A regional health plan offering individual, family, and Medicare plans in 10 states faced a worker shortage as it prepared for 2018’s open enrollment season. Executives found it difficult to find expert employees for part-time work at a low wage in specific locations. Rather than just raise wages and hope for the best, it embarked on a Smart Seasonal strategy that took into account innovations in people, process, and technology.
For the first time, the company used a highly skilled yet cost-effective offshore pre-sales workforce for initial health insurance open enrollment inquiries and qualifications. This reduced the need for as many licensed, U.S.-based sales associates, for whom the company raised wages. It retained some brick-and-mortar employees from the previous year, but prioritized the recruitment of @Home associates for new positions from around the country to serve as year-round associates.
Sales associates could focus more on selling, which they did with the help of TTEC technology for training and member experience. Customized quote information was delivered via microsite, which included associate photos and instructions to complete the enrollment process via self-service or contact the associate to help finalized the process. Callback assist allowed prospective members to receive a call when it was their turn to speak to an associate, rather than wait on hold. And for associates, a robust knowledgebase and real-time coaching helped enable dynamic improvements to call flow and sales processes.
As a result, cost per enrollment decreased by up to 45 percent from 2017’s open enrollment period. And while the company faced stiffer competition from other payers in the markets it served, it saw a 73 percent increase in enrollment rates among Medicare members. What’s more, sales conversions jumped by 29 percent from the previous year.