Enrollment periods can be complicated and hectic, so it's important to have priorities to focus on and dedicate your resources to. Whether you're approaching an AEP, OEP, or SEP, customer engagement should be at the top of your list.
By focusing on customer engagement, you can retain policyholders, allocate resources appropriately, and build brand recognition. Many healthcare executives outsource their customer engagement initiatives, freeing up their current team to focus on more specialized tasks and enlisting the help of seasoned professionals.
Before you can drive productive customer engagement strategies, you need to have a deep understanding of the members themselves. Enrollment periods can be stressful, confusing, and overwhelming - often leading to rushed decisions or policy cancellations.
Member data is one of the most powerful tools available to insurance executives. While collecting this data is essential, it’s even more important to know how to process it and get results (something outsourcing can solve).
By understanding the unique challenges that members face during enrollment periods, insurance teams can provide bespoke options and create engagement initiatives that speak to the concerns and wants of customers. We've established that understanding members is vital, but how does that tie into customer engagement?
The Importance of Customer Engagement
From brand loyalty to customer retention and building a reputation, there are many reasons why customer engagement is important. By focusing on customer engagement during enrollment periods, you can reach members during a time that can be filled with uncertainty and questions.
Through quality customer engagement, you can position yourself as a leader in the insurance space. Members often have questions about policies and enrollment periods are the perfect time to address those questions through strategic outreach.
As we mentioned previously, retention is a common goal of customer engagement. Because many policies can be canceled during enrollment periods, it’s essential that your business provides the support that customers need to stick with their current plan (or switch to you if they’re currently with an alternative).
Another reason why customer engagement is critical is that it can increase customer satisfaction. In what ways are you currently measuring satisfaction? By looking at those statistics, you can better understand how to improve your engagement strategies during the coming enrollment periods.
Innovative Approaches to Customer Engagement
Customer engagement certainly isn’t a new business idea, but it’s one that is constantly evolving. Businesses need to keep up with the growing demands of consumers, continually adjusting their strategies and opening themselves up to new avenues. Let’s go over some customer engagement approaches to consider during enrollment periods.
It's 2023 and social media is essential to many customer engagement initiatives. Social media lets you connect directly with consumers, getting real-time feedback and data.
When using social media for customer engagement during enrollment periods, it's essential to consider your specific business and customer base. What works for one business isn't going to be the same across the board, so consider how you can tailor your social media to speak to the problems members face during enrollment.
Apps can be a powerful way to share the mission and vision of your business, as well as build credibility and gain visibility. If you haven't established your business across multiple different apps, consider investing some time in this approach. Members will be looking at their phones; don't you want them to learn about your business while doing so?
Leveraging digital events can be an extremely powerful strategy, especially during enrollment periods. By maximizing the power of virtual events, you can gain direct access to members and understand them better - which can help you inform future strategic decisions.
Virtual events aren't as common of an engagement approach as apps and social media, but that doesn't mean they should be overlooked. In fact, that's potentially a reason why it could work for your business. Finding ways to stand out is important. Could virtual events be the solution for your brand?
A Unique Approach
Curious about how these strategies are currently being implemented in the insurance world? Let’s take a look at Cigna Healthcare’s Twitter. While they do provide health benefits, that's one of the things they rarely talk about. Instead, they post about issues their customer base faces, providing answers and practical solutions.
Benefits of Outsourcing Customer Engagement
Customer engagement is complex and requires a lot of time, which many executives and their teams lack during enrollment periods. One solution for this is outsourcing.
Outsourcing customer engagement is one of the best decisions executives make, as it frees up their team and allows them to utilize employees with years of experience in this area. Let’s go over some other benefits of outsourcing.
When getting the most out of your budget, efficiency is key. Outsourcing customer engagement means you'll have access to a team that understands what they're doing and what efficiency processes need to be put in place.
