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Top 3 Reasons Why Customer Service Is Key for 2018 Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment is just around the corner for consumers which means that preparing your staff for the event should be taking place as you read this. Many health insurance companies saw issues with customer service during last year’s third quarter open enrollment period. During this time, new and returning members came to insurers with questions about both the enrollment process itself as well as details of the plans they were considering. Caught off guard by this dramatic annual upswing in consumer contact, some customer support infrastructures were unable to handle the added stress.

In order to stay ahead of the surge, it’s important to understand what things, if overlooked can impact your members and your business:

1. Good Service Is a Key Component of Customer Satisfaction

Remember that just a single call can have a major impact on the overall customer experience your brand provides. Representatives need to be able to accurately and courteously answer customer inquiries, especially during high-volume, stressful periods such as open enrollment.

Are your agents able to accurately address questions about the New Year’s coverage, or do inquiries go unanswered? Do your agents go a step beyond to ensure issue resolution? This year, provide your subscribers with extra-level support and proactive outreach.

2. Positive Customer Experiences Can Drive Revenue

Inadequate customer service can make you lose out on revenue opportunities. After all, people are unlikely to sign up for a plan if their needs aren’t being met early on in the customer journey. Failure to assist members at this stage can bring on doubts about the quality of the service you provide.

Keep in mind that improving the customer service experience isn’t just about impressing potential customers. Helpful, positive interactions with representatives can result in significant increases to retention rates for years to come.

3. Poor Customer Service Can Result In Delay of Care

In the health insurance industry, customer service quality can have high stakes: It can directly impact the health and well-being of your subscribers. When communication is poor or if call wait times are long, frustrated customers frequently end contact without issue resolution.

We’ve seen this happen most often with elderly consumers — a group that tends to be at a greater risk with many of them managing multiple medical problems with limited access to digital support channels. Delays in enrollment or uncertainty about coverage can lead to unnecessary and potential hospitalizations.

How to Prepare for an Exceptional Customer Experience This Open Enrollment

The good news? All of these issues can be solved through preparation for the upcoming open enrollment season. The two most important steps insurers can take to get their call centers ready are:

  • Providing agents with effective training:
    • Make sure they’re supplied with the necessary information they need to address customer issues and improve their experiences to ensure a better overall customer experience.
  • Increasing staff in anticipation of higher call volumes:
    • Ensure that potential subscribers won’t be met with long hold times and overwhelmed agents when they come to you for answers.

Complementary strategies also include:

  • Holding press conferences or “kick off” open enrollment events. This provides customers with information about their options, helping to disseminate important details. Such events can also generate local earned media in your target markets.
  • Contacting customers through other communication channels, including email and phone networks.
  • Providing customers with self-service enrollment assistance. In most cases, subscribers can resolve their own issues without needing to make a call. This frees up the staff necessary to resolve more complex cases.

Open enrollment can be a stressful time for your customers but with these tips, you can help alleviate some of the discomfort. As you prepare for another busy open enrollment period, consider contacting us to find out what we can do to help.

Learn more about our healthcare customer care solutions.

Please visit our our most recent 2019 open enrollment update for latest information.