Retail was first to embrace social – encouraging customers to talk about, review, comment on, and ask questions about the products they sell. Brands quickly followed suit, and travel is catching up. First-movers in highly regulated financial services have now opened up to conversations as well.
Yet most health insurance companies still fail to see the writing on the wall: all products, services, and industries are already discussed online – and the companies that encourage, learn from, and act on these conversations are surging ahead.
The numbers don’t lie: health insurers must get social – or get left behind.
Consumers no longer trust companies because they no longer have to: 59-65% of consumers find user-generated content more honest and genuine than any other online information.
That’s 65% of consumers 18-37 and 59% of those 47-65.1 And the vast majority of consumers agree that consumer feedback is a good indicator of the quality of a service: 86% of consumers 18-37 and 79% of those 47-65. 1 There’s a trust gap in every industry today, but none more than financial services and health insurance. It’s not that you’re viewed as an “evil corporation.” It’s simply that consumers now have the information they trust most – opinions from other consumers – right at their fingertips. So, be the one to give it to them.
Consumers will pay more for trust: Half don’t trust their current insurer.
On average, consumers would pay $30 more per month to work with a health insurer they trust. Some would even pay as much as $100 per month more. And 84% of consumers must trust a brand before interacting with it at all. It pays to be trusted, and the insurers that transparently accept and display member feedback will build that trust first.
Young consumers need others’ opinions when buying: 29% of those 18-37 won’t buy insurance without reading others’ opinions.1
Most Millennials haven’t yet started shopping for health insurance, but with the coming healthcare reforms, they will. Insurers that meet their needs early can keep them for life. The opportunity? These young consumers need others’ opinions before making buying decisions – and the percentage will only increase as more start shopping for insurance. In industries Millennials are already familiar with, their need for opinions is high: 44% of Millennials won’t buy major electronics without owners’ feedback, and 40% won’t buy cars. 1 Health insurers that gather positive recommendations first will win.
Older consumers want others’ insurance opinions, too: 30% of 47-65 won’t buy insurance without reading others’ opinions.1
It’s not just Millennials who need others’ opinions. Older consumers are actually more reliant on word of mouth when it comes to insurance decisions. Member feedback and brand perception are some of the only (if not the only) differentiators for health insurers. Start gathering feedback immediately to set your brand apart from others. Member content helps guide your marketing as well – letting you echo authentic sentiments about your brand back to new consumers.
Consumers seek out others like them to discuss their health: 23% of people with a chronic ailment go online to find others with similar concerns.
One in four internet users living with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart conditions, lung conditions, cancer, or some other chronic ailment say they have gone online to find others with similar health concerns. And one in five adults (21%) say they turned to others who have the same health condition the last time they had a health issue. Creating communities for members with like conditions to gather, share information, and find support creates an emotional affinity with your brand – showing members that you care and earning their loyalty. And if they can’t find these communities in your network, they’ll find them somewhere else.
Young consumers don’t think companies care: Only 29% of Millennials believe companies truly want to know what customers think.
And yet, 64% of Millennials still want companies to give them more ways to share this feedback. To bridge that trust gap mentioned earlier? Show consumers you care by listening and acting. It’s not enough to get them to talk. Analyze what your members are saying, and look for trends with opportunities to improve. Let members know when you take action on their feedback – both to build trust, and to encourage more feedback in the future.
1. Bazaarvoice & Kelton research, 2012.