In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacted the healthcare communications and marketing landscape. While instilling trust has been a longtime priority for organizations across the industry, the critical phase of the pandemic put these goals to the ultimate test. Medical cost increases, workforce fluctuations and ongoing uncertainty related to the short- to long-effects of the pandemic have caused ongoing instability and turmoil.
Now, in 2023, healthcare institutions are focused on earning back member/patient engagement, trust and, ultimately, loyalty. Fortunately, customer communications management (CCM) technology can help organizations recover the value of their member experiences while decreasing operational workload.
As you march ahead the rest of this year in Q3-Q4, it’s essential to consider the latest trends and innovations influencing healthcare CCM strategies. Hopefully, they will give you some ideas to reinvigorate your communications plan and stand out from competitors. Here are the top trends we’re paying attention to for the second half of 2023.
1. Prioritize the experience
Consumers’ high expectations for fast, frictionless experiences aren’t going anywhere this year – or ever. Leading consumer brands like Amazon, Apple, Starbucks, Walmart and more have conditioned people to anticipate easy ordering, custom recommendations, optimal pricing, easy issue resolution and more. Healthcare institutions need to start thinking and acting the same way.
If you want to leverage this trend, it’s time to start digitizing the member experience from start to finish. Communications need to align with their email, text messaging and video preferences, only unless they continue to rely on printed mail and phone calls. Members expect you to align communications with the channels they use most.
Additionally, all important communications, such as Explanation of Benefits (EOBs) and bills, need to be easy to understand. They should also be personalized and engaging, when possible, especially if you are contacting them through your customer portal or when they call to speak with a customer service representative. A fully-integrated CCM solution like O’Neil’s ONEsuite platform ensures your team will have the most up-to-date insights and information when communicating with any member or customer.
2. Offer up strong social proof
While online reviews are a given when it comes to hospital and provider selection, they also influence member decisions related to insurance products and other healthcare services. If you’ve received numerous positive reviews, it’s important to share them through customer testimonial videos, quotes on your website, etc. so you can build trust with members and attract new ones. Social proof has largely replaced word-of-mouth referrals because, these days, it’s so easy to turn to the Internet for recommendations.
As you engage your customer service team, sales leaders and other employees who interact with members on a frequent basis, ask them to seek or request permission for customer testimonials. Compiling them and adding them to your website and other communications is an excellent tactic for winning new business.
3. Champion internal staff
Right now, attracting and retaining strong team members is a major roadblock for healthcare organizations. However, one of the ways you can boost employee morale is to ensure they have the right tools and technology to decrease their stress and make it easier for them to connect with members or patients.
Many institutions turn to CCM solutions to improve the staff experience and improve their efficiency. Staff members are already feeling overworked and burnt out, so modernizing your technology can make their jobs – and lives – easier. For instance, when a member’s regulated communications are available to review through a secure system, it’s easier for them to respond to billing inquiries and complaints, EOB questions, pre-approval questions, etc. Often, your customer service team bears the brunt of tough conversations or upset members, so helping them facilitate these conversations in a confident, respectful way, with the most up-to-date data on hand, can go a long way in securing their satisfaction in the workplace.
4. Streamline costly operations
With how hard the healthcare industry was hit by COVID-19, organizations must rethink antiquated communications practices that ultimately cost more money (such as mailing out every single member document). While some leaders may be thinking about reducing investments related to CCM technology, this approach can have potentially harmful effects, such as less engaged customers, decreased satisfaction and increased demand for customer service.
Instead, consider encouraging your members to move beyond expensive (and time-consuming) print and mail communications. Moving them toward your digital channels can yield higher engagement with a lot less effort on your team’s part.
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All of these trends in healthcare CCM will continue to impact the industry in 2023 – and beyond. Prioritizing the member experience and expanding your digital channels will be especially important drivers of success for your organization.
If you’re ready to embrace these trends, O’Neil can help. Our integrated and comprehensive ONEsuite platform enables organizations to personalize and modernize their experience from start to finish. If you have additional questions or would like to preview ONESuite, contact our team to set up a free CCM/CX consultation.