Inovalon: Flexible and agile CX saves 700+ hours annually

As a leading provider of cloud-based software solutions empowering data-driven healthcare, Inovalon needed frictionless CX tools to support its customers across the healthcare ecosystem with more agility, efficiency, and insights on a large scale. Deploying Zendesk messaging API and data reporting allowed the support team to maintain a rapid response, boost customer satisfaction, and create an auditable compliance process that has saved more than 700 human hours year over year.


“The administrative tools are the easiest and most flexible I’ve ever seen, especially the API connections. With Zendesk, the possibilities are limitless.”

Brian Blumenthal

AVP of Customer Support at Inovalon

“By deploying automation, we built the compliance process into Zendesk. We cut 700 hours of operating time down to five minutes using macros.”

Brian Blumenthal

AVP of Customer Support at Inovalon

Company Headquarters

Bowie, Maryland

Number of Employees


Average monthly tickets


Number of support agents



CSAT average


Increase in NPS


Annual hourly time savings

47 min

Median first reply time

Inovalon is a leading provider of cloud-based platforms empowering data-driven healthcare. For nearly 25 years, the company has partnered with healthcare customers across the landscape in the US and leveraged electronic health records (EHR) data to help payers operate more efficiently and improve health outcomes for

As part of its data collection, Inovalon is entrusted with healthcare data that needs to be secure, while being able to react timely to reported issues without outages getting in the way. Delivering timely support is crucial to interactions on all channels of communication, from the moment an agent picks up a call from a patient or chats with a provider.

Moving fast is easy with Zendesk

Inovalon’s AVP of Customer Support, Brian Blumenthal, recalls, “As the team was transitioning to remote work, we had to experiment and learn rapidly in the moment. We were shifting our business models and starting virtual health visits, so we needed a platform that could handle high daily volumes and lots of iteration.”

Blumenthal’s experience using competitors of Zendesk and administering other systems influenced his CX strategy for the team. “In 2020, we had multiple CRMs, and I had to make a quick decision to streamline,” says Blumenthal. “Zendesk was already my top choice because of its agility. I could operationalize it quickly, manipulate features, customize it to align with our core values.”

Migrating to Zendesk represented an ideal opportunity to advance Inovalon’s mission. “Our goal is providing a rapid response, high customer satisfaction, and valuable insights. In Zendesk, I can view project handoffs between teams, track wait times, and monitor agent time to resolution,” Blumenthal adds.

Beating the benchmark with best-in-class tools

For a company that handles an average of 4,000K tickets per month, delivering fast results and creating a seamless experience for users is paramount. When the pandemic hit, Inovalon found an even greater need to find the right CX tools to create an agile team and maintain a rapid response.

The customer support team leverages chat, email, web, API, and voice in Zendesk, with community and messaging due to launch next. Although Inovalon does not provide 24/7 live support, customers can always access the help center and self-serve to get instant answers.

Every customer interaction is documented in Zendesk, giving agents the power to respond rapidly with context and leaders the ability to stay informed at a larger scale. Since switching to Zendesk, Inovalon’s support team has achieved a median first reply time of 47 minutes, an impressive feat compared to the industry benchmark of 17 hours. Additionally, the team’s median resolve time is just over three hours, compared with the industry benchmark of 109 hours.

Zendesk’s flexibility has empowered incremental improvements that enable the team to be successful. “The administrative tools are the easiest and most flexible I’ve ever seen, especially the API connections. With Zendesk, the possibilities are limitless,” says Blumenthal.


Automating compliance process to save 700+ human hours

In a heavily regulated industry such as healthcare, Inovalon support agents respond to many challenging situations that involve a high level of complexity and urgency. From strict compliance measures to tight government deadlines, the technical support team is sometimes faced with sensitive health information that requires careful handling. Opening up administrative privileges in the company’s identity management solution to everyone on the team was too risky, so Blumenthal sought another way to keep customer data safe without slowing down agents.

The solution? Inovalon built an app using Zendesk’s API connections to integrate Sunshine Conversations with the existing identity management platform. From a learning curve perspective, no additional training was required because the app only launches when someone opens a ticket related to multifactor password authentication. Then, an Inovalon agent simply enters the user’s name and is verified and secure with a few clicks.

“Thanks to Zendesk tools and integrations, we can diagnose the issues and help the nurses, payer members, and data analysts while sharing only the minimal amount of information needed,” says Blumenthal.

The app’s success paved the way for more improvements to elevate traceability in the compliance process. The team developed an automated check system with macros to open a SideConversations ticket with the compliance department and create an audit trail in Zendesk.

“By deploying automation, we built the compliance process into Zendesk, which made notification, approval, and ticket documentation so much easier. We cut 700 hours of operating time down to five minutes using macros,” says Blumenthal. “Now the team can take on more workload and scale as needed.”

‘Retention is cheaper than acquisition’

Since implementing a comprehensive CX solution through Zendesk, Inovalon has been able to create a collaborative culture that brings valuable data reporting to cross-functional stakeholders. Blumenthal says, “I want our team members to be as transparent and vocal as possible. It’s important to share the data with everyone involved so they can see what customers are saying.”

The CX team keeps a close eye on help center usage to measure ticket deflection, while team leaders collaborate weekly to review satisfaction scores and NPS. Blumenthal adds, “We’ve seen an average CSAT of 97 percent and up for two years running and a 142 percent increase in NPS as a result of our team’s great customer care and rapid response.”

One key to achieving higher satisfaction and retention rates: Inovalon created a ticketing automation process to document every survey response, view resolution time, track the team’s action items, and notify customers that their concern is being addressed. The team uses Zendesk’s thumbs-up thumbs-down survey along with the Likert scale to analyze survey responses and follow up.

“We have a 24 percent response rate on satisfaction, which is the highest I’ve ever seen, and 33 percent of all our satisfaction surveys include comments,” notes Blumenthal. Creating an effective feedback loop has helped Inovalon improve the overall customer experience and helped customers who had a negative experience get back to being promoters.

“It’s important to have a one-on-one conversation with those that may not have had the best experience with us in order to build trust – so so they know the team will follow through,” he adds. Guided by the rule that ‘retention is cheaper than acquisition,’ Blumenthal encourages his team to explore all the CX capabilities of Zendesk.

A future strategy guided by innovation

Since the support team found it easy to embed and interact with APIs in the Sunshine environment, Blumenthal now views future customizations in Zendesk as ‘the art of the possible.’ “Zendesk has allowed me to become a better leader and to be as innovative as I could possibly imagine,” he says.

In addition to a collaboration between Zendesk and Gainsight PX to provide real-time user interaction, the company is launching an internal instance of Zendesk to improve employee onboarding. After building its entire culture around support for those it serves in the healthcare space, Inovalon aims to extend that same care to its HR processes. Blumenthal asserts, “The ability to live chat and interact with HR representatives in Zendesk will create a high-quality experience for employees and customers, which ultimately drives retention.”