Brand ambassadors can improve the consumer experience

Linda Hibbert headshotThe health care market is in the midst of transformative change, making health care more complex than ever before. For most consumers, making sense of health care options can be overwhelming, whether it is aging consumers understanding changing Medicare options or consumers of all ages understanding new Exchange options. It’s important that health plans provide consumers with resources that educate and guide them through today’s dynamic marketplace while encouraging current and prospective members to view their health plan as a trusted partner in their health care journey.

Many health plans are recognizing that “brand ambassadors” can be essential in providing a first-in-class consumer experience for their members. Contact center agents, who are on the front line of communicating with members, can serve as these “brand ambassadors” by “giving a voice” to a health plan’s mission and culture when they interact with current and prospective members.

Beyond educating health plan members and addressing their questions and concerns, agents can help build relationships and drive engagement with members by offering an exceptional brand and service experience. As price pressures increase and health plan offerings become more similar, an exceptional brand and service experience can be a critical means for a health plan to differentiate itself among competing health plans and retain existing members.

It is these consumer expectations and marketplace pressures that are driving leading health plans to embrace “brand ambassadors”, and the unique people, processes and technologies that enable this approach, to improve the consumer experience. Download case study.

Delivering on brand promise
An innovative contact center experience should offer omni-channel communication such as chat or email, responsive and efficient interactions, and consistency across the member lifecycle. Beyond this, for “brand ambassadors” to be effective, a health plan should make a commitment to:

  • Provide comprehensive training and resources to help agents understand the health care market, the product offering, and the ways that consumers engage. This differentiated training should focus on the consumer’s point-of-view and equip agents with contextual knowledge and skills so they are deeply connected to, and knowledgeable about, the challenges consumers face in making health care decisions. This is important when you consider that contact center agents serve as an extension of your organization.
  • Encourage agents to help consumers connect to your organization’s mission. When agents convey the mission of meeting health care needs and making health care better, rather than solely focusing on call metrics, agents can put members at the heart of delivering best-in-class sales and service experiences.
  • Drive employee engagement by involving agents in organizational efforts to improve consumer engagement and loyalty. Ensure that agents have a say in strategies aimed at improving call center processes, adhering to changes in regulatory requirements, and promoting best practices for using CRM systems and tools so that they have input to changes that impact their jobs.
  • Promote thought leadership and innovation for your clients. Go beyond the status quo and continue to build and pilot new approaches for engaging consumers. Use a test and learn approach to identify those innovations that best deliver on your objectives.

For insight into delivering exceptional consumer experience and brand loyalty, click here.

 

About the author:

Linda Hibbert
Senior Vice President of Consumer Sales and Service
Optum
Linda is responsible for the product development and direction of Optum Distribution’s call centers. She designs the contact center solutions and capabilities offered to clients to drive customer acquisition, loyalty and retention. Linda and her team drive contact center solutions across the continuum of people, process and technology in the health care arena based on industry best practices, client strategies and Optum innovations.

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