5 Member Engagement Mistakes to Avoid

July 10, 2017 Jeanette Stern

Great member engagement practices are vital to keep a health plan alive. Besides improving patient satisfaction, positive member engagement can help your plan perform better. Below are several mistakes your plan should avoid and suggestions on how to improve member engagement.

1. Seeing Your Call Center As an Expense Instead of An Investment
Does your organization consider the call center an administrative expense or as a valuable investment? We understand that smaller health plans may not have enough resources or employees to maintain a high level of customer service. Sometimes you may have to hire temporary employees to help during periods of high call volume, especially during open enrollment season, but this can backfire if they aren't trained properly. Agents that are not properly trained can make the onboarding process more difficult for members. This can lead to more complaints and other issues.

Take the time to train your member services call center agents so they have in-depth knowledge of the health plan's benefits, costs and other detailed information. You should also invest time in showing them how to navigate your plan's software system so they can find patients quickly and resolve their issues and requests. When member services call center agents make the onboarding process easier for patients and demonstrate their professionalism, it will improve your health plan's brand image and lower the number of customer service complaints. The member services call center agents will also appreciate it when you provide resources to them and show that you care about their success.

2. Outsourcing Your Member Service Call Center to the Cheapest Vendor
Sometimes a cheap vendor isn't worth the additional headaches. Although it is tempting to outsource your call center department to a vendor with the lowest bid, it may cost your health plan more money in the long run if they deliver poor service. Choose a call center with a reliable and trustworthy reputation in the industry. You can also partner with a call center and reward them based on their performance. This will motivate their representatives to sell more products and provide better service.

3. Providing an Identical Customer Service Experience for Every Member
No one wants to feel like they aren't important. Members are very smart, so they can tell when the member service agent they are talking to is using a generic phone script or is unenthusiastic about helping them. When you take the time to create a customized membership experience, members will notice. You can also personalize their experience further by delivering tailored content to their email and other marketing materials through their preferred channel of communication.

4. Not Taking the Time to Resolve Member Complaints
It may be human nature to avoid complaints or negative feedback, but your healthcare plan must address it immediately. An inefficient communication system can make it hard for your member services agents to follow-up with patients and answer their questions. This can eventually cause people to cancel their healthcare plan as soon as possible. Analyze your system, software and processes for ways to  improve the member experience and resolve patient issues faster.

5. Not Creating A System or Process to Reduce Member Churn Rate
Do you know your member churn rate? If not, you should find out. It can be costly if you do not create a system or process to reduce the number of members who leave your plan. We recommend contacting members regularly to keep them engaged. You can also offer incentives. Being proactive can prevent future issues and lower the attrition rate.

We understand that member engagement can be difficult if you don't have a partner you can trust. Please contact us today for more information about our services at MedXM. We focus on helping health plans improve their member engagement.

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