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Medicare's After-Sale Sale

Posted Sep 14 2008 4:40pm

Medicare’s After-Sale Sale

There are over 600 Medicare Advantage plan sponsors. That’s a sea of competition! It’s time to look beyond member acquisition and start focusing on member retention. As a plan marketer, it’s vital to spend time on the after-sale sale.

  • Which customers are unhappy… and why?
  • Are you creating loyalty through problem resolution?

  • What is your strategy for affirming their purchase decision?

  • Which competitors are targeting your members…and how?

Retention takes a proactive effort. Simply reacting to decreasing membership numbers puts you behind the curve. As companies acquire customers, part of the immediate on-boarding plan should be retention. There are three stages to a successful retention strategy:

Data Driven Seniors have demographic and psychographic indicators that can help you build loyalty. The more you know about your customers and their needs, the more members you will retain. Use customer information to turn numbers into intelligence – understand their interests, traits and “hot buttons”. If 40% of your membership goes to the library, start a book club. If 35% like to garden, start a Gardening column in your newsletter.

Continuous Customer InteractionThree customer “touches” per year can help generate over 90% retention. How often are you in touch with members? Smart Medicare plans have formal member orientation “touches” such as welcome calls, plan benefit reminders and expanded provider relations programs. Over the course of the year, constant follow-up remains critical. Develop social networks where members regularly receive newsletters, quarterly telephone calls and wellness or plan reminders.

Meaningful MessagingOnce you’re talking with your customers, speaking their language gets results. Seniors need guidance and interaction that’s meaningful to their situations. Make your materials work for them. Keep information simple and relevant. Mix education with ongoing selling. Use retention efforts as opportunity to explain why your company is the right choice. Reinforce value, not just product features. It’s the after-sale sale.

When you create customer-centered brand experiences, you will build loyalty and you’ll retain more members. It’s not easy to steal loyal members…and there’s over 60 competitors eyeing your customers for defectors. It’s a switchers market.

Your brand is your company’s reputation. It’s every aspect of the relationship you have with your customers–everything they see, hear, feel and experience. This means every telephone call, email exchange, and written communication must support the customer experience. In other words, fulfill every promise your company makes. Your brand differentiates and defines value and ultimately, is the reason customers remain loyal.

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