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Medicare LifeTime Value: Reaping Benefits From Member Retention

Posted Oct 30 2009 11:00pm

Member-centric Medicare Advantage plans have loyal, trusting customers. It’s not easy to steal a loyal member. More importantly, loyalty equals customer LifeTime Value which translates into stable membership and sustained profitability.

In the Medicare market, competitive rivalry is at an all-time high, with well-orchestrated “switcher” campaigns targeting YOUR members. And, at a time when beneficiaries are seeing big changes in benefits and rates, plans seeing even the slightest uptick in voluntary disenrollment are also feeling the threat to long-term profitability.

Retaining members by creating loyal, satisfied customers has never been more important; particularly when acquiring new members is as much as 5-times the cost of keeping existing ones. By reducing disenrollment just 1% a Medicare Advantage plan can realize millions of dollars in additional revenue and acquisition cost savings.

It’s time to step back and ask some tough questions:

  • Has your disenrollment rate been creeping upward?
  • Which your customers are unhappy… and why?
  • What’s your “post-sale” customer action plan? 
  • Is your messaging affirming a member’s purchase decision?
  • What’s the “right” mix of mail, email and telephone communication?
  • What’s customer satisfaction questions are you asking? 

Successful member retention takes proactive, personal customer service built on an attitude of MEMBERCENTRICITY. Improving customer loyalty is one of the least expensive, most impactful ways to protect membership and improve margins. Successful retention programs are based on three core principles:

  1. Data Driven The more you know about your customers, who’s at risk and what’s important to them, the more members you will retain. Understanding your customer demographic and psychographic indicators helps build loyalty.
  2. Continuous Interaction Frequent, personalized member outreach has huge payoff by reinforcing plan value and reaffirming a consumer’s purchase— from welcome calls to an array of “after-sale sale” communications.
  3. Meaningful Messaging Create a dialogue with customers…not a monologue. Seniors are looking for guidance and interaction that’s meaningful to their situation throughout their membership lifecycle—part customer service, part sales, and part senior advocacy.

Across America, consumers have become much less forgiving of bad service. In a heartbeat, they will just take their wallet and loyalty somewhere else. A member-centric Medicare Advantage experience involves every interaction with a plan’s members―every telephone call, every email exchange, and every written communication.

Make sure your plan embraces a high-touch, high-results philosophy. Retention is the ultimate measure of success in Medicare Advantage. Your payoff will come in member loyalty, improved profitability and a sustainable competitive advantage.

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