Three Steps to Evolve Your Communications

Member communications are evolving.

The traditional default of black & white printing of member materials is increasingly migrating to full color. Mass print production business models are swiftly shifting to print on-demand. Static content and imagery is becoming customer-personalized.

So how can you ensure your communications are appropriately evolving to these many changes?

Step 1: Improve Aesthetic Quality

Begin by looking for ways to add color and demographic or geo-targeted imagery to improve the customer experience of your communications. Effective use of color and imagery, particularly in pre-sale materials like the pre-sale kit and plan selection guide, can really work to make the consumer feel that they are being personally recognized and that the insurer is committed to guiding them towards the plan that best fits for their unique needs. Color and imagery can also be leveraged to draw attention to key benefits and competitive advantages, or to make content more reader-friendly. We have incorporated colored tabs into many of our clients’ Medicare pre-sale kits in order to better define the key sections that comprise the kit and enable recipients to easily flip to their section of interest. We also have incorporated variable images of customers’ hometowns and retail locations nearest them into plan selection guides in order to help our clients’ build trust through familiarity. It’s no longer about just getting the materials out as quickly and cheaply as possible…it’s about leveraging them as customer experience and brand equity building tools.

Step 2: Enhance Content Relevance

The one-size-fits-all content approach no longer holds. Insurers need to leverage the growing capabilities of personalized composition software to begin to speak to their prospects and members less like numbers and more like people whose interests they care about. You’d be surprised by what a difference simply adding someone’s name to a cover can make, and I don’t mean in the address block! What I mean is, using their name to title the materials as if made special just for them and using name to introduce a plan to a prospect or welcome a new member to a plan on a more personal, 1-to-1 level. Assess the data that is available to you, such as age, location, culture, lifestyle and marital status, and then identity new and creative ways that it can be used to enhance the individualization of your communications. Then, look for ways that you can expand upon this data to further personalize. One way in which we have helped plans collect more data on their prospects in the initial pre-sale period was by building personalized “plan builder” landings pages, which helped consumers identify the plan most suitable for their needs through menu-driven criteria entry, while at the same time delivering pertinent data to the insurer. We’ve also helped plans improve the relevancy of their communications, such as the provider directory, by enabling their customers to specify the custom specialties they would like to have featured in their book, as well the particular radius or region they would like to limit included providers to. Relevant content is the key to an enhanced customer experience.

Step 3: Integrate Electronic Opt-In

Once you’ve improved the appearance of your materials and the meaningfulness of the content within, the next step is to improve the delivery of the materials and the intelligence of your interactions. This means mapping out a plan for integrating preference-driven distribution. Health insurers need to be able to deliver content on the dime when and where their members are, in the format most convenient for their needs. Digitization of member materials must be an enterprise-wide priority. The delivery of electronic member materials not only requires creating a Web-optimized version of the printed documents though, but also involves building an in-house digital archive for self-storage, customer service access, reporting and on-demand retrieval. Next, comes deciding where you will post the documents, as a customer interface for accessing the digital documents that easily integrates with existing portals or extranet is key. Then, comes defining how you want to deliver login credentials, designing a welcome message inviting the member to the portal, and putting an auto-notification system in place that notifies consumers when a new document will and has been made available, as part of CMS requirements. Integrating digital delivery may seem like a bold ambition that involves many decisions, but as consumers are exposed to more and more mobile health apps and online physician tools throughout the year, they will be expecting similar innovations from their health plans.

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