Thursday, May 03, 2012

Health insurance companies and moments of truth

Health insurance companies are service companies and what makes or breaks a service company are the customers’ perceptions when they interact with the company. These are called moments of truth. Today, the way the health insurance companies are set up, most of their interactions with their customers are designed to be negative , as a result of which most customers have unhappy memories of their moments of truth interactions with health insurance companies.

This is because most health insurance companies today primarily perform just two functions:
1. They collect your premium on your policy every year when this is due
2. They process your claim ( and hopefully pay your bills) when you fall sick.

Signing up a new customer for a new health insurance policy is hard work. This is quite a competitive market ; and no one wants to think about falling sick , which is why most customers are quite reluctant to spend money on an health insurance policy . Most of us think we are immortal , and refuse to think about illness when we are hale and hearty. Also, while we don't mind buying , we hate being sold to - and we often feel that health insurance company agents and distributors are snake oil salesmen , who just want to make a quick buck off their commissions. They seem to be more interested in looking after their best interests, rather than ours. This is why most of us will not trust health insurance companies or their salesman.

Things are equally bad at the time of renewal. If you've never had any reason to submit a claim against your health insurance policy-and that's true for most of us , because most of us will remain healthy - we feel that we have wasted our heard-earned money on the premium , and are quite reluctant to renew.

The only way for health insurance companies to fix this problem is to start creating more interactions with customers which are designed to create positive strokes , rather than the present negative ones. There are multiple opportunities for health insurance to do so , thanks to mobile phones and technology, it’s become quite inexpensive for them to do so.

Clever health insurance companies could send a friendly healthy message every day - by SMS or e-mail – to their customer, in order to educate and engage them. This will reinforce the message that health insurance companies are in the business of keeping their customers healthy, rather than simply paying for their care when they fall ill. Simple interventions like this can make a world of a difference in keeping customers loyal and healthy !
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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:54 AM

    Very interesting article, and I cant agree more. Health insurers need to do more to retain their healthy pool of clients, which in itself is a claims management strategy.


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