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New CMS rule elevates telesales as a viable broker alternative

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“Change before you have to.”
 
That mantra from Jack “Neutron John” Welch sure resonates with those of us in healthcare assessing the impact of new broker commission rules put in place by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Payers are heeding the advice of the former General Electric CEO – celebrated for his no-nonsense business acumen — ahead of this next enrollment season.
 
Why? The CMS rule change, effective June 3, changes the compensation structure for brokers, creating disruption and causing payers to re-think their traditional reliance on this distribution channel. The rule aims to create a more consumer-centric experience for Medicare beneficiaries, however, it could also be perceived as a disincentive and may push brokers out of the market. Payers are being proactive and anticipating the ripple effects of the new CMS rule and how to adjust their broker/telesales strategy to meet goals and objectives.
 
One Medicare sales leader with a 60% broker/40% telesales mix told us he’s looking to flip that equation and expand his telesales workforce. For payers considering a similar move, the time to plan and execute is now, and certainly within the next 60 days. Such a rebalancing strategy — deployed before few other good options remain — puts payers in a position of strength and better-equipped to handle future change.
 

The telesales advantage in healthcare

Rethinking the sales structure is no small undertaking. Routines are established. Protocols understood. But when you take in all the benefits of a telesales team, the flexibility, increased controls, and influence on customer experience, plus the long-term savings potential, you’ll be inspired to explore further.
 
Among the advantages of relying less on the broker channel and transitioning to a captive telesales team for healthcare, whether in-house or outsourced, are:
 
  • Better control the message members receive. With direct control over hiring, training, and management, payers can ensure the sales team is fully aligned with values and goals.
  • Product expertise improves because the team knows your offering. With a deep understanding, they are better equipped to articulate the value proposition.
  • Stronger relationships: Member loyalty and trust rises because in-house sales reps are viewed as direct representatives of the company.
  • Cost savings: While setting up an in-house sales team, either on your own or assisted by a partner like TTEC, requires an investment, it proves cost-effective in the long run compared to paying fees and commissions to outsiders. We can identify those specific opportunities where licensed associates are not required, opening the door to cost-effective near- and offshore delivery options. 
 

The roadmap is clear

We’ve partnered with many companies seeking to reap the benefits of their own telesales team and we’ve learned what works. First, we start with crafting a talent strategy. This involves a thoughtful assessment of past performance, strengths, and weaknesses with a deliberate strategy to improve CX and top priority KPIs.
 
A solid talent strategy leverages analytics to align the right sales skills to the right product. It further aligns the right sales skills to the right channel because it’s essential to understand and support the communications channels each customer prefers. That may mean email during business hours and chat/social during the evenings and weekends.
 
The power of artificial intelligence (AI) helps us uncover unseen opportunities to improve performance, member satisfaction, and retention.
 

A proven telesales partner invested in your success

Speed, know-how, scale, and adaptability power TTEC’s partnerships with payers. We’ve been doing this a long time: sourcing, hiring, training, developing, and managing telesales teams and team leads.
 
During the most recent enrollment season, momentum led to great results:
  • Conversions as high as 40%
  • 15% average drop in attrition, across all our clients
  • 98% call compliance score across all clients 

With the help of AI, we deliver exceptional training and coaching that reduces speed to proficiency. There’s a boatload of smart tools to support your telesales team such as TTEC’s award-winning Let Me Know knowledge assistant, a proprietary solution that enables your team to assist members faster because AI delivers answers to their desktops quickly.

AI-enhanced solutions for conversational intelligence, workforce optimization, and back-office support help drive performance, efficiency, and the customer experience.
 
Our voice enhancement solution lifted NPS 9% and reduced audio complaints 99% for one major health group, thanks to its ability to block ambient noise and improve audio fidelity for both sides of a phone conversation. Our new AI-enabled language translation services eliminate the need to conference-in costly translators and help improve ability to meet CMS accessibility requirements.   
 
Our AI bots not only conduct role-playing exercises so new hires can practice interactions before advancing to a live environment, but the bots also provide real-time, personalized coaching. One of our healthcare clients saw a 21% boost to eNPS as a result of using the interactive bots.
 
AI-enhanced learning and a robust knowledgebase improved conversions 17% for one of our clients eager to ramp up quickly.
 
TTEC and our payer partners are on a winning streak with exceptional conversion rates, improved attrition year after year, and reduced costs per acquisition. Check out our most recent e-book that documents the wins of the 2024 enrollment season.
 
At TTEC, we thrive on collaboration and innovation.  If you’re attending the RISE AEP Medicare Readiness Summit 2024 in June, let’s connect and exchange insights.