By: Dan Medin, VP, Service Product Strategy & Delivery
High call volume during open enrollment can be a double whammy for your plan – not only is it very expensive to staff your call center, but long wait times can leave your brand-new members annoyed and frustrated. We recently spoke with a plan that received 35% higher call volume during their open enrollment period. Some of the insights they shared include:
- The number one reason people called in was related to finding a provider – and often to confirm a certain doctor is in network.
- Members didn’t always trust the online information they found.
- Average call time was over 10 minutes due to the confusion and frustration.
For this plan and likely yours, reducing call volume can yield serious benefits. Read on for a few tips on how you can get started.
#1: Make sure your website clearly identifies in-network providers
People don’t like surprises. Call out in-network providers in your provider search – especially as people are looking to find if their current providers are covered by new plan options. Make it extremely intuitive to understand network status. Other information and guidance can follow. Also, give your members and prospective members the ability to filter providers for insights by provider tier to help them save money.
#2: Provide thorough and easy-to-understand cost information
It’s ideal to have cost and provider search together in a single experience so members don’t have to jump through hoops to find the information they want. If finding cost information requires an extra step, few members will take action. Consider adding or improving a cost calculator to let people plug in their information to do quick math – especially for those looking to compare plans.
#3: Train customer service on all your online tools
If your customer service reps can teach callers how to find the information they are looking for by simply going online, you’ll set yourself up for fewer calls in the future. Remember, most people don’t actually want to pick up the phone, but they will if they can’t find what they need. Another related tip is to make sure your on-hold messaging provides some education about using online tools.
#4: Make sure your chat functionality can provide the information people are searching for
Chat can be a highly effective tool during open enrollment to handle these routine interactions. The channel allows your customer service team to handle multiple interactions, automate responses, offer educational resources, and provide a high-quality service experience to what is likely to be a member’s first interaction with your organization.
#5: Communicate the resources you have available to support your members
We’ve seen our partners get very creative in how to present their members with information about the tools and resources available to assist them in finding the best possible provider. Weave the message into as many of your existing communication channels as possible, highlight the value of registering on your online portal to get personalized information, provide FAQs and other resources to walk them through how to find a doc – we’ve even seen short videos made on how to take advantage of the support available.
There’s no single silver bullet on how to drive reductions in call volume while preserving a world-class customer experience. However, there are very tactical actions that can certainly alleviate the pressure your organization feels during open enrollment while allowing your members an easy way to get the information they need to select a provider. If you’d like to talk to one of our experts about your online experience and learn more about what HealthSparq offers, you can request a demo today.