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How insurers are solving communications challenges

Utilizing data for better customer communications

5 min read


Bob Dunfee

This post is sponsored by Smart Communications, a division of Thunderhead.

As consumers increasingly look for more personalized and clear communications, health insurers are working to streamline processes and better utilize data to improve the way they work with clients.

In this post, we talk with Bob Dunfee, Vice President of Solutions at Smart Communications, about how insurers can create more efficient, consistent communications to improve customer experience.

What are some of the communications challenges faced by health care insurers?

The digital transformation has disrupted the relationship between brands and their customers, and in the health care sector, it has created a new set of challenges for insurers. Different generations of customers expect communications in different ways, such as text, email or mobile instead of printed documents.  Because different parts of an organization manage various channels, ensuring consistency across all customer communication is a huge challenge for organizations.  Having a unified cloud solution for all customer communications has not been available until the introduction of Smart Communications, which helps brands deliver consistent, on-brand, multi-channel and compliant communications.  

Customer expectations have also evolved and they now expect much more from brands in terms of personalized, contextually relevant customer communications that are delivered using the channel of their choosing.  So having the right solution in place is key to successfully reaching clients and overcoming these issues.

What are the keys to developing better customer communications? 

Three things come to mind for improving customer communications:

  • Health insurers must provide a joined-up omni-channel approach to customer communications and understand that communications are increasingly taking place in an interactive, multi-touchpoint and real-time context.
  • The businesses must have access to the right data, such as customer accounts, historical information, policies, billing and claims details to make communications relevant and personalized to individuals.
  • By empowering business users with easy to use and efficient tools for communications creation and improvement, insurers will have more satisfied, better-informed, customers and more efficient employees. 

What benefits can a health plan expect from providing more consistent, personalized and relevant customer communications?

The top benefits are:

  • Customer satisfaction scores will go up as a result of better communications. Happy customers spend more with you, stay with you for longer and tell their friends.
  • Accuracy and compliancy of communications are improved which means health insurers spend less time dealing with mistakes or non-compliancy issues, enabling them to focus on their cores services and customer satisfaction.
  • Time-to market for communications that support new products and services is reduced because communications is controlled by business users, content is better managed, and templates rationalized.
  • By centralizing the delivery and management of customer communications by using a solution like Smart Communications, the overall costs to support communications across multiple channels will decrease.

What are some industry trends that are reshaping how health insurers think?

There are three key trend areas that are reshaping how health insurers think: enterprise technology, age of the customer and the digital transformation. 

Let’s talk about enterprise technology trends first. The traditional customer communications management (CCM) on-premise solutions are difficult to leverage across the entire enterprise. There is an increasing demand for flexible and rapid deployment, with scalable and elastic production capacity, and lower TCO. Smart Communications answers this need and provides the market’s only true multi-tenant SaaS offering and hybrid-cloud capabilities. By shifting the way the platform integrates with existing solutions and platforms, organizations are able to more quickly integrate and deliver CCM.

The age of the customer also has to be considered since the customer is more in control now than ever before.  Clients want to receive communications via their favorite channels and based on their preferences.  Customers also expect communications to be more personalized with real-time information.  Health insurers must be able to deliver in this more complex and dynamic environment as customers have a diverse set of options at their disposal.

Healthcare insurers are continually working to adapt to the digital transformation that has been taking place over the past several years. We see more requirements for stand-alone systems to be able to communicate with many other systems. This is true in CCM as business critical systems need to be able to share information, data and processes to deliver accurate and personalized communications that customers expect today.

Can you give us an example of how a company can see results after improving communications?

One of our health insurer customers has consolidated multiple document generation applications into a single deployment of our cloud-enabled Smart Communications solution. The result has been to drive greater efficiency by decreasing the time it takes to create and deliver customer communications and improving customer experience by enhancing the quality of communications that customers receive. Additionally, our solution has placed the business user in control of customer communications and ensured brand consistency of health care communications across all channels.  They now create templates faster, manage branded content changes more efficiently, and managed issues of compliancy more easily. The health care insurer has realized a 60% to 90% reduction in communications templates required across the business and has achieved significant cost savings by moving to cloud-enabled CCM.