact center leadership team underwent an extensive vendor evaluation, including Sharpen, Five9, TalkDesk, Genesys, 8×8, NICE CXone, Vonage, and Evolve IP.

The top reasons they selected Sharpen include:

1. Intelligent self-service IVR capabilities to empower more customers to help themselves, increase efficiency, and improve the member experience.
2. Improved, agile platform administration enabling contact center managers to make changes to routing, scripts, and more without support.
3. Stronger CCaaS partner to ensure AGIA’s contact center has personalized support to innovatively transform now and into the future.

AGIA contact center background

The AGIA contact center team is comprised of two unique teams with one common goal: to deliver a seamless and fantastic member experience.

The Member Benefits team’s 18 agents support insurance servicing contacts and handle over 250,000 calls per year.  “These can be any interaction during the entire life of the member’s product or policy—from initial inquiries to processing payments,” explains Travis Lechner, Assistant Vice President of Member Benefits and Operations.

Meanwhile, the Telesales team has ten agents that support customer service calls for non-insurance products and drive sales of AGIA’s Emergency Assistance Plus product. Though both teams are based out of AGIA’s Phoenix-based Member Experience Center, the leadership team has adopted a hybrid approach. “We consider ourselves a hybrid work model—we do have some agents working in the office if they choose to, but as long as agents perform well, they can work from home,” shares Travis.

That’s why a cloud-based, agent-centric platform that enables agents to work flexibly from anywhere was a key consideration in their contact center platform evaluation.


Average handle time



Average hold time




Estimated savings per year


“Previously, we needed vendor support to make changes to call flows and even turn on emergency messaging. With Sharpen, my team is about 97% self-serve.”

Travis Lechner, Assistant Vice President of Member Benefits and Operations

Increased agility with self-serve contact center operations

Everyone who’s worked in a contact center knows that the only constant is change. From fluctuating contact volumes to power outages and unexpected marketing campaigns, contact center agents are on the frontlines and expected to deliver consistent service regardless of the circumstances—and AGIA’s contact center is no exception.

However, their previous platform, EvolveIP, hindered their ability to pivot quickly in the face of change.

“Previously, we needed vendor support to make changes to call flows and even turn on emergency messaging, and with their two- to three-day SLA for those types of changes, our agility was greatly hindered, ” explains Travis. “I remember a time when the power went out in our building, and we couldn’t even turn off our call routing!”

Now, Sharpen’s low-code omnichannel workflow builder, Sharpen Logic, enables managers on Travis’ team to create efficient customer workflows with clicks, not code. In just a few clicks, they can build or refine their customer journey. Travis also shared that when the two “Sharpen gurus” on his team do reach out to Sharpen Care, they not only get their problems solved quickly but the Sharpen team shares helpful tips and recommendations to avoid the issue or handle it themselves in the future.

Empowering agents with transparency and flexibility

One of the many factors keeping Travis at AGIA for almost fourteen years is the transparent organizational culture—and that transparency permeates to the contact center. That’s why empowering agents, managers, and supervisors to monitor performance in real time is critical to both AGIA’s contact center performance and culture. However, when AGIA’s team started (and then continued) working remotely in 2020, agents could no longer see contact center metrics projected on office wallboards—losing their visibility into performance.

Now, with Sharpen’s Performance Tiles, agents can quickly see their performance against AGIA’s most important metrics, motivating their performance and enabling them to course correct. All contact center stakeholders, from agents to senior leaders, also have access to Sharpen Insights to get more extensive real-time insights into performance metrics.

“We have a bunch of Insights reports that our leaders look at every single day,” explains Travis.  “So agents see their performance daily. When they get their personal and team month-end performance numbers, there are no surprises.”

This transparency and empowerment—coupled with AGIA’s hybrid work model—contribute to the contact center’s outstanding five-year average agent tenure. “We haven’t had a new hire class in two years, and I think that has a lot to do with our culture and tools.”

What three metrics does AGIA have on Performance Tiles?

1.  Average Wrap Time
2. Average Talk Time
3. Average Hold Time

Improving handle times and savings

AGIA’s clients—companies like Veterans of Foreign Affairs and the American Optometric Association —contractually require that AGIA’s contact center deliver on specific service levels (SLAs) and completion rates. For example, answering 90% of phone calls within 60 seconds and completing 97% of interactions.

Failing to meet those commitments not only impacts the customer experience but also comes with potential financial penalties, making these AGIA’s most critical contact center metrics. However, those high-level metrics can often feel vague and intangible for agents. That’s why Travis and his team focus on the discrete metrics agents can impact.

“We look at the KPIs that agents can impact and control that impact SLA. For us, that’s average handle time (AHT), after-call work (ACW), percentage of calls put on hold, and schedule adherence.”

Travis does share, however, that average handle time isn’t a “hard” KPI but rather a range that agents work to stay within and that the workforce management team can use for forecasting. “We found years ago that if we treat AHT as a hard metric, agents spend too much time looking at the clock and rush the calls—sacrificing quality and customer experience,” he explains.

Even without managing AHT as a hard metric, the AGIA team has decreased average handle time by 12% since implementing the Sharpen platform—resulting in an estimated savings of over $87,000 or 1.5 full-time equivalents (FTEs) per year. The main improvement drivers include:

  • Sharpen analytics and reporting so managers and supervisors can monitor—and act on—AHT and other performance metrics in real time.
  • Performance tiles ensure agents never lose sight of their goals.
  • Improved routing, helping ensure that customer contacts get to the right team the first time.
  • Easy-to-use, intuitive agent interface helps agents handle interactions more efficiently.

“It’s been really evident that with Sharpen, it’s more of a partnership than us just being a customer. In addition to ongoing communication with our customer success manager, we have quarterly business reviews where we analyze results, discuss the Sharpen roadmap, and strategize AGIA’s contact center future. We know we’re heard and supported—and that’s huge.”

Travis Lechner, Assistant Vice President of Member Benefits and Operations

Future-proofing operations with a solid CCaaS partner

The team at AGIA knows their future member experience will look drastically different from today’s. From self-service IVR to advanced digital and omnichannel experiences, the leadership team wants to be transformation-ready—but they knew they weren’t with their previous vendor.

“From 2016 to 2020, our previous vendor kept telling us they were ready to integrate our contact center platform to our client management database, InSpro, so we could implement a self-serve IVR. But when it came down to it, they couldn’t.”

In talking to Sharpen, Travis and the team realized they could integrate with InSpro, implement self-service IVR, incorporate new channels, and so much more. For example, Sharpen’s open APIs would enable them to easily integrate across their current and future tech stack. They also got insight into Sharpen’s robust, innovative roadmap and learned that investments in artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies meant AGIA would be well-positioned to incorporate new capabilities and compete in today’s competitive market.

“It’s been really evident that with Sharpen, it’s more of a partnership than us just being a customer,” Travis explains. “In addition to ongoing communication with our customer success manager, we have quarterly business reviews where we analyze results, discuss the Sharpen roadmap, and strategize AGIA’s contact center future.”

Additionally, when the AGIA team makes feature suggestions or enhancement requests, the Shapen team listens and acts. “We’ve had a couple of times that we’ve told Sharpen, ‘It would be really cool if we could do this,’ and they’ve made the change. So we feel heard—and that’s huge.”

So what’s next for AGIA? Now that they’ve completed some other key initiatives, like a website redesign and database improvements, Travis is excited to shift the team’s focus to improving the self-service aspects of their customer experience.

“The Sharpen team has been ready and chomping at the bit for us to do these things from day one, but we’ve been busy with some other projects. But we’re ready now—and we can’t wait.”

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