Many industries have recognized the customer-centric approach of omnichannel as a pathway to providing their users with better experiences, and health plans are no exception. Yet achieving omnichannel can be especially difficult for health plans that often contend with legacy systems and corporate structures built around their business operations instead of a member’s journey.
What happens when the gears grind and your teams aren’t having an easy time helping your members and following through on the promise of omnichannel?
You don’t have to be omniscient to improve the omnichannel experience. A few smart moves can increase collaboration and get you closer to your aims. When you take the time to develop a content strategy, your team’s internal brain power and effort flow in the right direction at the right time, and members are better off for it.
Here are four areas of work that can get you started:
1. Build an Internal-Facing Storefront
Many Design teams have ready examples to share of how an omnichannel storefront could look. Their style guides and digital asset management systems have provided them with highly functional internal resources that house what they need to build experiences for external audiences.
At Mad*Pow, we’ve seen clients stand up omnichannel-friendly sites that house all of the principles and assets that can be leveraged across channels for design and content purposes.
By building an internal omnichannel storefront, you will:
- Allow all teams to access, understand, and use communications and content guidelines (such as tone/voice and accessibility principles) in one place.
- Have a go-to place for updates on your messaging infrastructure and customer-facing talking points.
- Get external partners up to speed fast when you need to scale up work on a campaign or initiative.
2. Establish a Content Database
A content database allows your content/communications teams to access ready-to-serve content on benefits, initiatives, and regulatory changes to share with members. Whether housed in an internal-facing CMS (content management system), intranet, or wiki, core content that is readily accessible can help your messaging remain cohesive and crisp.
You’ll want to evaluate and update existing content to align with the tone and voice guidelines that will give your omnichannel messaging a consistent and clear perspective. Populate your content database with these updated pieces so any team member can weave them into their member communications.
To get the most out of your content database:
- Train teams on how to use it and provide use cases for leveraging existing content.
- Bring in a detail-oriented team member to categorize the metadata of your content, such as the last time it was reviewed, who reviewed it, original publication date, audience, and channels used to distribute it. Add analytics and qualitative notes to the database to show what performed well with users.
- Connect your content database to your storefront and showcase high-performing content there.
3. Share Your Editorial Calendar
A common content strategy for health plans is to deliver members the right content, in the right way, at the right time. This dovetails nicely with the stated goal of many omnichannel efforts: meet members where they are. The key tactic to help you fulfill these strategies? Map out what you’ll need to communicate in a comprehensive, shareable editorial calendar.
At its best, a shared editorial calendar acts like a nerve center for all your member-facing initiatives, where you can see precisely what your messaging will be for the future. You can break down your central messaging across your lines of business so that future rollouts and initiatives have a head start when reaching and resonating with your members.
To make it work:
- Plan your communication touch points out as far as possible in a format that is as malleable as possible. Annual, quarterly, and monthly planning is less daunting when the pieces are already in place, and you can reorder them as needed.
- Post and share links to the editorial calendar for anyone in the organization to view (but not edit).
- Review the calendar with internal stakeholders regularly – especially business partners and senior leaders. No meeting needed. Allow them to review it on their own time and post questions or concerns back to your team.
4. Treat Internal Comms as You Treat External Comms
An omnichannel effort focuses on your external audiences first and foremost, but to do this well, your internal teams need to have their channels running smoothly. Treating your internal communication channels as an integral part of your omnichannel experience means that every team knows what is being said and how – whether it’s related to resolving claims or preparing for open enrollment.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Identify omnichannel champions on channel teams who can regularly connect to share best practices and update guidelines.
- Tap into your social media team’s expertise to plan and develop content for multiple channels on behalf of various stakeholders to benefit numerous audiences.
- Talk to your HR department about how they handle providing information to internal audiences and seek to understand the considerations that made their rollouts successful or not.
Developing a successful omnichannel strategy can turn interactions with your members into proactive, solutions-oriented conversations. You can strengthen omnichannel by layering in content strategy and tactics that will help members take care of their health, show them how to use their plan appropriately, and give them the information they need, when, and how they need it.
Let's talk if you need help building a strategy that provides a consistent, accessible healthcare experience, regardless of your audience, channel, or needs.
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