If you've experienced the unpredictable nature of enrollment periods, you understand just how vital scalability is. Scalability is one of the most desired benefits that outsourcing can provide. Throughout an enrollment period, you can adjust your strategy and evolve your outsourcing needs to match demand.
Outsourcing means getting access to dedicated, experienced employees without the costs associated with hiring someone in-house. Customer engagement can be complicated and enrollment periods aren't the time to train people, so let an outsourcing partner take over.
Risks and Considerations of Outsourcing Customer Engagement
There are a few things to remember if you're considering outsourcing this part of your business. Considering the following factors will help you make an informed decision and reassure you that you chose the right vendor.
Loss of Control
Choosing to outsource means giving up a certain level of control. While there are still factors you can influence, you are allowing staff outside of your current team to run certain parts of your business. This is one of the reasons why ensuring you're comfortable with the outsourcing partner you choose is essential.
Privacy is an important topic when it comes to outsourcing. Breaches are a potential risk that comes with outsourcing, so ensuring you have the right privacy and security measures set in place is essential.
Unfortunately, there isn't a way to guarantee the quality of the services you'll receive when you outsource. Working with a new team brings a certain degree of unknown, but there are ways to mitigate this. If you're worried about this risk, get a clear outline of services and any expectations in writing.
Evaluating Outsourcing Partners
Evaluating multiple different outsourcing partners is essential. By examining all your options, you can gain accurate comparisons and ensure that your chosen option is the best. There are a few things to remember while evaluating outsourcing partners.
Communication is one of the most important factors when selecting an outsourcing partner. Having clear communication expectations is one of the best ways to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Budget is undoubtedly an essential thing to consider. Speaking to outsourcing partners about any case studies they have is a good way to gain projections for ROI.
As we mentioned previously, scalability is one of the benefits of choosing to outsource. Choosing a partner that prioritizes scalability is essential, so consider speaking with potential vendors about their staffing capabilities.
Key Strategies for Outsourcing Customer Engagement
There are a few different things you can do to set your business up for success when it comes to outsourcing customer engagement.
Identify Goals and Objectives
A clear understanding of your business goals and objectives will allow you to direct your outsourcing partner in the right direction. Consider thinking about your goals before you evaluate potential partners, so you can speak with them about how they may be able to deliver results.
Communication and Collaboration
Communication and collaboration are two pillars of outsourcing customer engagement during enrollment periods. Managing different business aspects during these times can get hectic, so having clear boundaries and lines of communication in place is important.
Some executives are concerned about how their current staff will be impacted by outsourcing. One of the ways to make sure that everyone integrates successfully is to have a solid understanding of what ideal collaboration entails. In what ways will your current teamwork with your outsourced help? What communication and collaboration expectations are you going to establish?
Expectations and Success Metrics
It's no secret that having defined expectations is one of the best ways to make sure that your outsourcing partner is aware of their role(s). By creating specific situations, you can not only direct your outsourced staff but also help your in-house staff understand the new division of labor.
Maximizing Results Through Customer Engagement
We’ve discussed the importance of customer engagement and how you can achieve it through outsourcing, but how exactly can you maximize results?
Utilizing data and predictive modeling is one of the best ways to drive results through customer engagement. Data is a powerful way to both listen to and connect with your members, so consider outsourcing help if you’re not sure what to do with the information you have.
Targeted Outreach and Strategies
When you understand your members, you can effectively target them and develop outreach strategies that provide results. Developing creative engagement strategies is essential to standing out from competitors, so consider what your business can do to be set apart from the rest.
One of the best ways to support your policyholders is to provide them with resources for plan selection. Personalized support is one of the biggest factors in retention, so make sure that you have enough staff to provide the high level of attention that enrollment periods often require.
Outsourcing Customer Engagement
As you're headed into the next enrollment period, consider if outsourcing customer engagement tasks could be the right choice for you. It's an excellent way to get specialized support and make sure that your policyholders are getting the best help possible. You can achieve business goals and optimize performance through outsourcing, so don't wait to evaluate your potential partner options.