Wednesday, November 4, 2009

NACCM 2009: Achieving Critical Clarity: How Improving the Customer Experience Increases Customer Understanding, Persistency and Participation

It’s no wonder that Cigna just won the Gartner Gold Award for Customer Strategy and Customer Experience Excellence. Ingrid Lindberg, Customer Experience Officer with Cigna, shared with us the strategies that they implemented to get them where they are today.

Four years ago, Cigna’s CEO took the company in a new direction to make the health care business more user-friendly and to build trust. Cigna found that when people were asked to rate things that they trusted, they would rarely answer “my health plan”. They determined that when the customer experience is confusing and there is a lack of trust, they miss opportunities to improve health.

In asking for feedback about the health care experience, Lindberg received the following customer information:

77% were unsure what terminology in their health plan policy really means
50% didn’t know how much they pay each month
85% did not understand key health care terms
85% don’t participate in available wellness programs
82% don’t compare hospital qualifications before choosing
45% don’t receive timely, appropriate care

Cigna took this information and arrived at two driving principles for their health care experience: 1) that every interaction must be helpful, and 2) every interaction must be easy. With these principles in mind, they got into action with the following in mind:

1) Analyze every individual touch point
2) Change terminology to get rid of insurance-ease
3) Ban “alphabet-soup” talk - EOB, PCP, EPO
4) Eliminate nuisance mail – get what you need when you need it
5) Eliminate what frustrates – if you want a person, you get a person
6) Explore possibilities, not limitations to improve health

As a result, they created new terminology. They asked university students to look at a list of confusing terminology and redesign new words that worked. For example, instead of using the word “subscriber”, they changed to “the person who has the benefits from the employer”, and the words “member liability” was changed to “the amount you need to pay”.

They made changes to their Enrollment Guide by making them more user friendly and allowing the customer to choose the right plan. When they found that 52% of customers are visual learners, they added a checklist for people to follow.

Changes were also made for their new quotes for treatment that included an estimator that allows you to see what you will pay, comparison of treatment costs, all in plain language.

Redesigning their explanation of benefits also paid off. They were able to provide a summary of care charges, put key financial data on the front page, and shared with customers how much they saved based on the plan they chose.

They also made an improvement in their employee engagement as a result of some of these changes. In looking at the needs of the customer, they found that they wanted phone support 24/7. When they presented this concept to employees on a volunteer basis, they welcomed the change. It has allowed Cigna to better serve their customers, reduced workload for their employees, and increased employee retention by double.

Achieving success was a result of analyzing each customer touch point – words, forms, processes, etc., says Lindberg. Cigna is now setting the industry standard for the customer experience.

No comments: