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Improve the Customer Experience During Open Enrollment Period (And Beyond)

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It’s everyone’s favorite time of year – open enrollment season! (Sorry, it’s not quite the holiday season yet.) Insurance companies and third-party administrators are gearing up for a hectic enrollment period. While companies are returning to benefits fairs and in-person meetings to discuss their 2023 benefit plans, employees are often left with additional questions after they leave. After all, we’re talking about choices that can have a sizable impact on a person’s finances and healthcare. How can a customer service organization build trust in its products and services while providing a satisfactory customer experience at the same time? A phone call could be the key component to a smooth open enrollment experience.

What is Open Enrollment?

Open enrollment is the time of year when people evaluate their benefits for the following year. Whether a person is getting healthcare insurance and other benefits through their employer or shopping via a healthcare exchange, there are a lot of details to take in.

More often than not, people take the information home not knowing exactly what they’re going to choose. They need to review their finances, talk with their significant others, review changes to their healthcare plan, etc.

Perhaps they’re starting a family in the new year, enrolling their kids in daycare, or planning on retirement. These typically aren’t decisions people make on the spur of the moment; they need to ask additional questions so they can plan properly.

  • How much does health insurance cost?
  • What is a deductible?
  • What is the difference between a high deductible plan and a standard plan?
  • How does an FSA or HSA work?
  • When do my benefits start?
  • When is the enrollment deadline?

People may also be filling out policy applications (or other forms) and need clarification. As a result, they’re going to reach out to a customer service agent or their third-party administrators.

Communication and the Open Enrollment Experience

The open enrollment experience varies from company to company. Many businesses use benefits fairs or open enrollment meetings; it gives employees the chance to ask questions face-to-face and have their questions answered. In the past few years, there has also been a shift in the workplace with more people working from home or from another remote location. In these situations, agencies or companies may pre-record their messages or post FAQ pages; while convenient, these formats don’t allow for a question-and-answer period.

Regardless of whether a person attends a live benefits meetings or has remote enrollment – many people need to talk to an agent or administrator about their specific situation.

While Baby Boomers and Generation Xers like face-to-face communications and phone calls, Millennials and Gen Zers prefer digital forms of communication such as email, video, or text messages.

However, when people have long and complicated questions, 49% of insurance customers prefer talking with a live person over the phone rather than through email, messaging apps and text messages. A phone call allows people to ask both initial and follow-up questions. It also provides a quicker, more immediate response than an email or scouring the web for an FAQ.

End of the Year Questions

What happens outside of open enrollment? Since most plans run on the calendar year (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31), a lot of people have a slew of other questions they need answers to. In turn, customer service teams could be making additional follow-up calls to answer questions such as:

  1. Did I meet my deductible for the year?
  2. Is this procedure or service approved?
  3. What is my co-pay?

These types of questions help people plan better. They can schedule a procedure ahead of time and understand their financial commitments. A staple of customer service is a quick follow-up so that people can get the answers they need.

Deliver Calls Made to Answer

Calling people back can be tedious, especially if they are not answering and engaging. Since so many people are wary of scam callers, 87% won’t answer a call from an unknown number.

But even callback requests have their shortcomings if you fail to brand your calls. According to our report, nearly 3 in 5 people missed a call from a call back request because they didn’t recognize the incoming call number. That ultimately leads to more time making repeated calls, and trying to get in touch with the right person at the right time.

Moreover, keeping your clients (both people and businesses) satisfied can maintain a steady stream of revenue and increase client loyalty.

There is a way to deliver a better customer experience, increase application processing, and new net income; plus, you can streamline your application processing during the open enrollment season. With a Branded Communication solution, you can deliver your name and reason for calling. When a company identifies itself on a person’s incoming call screen, the individual is more likely to answer and talk. In fact, a branded call can lead to an 18% lift in application conversion rates.

Improve the open enrollment experience for your clients and account holders, establish trust in your company, increase revenue, and retain your clients with a branded call.

Looking for more insights into insurance customer communication preferences? Read up on additional valuable stats in the Full (Call) Coverage — 2022 Insurance Report.

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