A Positive, Omnichannel Experience is Key to Customer Satisfaction for Health Insurers

Improving customer experience strategies is a top priority to keep pace in the modern market.

It goes without saying most health insurance plans’ digital experiences are not where they need to be. In fact, health insurers’ traditional approach to customer experience is markedly behind other industries that have prioritized digital channels in recent years. From retail and entertainment to financial services and hospitality, these enterprises recognize rising digital literacy rates and expectations among customers and continue to develop digital experiences that engage their consumers across all channels.

Couple this market-wide push for omnichannel experiences with the healthcare industry’s recent introduction of more clinics, home-based care, and digital health offerings, and insurers suddenly have a swath of empowered, digitally savvy clients demanding more. Simply put, today’s consumers expect personalized, seamless omnichannel services—and insurers are largely not prepared to meet these demands.

Although insurance providers may be eager to catch up with other digitally enabled industries, they should not respond with a broad-brush attempt to introduce digital solutions across all member value chains, communication channels, and touchpoints. Frankly, that could be very expensive and not hit the desired mark quickly enough. To enhance customer experience strategies, insurers will need to throw out their old playbooks and thoughtfully introduce tactics and capabilities that will enhance their clients’ omnichannel experience.

Follow this five-phase approach to help kickstart these efforts:

1. Research your customers, stakeholders, systems, and processes to ensure proper context of the business and consumer problems. Research can lower the risk of misaligning on the problem at hand. At this time, it’s important to expand your existing knowledge and evaluate customer personas to help solve any existing issues or problems. For example, members of narrow network plans have different needs than patients in broad access networks. Likewise, members with different health statuses have very different needs. Collectively, this information will be used to inform your digital & physical CX strategies.

2. Define the customer behaviors that will drive business outcomes. Customer journey maps can help insurers further understand how their consumers interact with their brand across all touchpoints and identify any moments of frustration in their customer journeys. For example, a journey mapping exercise for a consumer with limited access to childcare would identify this pain point as a barrier to attending doctor’s appointments.

3. Ideate creative solutions that address the key moments in customer journey maps. With so many patients that have a variety of needs and expectations, health plans will have to constantly rethink how they understand their consumers’ differences and offer an array of solutions based on these needs. Wireframes, prototypes, and other tools and techniques should be built to clarify potential opportunities and consider all channels—from at-home or in-clinic experiences to digital apps and chatbots; in addition to traditional call and portal experiences.

4. Perform user testing on customer experience tools for business and customer outcome alignment. Although each consumer persona group will have different priorities and abilities to use the information presented, these tests will allow insurers to see which solutions really work for each audience segment. Throughout user testing phase, it’s essential to tune metrics and ROI based on consumers’ unique circumstances to assess impact and future investments.

5. Refine implementable solutions while balancing business viability, customer desirability, and technical feasibility. Embedding UX into agile delivery teams ensures that the customer’s experience aligns to the design artifacts previously generated. Here, it’s important to commit to an agile delivery model where new features and journeys are supported monthly. Then, they are iterated on to improve, enhance, and tailor to each unique persona. Use UX best practices to manage the journey discovery and evolution – and make sure you have the right technology stack and application architecture in place to support a continuous evolution for your plan members.

To forge a strong relationship with the modern client, insurers will need to rethink their CX strategies and prioritize the omnichannel experience journey. Of course, it’s easier said than done. By conducting thorough stakeholder research, assessing the current state of the client journey, defining staged solution releases, and reviewing these findings, insurers can frame and ultimately enhance their approach to holistic customer experiences.

Kevin Benner is the national healthcare solution leader at Sogeti, a Capgemini company.

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