It's no secret that the pandemic has driven more digital experiences than ever before:
We learned how to order groceries online and have them delivered to our front doors.
We learned how to work out using mobile devices that would guide us as we exercised from home.
We learned how to use our computers to remotely dial into meetings while we were working from home.
In every instance, we have had a full digital transformation as a global population. And the same is true in every vertical. Experian published a study in July 2020 that found that people have a 60% higher expectation of digital experiences now, compared to before the pandemic. This holds true across all industries — not just for retail, restaurants, travel, and work.
Healthcare has been particularly impacted by the pandemic's digital focus, as providers had to quickly pivot into a new virtual service model. Payers had to immediately address questions about COVID treatment. And overall, we've seen a 100% YoY growth in consumers visiting healthcare websites.
Why are they visiting websites?
Consumers have been trained to find any and everything they need through search. Google, Amazon, and others have taught people how to search for specific things by asking specific questions. Consumers have learned that asking detailed questions of these search platforms tends to yield better results than when they ask questions of direct businesses, on their business sites. But, Google can't answer every question — especially ones related to a distinct member's health insurance plan. And so that member turns to a payer's website to find the information they need. But, payer sites are often missing the mark when it comes to answering member questions.
What does this lead to?
Member calls to your call center that cost payers a significant amount of money to answer (when those calls could have been answered digitally).
Members utilizing the wrong resources or under-utilizing plan offerings that could make a difference in managing care.
Increased pressure on your teams to drive a better member experience, but instead provide an experience that is less than subpar.
Many payers claim that they want to become their members' trusted health advisor. But data shows that payers have the lowest trust of all healthcare resources (14% trust in health plans vs. 44% trust in physicians). One immediate way to become a better trusted health advisor to your members is to consider how easy it is for them to find the information they need on your site, and deliver information to them in the way they are seeking it, every time.
Some members will always want or need to call your call center, while some members will prefer to find information on your site. If you can provide information to those who are seeking information digitally, you reserve more room and resources to serve those who are calling. That can also help dramatically reduce the number of calls you have to field in total.
At Yext, we performed an analysis of queries on payer sites and found that 40% of searches on payer websites were for Member FAQs, including questions about COVID. Removing the COVID-related questions, the member FAQs represented 58% of questions.
Key topics of Member FAQs included:
How do I add a beneficiary?
What are my benefits?
How do I pay my bill?
How do I replace my insurance card?
How do I enroll in my FSA?
How do I get my medical records?
How do I find my prescription card?
How do I update my phone number / address?
Some key questions for you to answer, objectively:
How well is your site answering these questions and themes?
If a member asks this sample of questions on your site, do they get a keyword-based result or rich results?
Can you do a better job answering these questions online and deflecting calls to your call center?
Test the above-mentioned questions on your site to identify where your site is falling short, and if it does fall short, plan to make changes. These are simple changes you can make to dramatically improve member experience and increase member trust.
Now that the industry is emerging from Open Enrollment season, it's time to start thinking about how you are digitally serving your existing and new members. Implementing a search strategy on your site that depends on matching a search query in natural language to the right result will help you drive long-term trust and satisfaction of your members, and end up saving you money. It's a journey worth taking!