Strategies to keep your consumers informed through ACA changes
While the new President has begun to execute on his other campaign promises, future state of the affordable care act is still a mystery. There are many possibilities of what the President and Congress may eventually end up doing. There’s “repeal and do nothing”, “repeal and replace” or the most likely scenario, “repeal some things and replace some things”. Whatever the changes, it is likely that it will affect more than just your individual members since provisions such as pre-existing conditions, parental insurance for those under 26, and others are likely to be impacted as well. One thing is certain that, regardless of the outcome, your consumers will have a lot of questions about how the changes affect them and what their options are.
As an integral part of the healthcare system, it will be imperative that you are prepared to respond to their inquiries. With the plethora of information and misinformation on the web today, the last thing you want your consumers to do is to rely on a google search for answers. So what are the steps you can take to ensure that your consumers, first and foremost, come to you for answers and second, that you are able to adequately respond to their inquiries.
- Proactive communication. Everyone knows changes are coming and people are already looking for answers by turning to speculative information. Let them know that you are there to provide them with the latest information as it becomes available. Send out an email, send a letter, or message users through your portal, to let your consumer know how they can reach you if they have questions. Reach out through your social media accounts and advertising letting your consumers know you’re there for them through the changes, as well as using these forums for people to ask questions.
- Adaptable Information. This day and age, a content management system is a must for consumer facing websites. Uncertain impacts of new policies underscore the need for a system that can make the process of posting information quick and efficient. Regardless of what the policy changes are, certain information will need to be posted on your web portal. For example, the likelihood of the tax penalty being dropped is high, so have this content approved and ready publish out as soon as the information is communicated. If you wait to have create new content until after the fact, your consumers will start using other sources for answers.
- Effective Self-help. One way to lessen the burden on live support and drive down costs is to have effective self-help tools such as chatbots and FAQs. These have to be able to correctly address common questions. If they don’t, then you might as well remove them, because they will only lead to consumer frustrations. Gather questions proactively through your social media channels and other assets and use these to drive the content. Additionally, your automated self-help systems should work in conjunction with your other communications and information to direct users to the right place to have their questions answered.
- Trained Personnel. Eventually, people are going to end up calling customer service to get information. Training employees on different legislative outcomes and how to best respond to a variety of questions can prepare them to be ready as soon as changes are announced. Again, use questions gathered through your online channels to gauge what questions are likely to be asked. Of course, as the details of the changes become clearer, continuous updated training will aid in agents being able to effectively help consumers.
As the old saying goes, “change is the only constant”. Sometimes change is sudden and unpredictable. Fortunately, by taking proactive and strategic steps, you can ensure that you continue to be your customers’ go-to source for information and answers.