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There isn’t a business out there today that doesn’t seek to improve its online user experience. Considering the nature of commerce, consumer engagement is the priority in nearly every industry. And the health insurance segment is no exception. If there ever were an arena that needed to connect with its audience in a relevant, engaging, and informative way, it’s the health insurance market.

As an insurer, the competition for enrollment share is fierce. But lowering costs at every turn to stay ahead won’t be sustainable. Fortunately, insurance providers can explore other methods of grabbing consumers’ attention. Improving user experience, matched with top-notch customer support, has proven to be a game-changing differentiator for many providers. Here are three pivotal ways you can expand and develop the user experience for your target consumers.

1. Consumers Want a Frictionless Experience

Newsweek Vantage shared data and research suggesting people want a “differentiated customer service experience.” And there are other insurance industry segments already experiencing success and profitability with online developments and customer care efforts. The auto insurance industry, for example, demonstrates data that points to 30 percent higher profit margins for those companies improving their customer experience engagement. And any provider committed to offering high-quality customer service typically sees two to four times more growth than those not making improvements. It’s clear, customers want to be taken care of without friction, and it’s fiscally beneficial for the companies that recognize this need.

Health insurance providers can always look to their websites first to explore opportunities for user experience improvement. Based on data collected in 2016, 79 percent of insurance shopping consumers were primarily using the web. In today’s post-pandemic climate, most understand that percentage is much more significant as people embrace virtual connections to avoid unnecessary in-person risks. So, it’s imperative that your website serves as a consumer gateway, with clear and easy-to-navigate options that lead to enrollment without hassles. Here are a few ideas to help improve your site’s overall first impressions.

  • Chatbots can be a great tool for improving the consumer’s user experience. It’s common for individuals to begin their health insurance journey without all the information they need to make an immediate decision. Chatbot technology can ensure those first-time visitors can feel connected to answers for their most common “where to begin” type questions.
  • Creating customer journey paths with your landing pages can also be helpful in improving the user experience. Too many web pages with too much information can be overwhelming. Instead, consider using key entry points that invite the user to click further, with precise details and calls to action. This may require consolidating the number of web pages your site has in order to create user-focused funnels of action.
  • Insurers will need to connect with shopping consumers using a language everyone can understand. As you review your site, look for unnecessary jargon or fine print that may be too confusing for average, first-time health insurance browsers. Offer clear definitions of terms and services to help consumers feel empowered and confident about taking that next enrollment step.

2. The Application & Claims Processes Must Be Seamless

If your insurance application process is complicated, consumers will likely go elsewhere. In today’s digital buying environment, consumers are used to having quick submission processes and even quicker responses. Consider reviewing your health insurance application strategy through the lens of a first-time user. If the online form is difficult to navigate, too slow to transition, or exceedingly long, you might be losing applicants.

Insurers can break up the application step into a series of quick data collection points. Asking a consumer to provide four or five key data points to finish one stage of the process can be more user-friendly than a 20-page questionnaire of questions. And incorporating measures that easily collect strategic identifiers and eSignatures for authorizations will also improve the online application experience. Remember, your audience is used to quotes, results, and offers within seconds of the requests. So, the quicker you can turn around approvals and enrollment next steps, the better the results will be.

Another critical pain point for consumers is the insurance claims process. Having too many points of authorization can create a poor experience. Insurers who can stand apart from the industry norm of lengthy pay periods and complicated pre-approvals for health services will see the most results. Consider making improvements that allow enrollees to view these necessary evaluations online, ask questions, and get quick answers. While you might not be able to speed up some of these claims processes as they relate to healthcare providers, you can make it easier for customers to understand each step with consistent transparency.

3. A Push Toward the Personal User Experience

When consumers try to visualize your health insurance company, they might assume you’re physically located far away, with an entry-level team of call center reps, unconcerned about their individual needs or well-being. To fix that perception, insurers can improve the user experience by focusing on authentic engagement with each individual. Some studies suggest that more than 90 percent of insurance companies don’t communicate with their customers throughout the plan year. To improve those metrics, today’s health insurance providers can look to incorporate scheduled or routine interactions, even if there are no immediate claims needs.

The customer journey throughout the plan year will provide opportunities for company touchpoints. Insurers should be diligent about identifying when a customer might need something and develop strong customer service strategies for each. Avoid missing a chance to have a conversation or offer an added service benefit. It’s those unique touchpoints that translate to a personalization of service, improving the overall user experience.

There is a trust problem between consumers and their insurance providers. Some data suggests that one in every three individuals don’t trust their providers to “do the right thing.” There is a cloud of suspicion for customers regarding their chosen companies and coverage. To lift that veil of caution, insurers can look for new ways to develop helpful, open, and honest interactions. Make more information available online to keep customers a part of their own insurance processes. Make necessary improvements company-wide regarding best practices for communicating with enrollees who need help. And many of the most successful insurers typically have a layer of follow-up care in place to ensure customers are satisfied with the answers and services they received.

As a health insurance provider, you can always look for new ways to improve the user experience to improve bottom-line results. And if you need help, let Softheon be your trusted partner in creating and implementing the best strategies for authentic customer engagement and growth.