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Staying Competitive: Meeting Consumer Demand for Concierge-Level Support

This is the second in a three-part series regarding why offering healthcare consumers high-touch advocacy and navigation support is critical for staying competitive. To read the first installment, click here.

Despite the fact that providing first-rate customer service is an essential component for the success of most businesses, the healthcare industry, in general, has been slow to adopt practices that place a strong focus on their customers’ experience throughout their healthcare journey.

This is especially true when it comes to the needs, preferences and expectations of today’s more empowered and engaged healthcare consumers.

Consumers Demanding More
As consumers shoulder a larger share of their healthcare costs—premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage have jumped 55 percent since 2007—they are demanding better experiences throughout the healthcare continuum, including more personalized services, more efficient processes, better decision-making tools, and deeper insights into how they can optimize their healthcare dollars.

They expect the healthcare sector to provide the same on-demand access, hyper-customized services and digitally enabled experiences they’ve become accustomed to with customer-centric companies in other industries that are driving increasingly high standards.

And, they want to be cared for—not as a consumer but as a whole person—by an efficient and effective healthcare system that understands and respects their needs and preferences.

Deep Dissatisfaction
Rapidly rising consumer expectations are shining a bright spotlight on the deep level of consumer dissatisfaction in the healthcare sector.

Of the 21 industries ranked in Forrester’s 2017 U.S. Customer Experience Index, the health insurance industry lands near the bottom of the list, ranking just above airlines, TV service providers, federal government agencies, and internet service providers.

Although health plan members rank customer service as a top need, only 57 percent report having good customer experiences. According to Forrester, “customers report feeling annoyed, disappointed and frustrated often.”

Another study echoes these findings, revealing that “81 percent of consumers are unsatisfied with their healthcare experience, and the happiest consumers are those that interact with the system the least.”

Such dissatisfaction negatively impacts member engagement, activation and retention, and ultimately, clinical, operational and financial outcomes.

To thrive in today’s increasingly consumer-centric healthcare arena, it’s critical to make the customer experience a top priority. Unsurprisingly, Forrester’s data found that 88 percent of satisfied members will advocate for their plan and 61 percent will remain loyal to it.

Concierge-Level Support
With more of their own money on the line—and greater decision-making power and higher service expectations—consumers will reward those organizations that simplify their healthcare experience and meet their demands for convenience, efficiency, transparency and value without sacrificing quality, security and a human touch.

A competitive advantage can be gained by health insurers that offer their members concierge-level support that enables them to smoothly navigate the healthcare system, easily access care, make informed decisions, and spend wisely. Such high-touch advocacy and navigation services will help ensure the best possible overall member experience while improving outcomes across the board.

Employers will also gravitate toward the plans that can provide their workforce with comprehensive concierge-level support, knowing that it will help curb costs, attract and retain talent, and improve employee wellbeing.

To learn more, click here to download Carenet’s e-book, Staying Competitive in a Customer-Centric Market: Why Joining the Concierge Movement is Critical for Meeting Employer Needs and Consumer Expectations.

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