Federally-Driven Health Insurance and the Future of Customer Care

Who would want the Federal Government telling them what to do? Well…for a price…a lot of businesses. Many observers wonder why the insurance industry is behind the Federal Government mandating insurance coverage for all. The quick answer is this – if your product was mandated, how much would you fight Government involvement? If you’re Dunkin’ Donuts, and every individual in the country is required to eat a glazed donut every day, would you object? If you were Schwinn, and every person in America had to buy a new bike every year, would you object?

Yes, with that requirement will come a lot of oversight, but the insurance companies are looking in the short-term more at the increase in demand, not the increase in oversight.

And why are we discussing this? Because the structure of the legislation should result in at least one good thing for citizens – improved customer service from insurance companies. According to an article in Forbes magazine titled Why Customer Service Matters in the New Healthcare Insurance Landscape, insurers will “have to deal with challenges such as competition, price and margin pressure, and consumer education. In this environment, cost-effective, yet, reliable direct-to-consumer customer service before, during and after the initial “sale” will be a critical competence for success.”

The tips provided for the insurers in the article include the following:

1. Hire/retain great staff.

2. Make it easy for the customer to do business with you.

3. Go to the customer to serve them.

I made these tips a little more generic to illustrate the broader point of the article. No matter what kind of business you’re in, great customer service involves three core pieces: Your people, your processes, and your customers. Take all the strategies in the world on customer service, and boil it down to these three. Consider the following questions:

1. What are the characteristics of your best employees? Identify them, build those skills, and look to acquire others that have these best practice qualities.

2. How can you make things quick, self-evident, and simple on the customer do business with you? How can you make it equally as easy for your employees to deliver great service?

3. Determine where your customers make decisions, where they use your services, where they get information about your company and your competitors. What can you do to be more present with your customers?

If your business (or the health insurers themselves) answer these questions and take action, maybe the future of customer care may be a little brighter.

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/

Check out our Healthcare Customer Service Consulting Services: http://cssamerica.com/csshealth.htm

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