A positive omnichannel experience is key to customer satisfaction for health insurers

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

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

Combine this market-wide push for omnichannel experiences with the healthcare industry’s recent adoption of more clinics, home care, and digital health offerings, and insurers suddenly have a bevy of knowledgeable, digitally-savvy customers demanding more. Put simply, today’s consumers expect personalized, seamless omnichannel services – and insurers, for the most part, are unprepared to meet those demands.

While insurance providers may be striving to keep up with other digitally-enabled industries, they should not respond with an all-out attempt to adopt digital solutions across all value chains, communication channels and member touchpoints. Honestly, that could get very expensive and not reach the desired mark fast enough. To improve customer experience strategies, insurers must ditch their old playbooks and carefully introduce tactics and capabilities that enhance their customers’ omnichannel experience.

Follow this five-phase approach to kickstart this effort:

1. Research your customers, stakeholders, systems and processes to ensure the right context of business and consumer issues. Research can reduce the risk of misalignment with the problem at hand. At this point, it’s important to expand your existing knowledge and evaluate customer personas to solve existing issues or problems. For example, members of dense network plans have different needs than patients on wide area networks. Likewise, members with different health conditions have very different needs. Together, this information is used to inform your digital and physical CX strategies.

2. Define the customer behaviors that will drive business outcomes. Customer journey maps can help insurers better understand how their customers are interacting with their brand across all touchpoints and identify moments of frustration in their customer journeys. For example, a travel mapping exercise for a consumer with limited access to child care would identify this pain point as a barrier to attending doctor appointments.

3. IDevelop creative solutions that address the key moments in customer journey maps. With so many patients having different needs and expectations, health insurers must constantly rethink how they understand their consumers’ differences and offer a range of solutions based on those needs. Wireframes, prototypes and other tools and techniques should be developed to clarify potential opportunities and to consider all channels – from experiences at home or in the clinic to digital apps and chatbots; in addition to traditional calling and portal experiences.

4. Conduct user testing of customer experience tools to align business and customer outcomes. Although each consumer persona group will have different priorities and abilities to use the information presented, these tests allow insurers to see which solutions really work for each audience segment. Throughout the user testing phase, it is important to align metrics and ROI based on consumers’ individual circumstances to assess impact and future investments.

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

To build a strong relationship with the modern customer, insurers need to rethink their CX strategies and prioritize the omnichannel experience journey. Of course, that’s easier said than done. By conducting thorough stakeholder research, assessing the current state of the customer journey, defining tiered solution releases, and reviewing these results, insurers can shape and ultimately improve their approach to holistic customer experiences.

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

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