How to improve member satisfaction and engagement: 7 takeaways for payers

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To improve member satisfaction, payers are considering how they can meet experience expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. A Salesforce survey of 8,000 consumers, released in January, found 84 percent of consumers say the experience a company provides is as important as the company's products and services. It also found that 78 percent of consumers expect consistent interactions across departments and 75 percent expect personalized engagement across each interaction.

Payers currently face several challenges inhibiting their ability to meet consumer expectations. These new challenges include increased member calls, more staff working from home and increased digital interactions with customers. However, payers can use multiple strategies to overcome these challenges, according to presenters during a May 7 webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Salesforce.

Presenters were:

  • Kevin Riley, senior vice president and group general manager, health and government industry apps, Vlocity
  • Gina Hanrahan, director, North America Benefits, Salesforce
  • Chequeta Allen, product marketing director, Healthcare and Life Sciences, Salesforce
  • Peter Schmidt, health insurance sales strategy leader, Salesforce

According to the presenters, payers should:

1. Implement a digital strategy that involves moving to digital channels, support for digital employees and addressing the importance of digital apps. "The digital channels are more important than ever," explained Mr. Schmidt. "Because of that the importance of apps and how customers work with those digital channels, it's become important we look at what that is going to mean to our business and moving forward what will be on people's mind."

2. Deepen member engagement by empowering staff and providing them with tools they need to deliver a seamless customer experience. Ms. Allen said it is also important to ensure all departments can view the same information about the patient's behaviors, choices and interactions. "You're going to want to know everything about your customer and connect with every point of collaboration in your network so that information is shared appropriately," she added.

3. Improve communication and service by understanding members better, especially as consumer preferences may change due to COVID-19 and other factors. For example, Salesforce can send open enrollment emails to employees based on past behavior of when they are most likely to open the emails and respond, according to Ms. Hanrahan. "We have various metrics that identify exactly when and how many emails are opened and the click-through rate based on the days and times of day they are sent," she said. "We also have the ability to send a follow-up email right away based on the [person's] action."

4. Build trust and loyalty among members. Ms. Allen said this is crucial to payers being able to maximize the value of each member. She specifically recommended staying true to the company brand and delivering support services to members' devices 24/7. 

5. Decrease unnecessary costs. This is especially crucial amid the pandemic as many organizations are experiencing related revenue decreases and cost increases, according to Ms. Allen. She recommended tracking interaction effectiveness to identify what tactics are working and what tactics need to be deployed to improve business performance.

6. Enhance open enrollment incrementally. Ms. Allen recommended continuing to innovate in this area. "Open enrollment now is an opportunity for you to grow your business to strengthen your relationship [with members] over time, over the long term," she said.

7. Use a well-programmed outbound model for marketing to members throughout the pre-enrollment and enrollment cycle, via the proper software, Mr. Riley recommended. He said this will allow the payer understand what piques the patient's interest and tailor approaches to engagement to the individual.

To learn more about Salesforce, click here.


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