Don’t Ignore the Omnichannel Healthcare Consumer


omni channel healthcareThe modern consumer leads an omnichannel life, interacting with brands through multiple channels and devices at the pace of their choosing. This results in more touchpoints where healthcare payers and providers can deliver highly personalized and contextually relevant engagements. It simultaneously means that payers and providers need to enhance their ability to connect with today’s always-on and readily addressable consumers.

The omnichannel consumer expects a consistent brand experience regardless of channel. This turns every touchpoint – including websites, call centers, mobile apps, and IoT devices – into a pathway to enhance the experience. Healthcare payers and providers have yet to fully adapt to this new environment. Websites and other touchpoints often react to consumer events and fall short of proactive and interactive engagement to drive better outcomes for payers, providers, and consumers.

Focus on Engagement to Reach the Omnichannel Consumer Experience

Healthcare payers and providers need to meet the omnichannel consumer where they are to deliver value and remain relevant. This includes understanding consumer behaviors, preferences, and intents as well as intelligently orchestrating engagement in the channels that customers prefer. Healthcare payers and providers fall well short of achieving this; recent research from Nuance found that even on a basic level 46 percent of customers said their health plan still relied primarily on traditional mail despite a clear consumer preference for digital channels.

It is imperative that healthcare payers and providers address this engagement disconnect, especially because a recent IntelliResponse survey found that 58 percent of consumers would consider switching their health insurance if they had a poor online customer service experience. The ability to deliver the right messages across dynamic, multi-stage customer journeys is a strategic differentiator. This level of personalization has been proven to deliver results in other industries including retail, CPG, automotive, and travel services.

A recent Boston Consulting Group study found that personalization will push a revenue shift of some $800 billion over the next five years in retail, healthcare, and financial services to the 15 percent of companies that get it right. Omnichannel healthcare consumers expect customized experiences, and the payers and providers who can achieve that goal stand to reap the benefits. The time is now for leading healthcare organizations to embrace personalization and meet the omnichannel customer’s rising expectations – whether as a member, patient, or consumer – in order to achieve success in the evolving healthcare market.

Patient Data Platforms and the Omnichannel Healthcare Consumer

Part of the difficulty in engaging with the omnichannel healthcare consumer lies in the data silos that arose as a consequence of the piecemeal deployment of customer engagement technology. Healthcare payers and providers adopted disparate point solutions over time as new touchpoints arose. The resulting patchwork of technologies meant that no single solution or department could provide a picture of the entire customer.

This fragmented technology infrastructure has a corresponding negative impact on the customer experience. Consumers often have to explain their issue multiple times, which causes extensive frustration and leads to a lower opinion of the brand. A recent Accenture study found that 89 percent of consumers get frustrated when they have to explain their issue multiple times.

The reason companies lack a single customer view is that each point solution stores data in different formats, is not readily accessible, or may use different identifiers for customer data. It is difficult to gain a unified customer view when solutions don’t or can’t share data. Breaking down these internal data silos and creating a unified customer view must be a priority. Only then can healthcare payers and providers drive effective omnichannel customer engagement.

Traditional databases are not flexible or adaptable enough to provide the unified customer view. What healthcare payers and providers need is a purpose-built solution like a customer data platform (CDP), which can account for all types, formats, and cadences of customer data. CDPs are a new solution class that provide an always-on, always-updating golden record that is made continually available at low latency to all touchpoints and users across the enterprise.

CDPs empower business users with a central point of data control, giving marketers and other customer engagement professionals visibility into a consumer’s behaviors, preferences, and intents. The resulting unified customer view can then be leveraged as part of a broader customer engagement hub to intelligently orchestrate interactions across touchpoints and create a ubiquitous brand experience that allows payers and providers to meet the omnichannel customer in their preferred touchpoint.

Omnichannel Engagement is the Future of Healthcare

Healthcare payers and providers need two capabilities to drive higher outcomes in today’s market. The first is to form a deep understanding of customers by unifying their customer data – across claims, clinical, socio-demographic, and digital behavioral data. Breaking down the functional and channel-specific data silos that have stymied progress is vital to long-term success, but this alone will not deliver optimized customer engagement. Healthcare payers and providers must also intelligently orchestrate interactions and provide contextually relevant interactions regardless of touchpoint. Only then can payers and providers meet the omnichannel healthcare customer’s expectation of a consistent brand experience across traditional and digital touchpoints, and across all stages of the customer journey.

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