Health Insurance is an ever-evolving industry – from regulatory changes, to new data demands, to the growing role of the consumer, the question isn’t whether you should tackle the digital initiatives on your to-do list, it’s when and how. So how do you manage these digital initiatives in the midst of all this change?
Outline your goals before starting a project, restate them when a decision needs to be made.
Step one of any project should be creating a clear outline of the goals you want to accomplish. And by “outline,” I mean literally writing them down. Share them with others. Make people aware. Communicating your goals in a public way helps keep them top of mind.
In addition, try to be as specific as possible when defining your goals. A goal like “improve website content” is too vague to measure. In contrast, “reduce call center volume by creating article pages for the top ten most frequently asked customer service questions” offers clear markers of success.
Restating your goals at key decision points throughout your project helps to keep your team on the right track. For example: you are midway through the project and presented with two options on how to proceed. The first option is quick, easy and cheap. The second option is time-consuming, difficult and expensive. Your team will naturally gravitate towards the first option, but before taking the path of least resistance, think about your goal of reducing call center volume. If the proposed solution is to write one sentence explanations for five of ten questions, will you really reduce call center volume? When framed in the context of your goal, the easy option might not be the best route to take.
There is never a good time to initiate a project, so just start it already!
There is never a perfect time to start a project. There will always be a key stakeholder on maternity leave, a new government regulation about to pass, a budget shortfall, and a higher priority initiative taking up people’s time. It is pretty much a guarantee that it will always be a sub-optimal time to kick off a project – so stop waiting and get started.
One way to think about timing is to ask yourself if any of the road blocks possibly preventing you from starting a project will impact the outcome or quality of the work. If the answer is yes, then it might make sense to wait. If the outcome of the initiative won’t be impacted, then move forward.
Learn and adapt throughout the course of the initiative.
In other words, be nimble with your process. Don’t let small setbacks keep you accomplishing your overall goals.
Let’s say you initially thought that your top ten customer service questions would be identified by interviewing the customer service reps who work the 9-5 shift, but discover that the call volume is higher in the evening, schedule more interviews! The call center might all be getting the same questions regardless of volume or timing.
This type of curveball may or may not change your course at all. Perhaps the project takes longer, but is ultimately more successful.
Communication is key
Communicating well internally and externally is crucial to the success of a project or initiative. People want to know what is going on. Sending out a weekly update that includes timing, milestones, setbacks, etc. will help you manage expectations internally.
Likewise, letting your users or clients know what updates they can expect to see on the website is also helpful. For example, you might want to add a message to the customer service automated voicemail system informing them that the answers to commonly asked questions are now available online.
Every project will encounter bumps in the road, but following these best practices will help you navigate the inevitable challenges while keeping your eyes on the prize. Stop waiting and get started!