The health insurance industry is getting a lot of attention as call volume picks up. Baby boomers are retiring and searching for supplemental Medicare coverage, health care reform is in the air, and more members are needing assistance and support. Customer satisfaction is a key metric for health insurance companies to monitor in order to gauge which areas of their customer service are strong and which areas need improvement in order to maintain or increase their membership base.

According to statistics, businesses will increase profits by 25 to 125% by retaining an additional 5% of customers. It’s also proven that it costs ten times as much to attract new customers as it does to retain current customers.

Achieve Customer Satisfaction and Gain Loyal Customers

Companies that have achieved satisfied customers will achieve loyal customers as well. For example, imagine a member calls your center with a question about insurance coverage and an agent provides outstanding service—service that far surpasses the member’s expectation. That customer will be much more inclined to renew coverage with your company than move to a different insurance company not knowing whether they would receive the same level of service.

Provide Consistent Levels of Service

Customers tend to stay with companies that provide a consistent level of customer service even if they are not the least expensive, the most convenient, or have the most features in their products.

  • Train your agents to have excellent product knowledge and test them occasionally to be sure that knowledge is retained.
  • Provide customer service training so agents offer customer service in a consistent manner. Calls should be opened and closed the same way. Agents should learn to speak in a positive manner, telling callers what they can do, rather than what they can’t. Provide easy-to-understand instructions for agents to use in discussing enrollment and claims filing.

Resolve Issues on the First Call

Train agents to achieve first call resolution. Because of the technical nature of health insurance, this will include steps like confirming that the customer understands the benefits that the agent described and telling members what to expect in order to avoid call backs. According to an article by Rosanne D’Ausilio, when an issue is resolved on the first call, only 3% of customers are likely to go to a competitor.

New Customers Need TLC

Health insurance companies often give prospective members the most attention. Once prospects become customers, what does your company do to retain them? The sad truth is that many times companies put their best resources into the acquisition of new members, sometimes at the expense of what is needed to retain them.

Remember, loyal members are the best form of advertising. They talk to each other at work and at retirement meetings. They compare notes during open enrollment. So come up with ways to show members you appreciate their business and want them to become members for life. Read this blog post to learn more about the importance of retaining members.

Teach health insurance agents how to build rapport with members and how to show empathy. Members need to believe the agent understands their situation and is actively working to answer their question or remedy their problem.

Provide Channels for Customers to Reach You

If satisfied customers are the goal, create channels for members to communicate with you. Complaints are an essential part of customer feedback. If a customer is unhappy, you want to be aware of it so you have an opportunity to improve. It’s been shown that members who have had problems resolved quickly and professionally are more loyal to their insurance company than members who have never had a problem.

The easier you make it for customers to complain, the more likely they will be to give you a chance to save them as customers. According to the article by Rosanne D’Ausilio, 68% of customers with unresolved issues are at risk for defecting to another company.

Listen to Feedback and Act

Once you’ve given members an opportunity to voice their concerns, do something with the feedback! Customers feel validated when the companies they do business with take their suggestions seriously enough to incorporate them into their products and services. If you can’t make product changes, at least acknowledge that you received the feedback and let your staff know what you intend to do with it.

If you want more satisfied customers, listen to them and act on what they tell you whenever possible!

Customer satisfaction is a goal that benefits both you and your members. Whether the members are new or have been loyal for years, make an effort to communicate with them and let them know they’re valued and that their feedback is important to you. Happy members mean more business for you.