Many of our insurance clients ask us the same question, ‘How do we better engage our members?’ Mobile apps, sharable video content… sock puppets? What is the secret to building an engaging long-term relationship?
A problem we often see is that member engagement typically consists of the payer talking and the member listening. Kind of like a bad date… going on and on about things you are only marginally interested in. And the icing on the cake is that your date uses words like ‘effectuate’ and asks for a copayment to cover the cost of dinner.
That said, payers do provide resources and services that make members lives better, and tapping into those helps them develop meaningful relationships with their members. So what’s the secret? The answer is evolving, but now is the time to start at the beginning and do a little listening.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes for a moment. You have decided to purchase insurance – you put on a pot of coffee, sit down in front of the laptop, and launch the application.
But wait. This doesn’t look like an application.
It’s asking you questions about language preference and how you prefer to receive information. It’s dynamically responding to your answers, asking only pertinent questions and skipping the rest. It appears to be building a member profile just for you. A profile that will help you maximize your coverage and benefits. It’s teaching you the importance of staying in network and recommending that you identify (and add to your profile) a primary care physician and urgent care facility. And now, because you mentioned that you prefer electronic communications, it’s setting up your online member account and recommending useful mobile applications.
When you submit your ‘application’ you scratch your head in bewilderment. It doesn’t feel like you’ve applied for membership. If feels like you are a member. It feels like the insurance company has started by asking you what’s important and how you prefer to engage. It feels like the beginning of a very good relationship.
Building an engaging and long-term relationship can start with the simple act of listening. Listening to how your members prefer to engage. But be careful to not stop there. If you take the time to collect language and communication preferences, you must have the systems in place to be able to honor those preferences. Don’t send your members an email just because you have their email address, and don’t ask about language preference and then pretend like you never asked.
Before you start talking, take the time to listen. You may be surprised at what you hear.