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How to Craft and Scale a Personalized Onboarding Experience

How to Craft and Scale a Personalized Onboarding Experience

Open enrollment season is here and with it comes a fresh opportunity to drive greater customer satisfaction and lifetime loyalty with a savvy onboarding strategy. One of the best ways to drive satisfaction is to have alignment with expectations. A successful onboarding strategy not only gets members up to speed on their plan benefits but also communicates the value of being a member and establishes the framework for a loyal relationship. Here, we outline strategies for personalizing the onboarding process in a scalable manner.

Mining data insights

Successful payers understand that onboarding is not a story about a company or a hospital, it’s a story about an individual’s needs. To tell a compelling story, payers need to identify the right approach and message for each person. Some may call this ‘needs analysis’ in the sales process. Interestingly, this information can be extremely useful well beyond the sales process itself. Think that this data can begin to stratify the new population, identify different types of risk, and lock communication channels moving forward. Having a system for leveraging customer data during the onboarding process and throughout the year is therefore critical.

Stakeholders should ask the following questions:

  • Are we using customer data that was collected during the sales process to understand our members’ preferences and needs?
  • Do we have a comprehensive view of the member or is the information siloed?
  • Are we actively segmenting our customer data and delivering targeted messages against those segments? 

The answers to these questions can help identify areas of focus.

Know your customer

Member satisfaction begins with an engaging and informative onboarding experience. Research has shown that consumers respond better to personalized messages that fit their communication preferences. For example, ask members to indicate in which channel they would prefer to receive information about their health plans. Printed mail may be the least desirable channel for one person, while someone else prefers printed mail over email.    

Furthermore, a member’s concerns can usually be boiled down into three areas: How do I to manage my plan (online tools, auto pay), my health (medical management programs, wellness), and my money (cost sharing tips, provider tiers)? But the answers depend on a wide range of factors such as health, age, household income, and even technology comfort level.

To successfully communicate with members, payers must take all these factors and more into consideration when crafting an onboarding message. Grouping members into specific segments based on what the insurer knows about each member, and tailoring messages according to each segment create a practical approach to engaging numerous members at the same time.   

Consistency is key

One of the worst things a health plan could do is to deliver the wrong message to a customer, such as greeting a long-time customer with an introductory message. Sales and customer service associates therefore need access to a customer’s complete profile to provide informed and helpful responses. Also, maintaining the same support staff throughout the year, even after busy periods, helps create a sense of consistency in the customer experience.  

Additionally, when the same salesforce returns year after year, their speed of proficiency and conversion is greater than that of an inexperienced group. For example, after the enrollment season is complete, sales associates can follow up with members to walk them through their plan and touch base with them during the year to ensure that they’re satisfied with their benefits. By doing so, associates begin to build a rapport with members and can quickly identify issues before they escalate.

Another tip is to map out the member experience. For example, we helped a U.S. health insurance company redesign its onboarding process by dividing it into six categories: Learn, Welcome, Educate, Navigate, Integrate, and Help. Within each category, the team articulated several initiatives ranging from voice of the customer processing to data integrity. Using this member experience roadmap, the company can now prioritize initiatives more efficiently and effectively.

Put the member first

Finally, although every company has an onboarding procedure, the most successful companies are those that make their members feel valued and understood. And while delivering a personalized experience to every customer may be costly, a well-executed engagement strategy pays off in loyal customers.

For more tips on how to create a personalized and engaging onboarding experience, visit our open enrollment resource center here. 

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Also, check out the most recent issue of our monthly customer experience eNewsletter, Dialogue.