News & Insight

For Payers and PBMs, Being Consumer-Centric Isn’t Enough

While the entire healthcare ecosystem continues to wrangle with market and regulatory uncertainty, one thing is certain: consumers want and need more control over healthcare decisions. And they’re coming to healthcare interactions with high expectations.

Today’s healthcare consumer expects personalized, easy and convenient experiences based on what they are getting from disruptive brands in retail, travel and other industries. Apple, Amazon, Hilton and others have raised the bar for consumer experiences.

To succeed in the new consumer-driven world of healthcare, payers and pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) have taken a consumer-centric approach. However, the result has often been less than stellar, with frustrating and disjointed experiences at nearly every touchpoint within the member journey. Member satisfaction for many organizations remains lower than goal, impacting renewals and lifetime customer value.

“Consumers want to be heard, understood, and given clear directions through a personalized health care experience.”

Source: Deloitte, “2016 Health Care Consumer Experience Survey.”

But healthcare isn’t like retail

While consumers have high expectations, the reality is that healthcare is far more complex than a retail transaction. And the stakes are obviously much higher than they are in purchasing a small appliance on Amazon or booking a hotel for a vacation.

No wonder 88 percent of healthcare consumers in a 2017 customer engagement survey by STARTEK preferred to interact with a human instead of a chatbot, artificial intelligence software, or interactive voice response (IVR) for customer service. So while digital channels are convenient and preferred by many consumers—especially in retail and other industries—humans are still needed and preferred to handle personal, complex issues often found in healthcare interactions.

You need a human-centric strategy

As payers and PBMs have discovered, a consumer-centric strategy isn’t enough to meet the expectations and needs of today’s healthcare consumer, especially given the current uncertainty in the market.

What it takes is something STARTEK calls a human-centric strategy. You need human engagement specialists to interact with members—in all channels—to effectively handle the complex, higher-stakes, and more emotional interactions. Your engagement specialists need to create personalized, professional and spontaneous interactions that reduce member anxiety, anticipate their needs and build rapport.

To support the human needs of consumers in healthcare, you need to be more human than ever before. It’s time to reset your strategy with that in mind.

Rethinking your member service strategy for payers and PBMs Read the new STARTEK white paper, “Course correction on the direct-to-consumer healthcare journey.” You’ll learn about the barriers to delivering the kind of experiences that drive member engagement, satisfaction and loyalty and how to use a two-pronged human-centric approach to overcome them.

Get it now