nib shares how it is tailoring customer communications

Health insurance provider details the technology overhaul and steps it's taking to personalise customer communications, from transaction to marketing

Personalised videos, tailored welcome packs and mobile responsive policy communications are just some of the ways nib is improving customer experience off the back of a technology overhaul.

The health insurance provider’s application product manager, Steve Hinton, told attendees at this year’s OpenText Innovation Tour that its decision to implement a fresh customer communications management (CCM) platform has transformed the way the group manages member correspondence across its direct brands, including nib Health Funds and nib OSHC, as well as white-label partnerships with Apia and Qantas Assure.

Hinton said communications activity at nib had previously been “incredibly backward”, with no internal ownership of communications or governance around what the customer received. While the group had a strong marketing and communications team, there was a disconnect with the technology function, and legacy systems limited its ability to be responsive.

“Health insurance is ridiculously competitive. We all have fairly similar products, similar pricing and we’re heavily regulated on what we can discount, so how you attract and keep a customer is all about customer experience,” he said. “If we don’t deliver that, we lose customers. But there was no regulation of design and content going.”

The situation was so bad, customers would call nib and have to explain what it was about, because teams didn’t know what had been sent to them, Hinton said. In addition, generic attachments in email were not optimised for an increasingly mobile-oriented audience.

The decision to invest in a new CCM solution was driven by the need to enhance the nib customer experience by ensuring the group communicated in a manner that was timely, tailored, meaningful and via a customer’s preferred channel, Hinton said.

“This wasn’t a cost saving or efficiency exercise to automate everything, we needed to fix the customer experience,” he said. “Preferred channel was a large issue for example, as we target under 30s as a brand. They are a very mobile population, yet we were still sending out printed letters to them. We’d disregard email as we didn’t have the technology, so channel preference was key: Whatever they told us to do, we needed to do that.”

Following procurement activity, nib chose OpenText’s Exstream solution and rolled out its first application on the platform in September 2015. Hinton said it was a challenging task, given the number of email providers it needed to deal with.

“We had to get the team right, develop repeatable and sensible processes, experiment and learn and revise,” he continued. “We wanted a permanent team working on this that was well-funded, as we had to get it right.”

Hinton said getting the platform implemented required the involvement and buy-in of every part of the business, and he highlighted educating contact and retail centres about the need for a new solution as a key step. To highlight the group’s commitment to improving communication, Hinton said his team even removed the ability to print and post people a quote.

Thanks to the work done, generic PDFs attached to an email have been replaced by responsively designed digital communications. Hinton noted 63 per cent of customers had email as their preferred method of correspondence.

In the last 12 months, nib’s marketing and communications team has also launched new personalised Welcome Packs to combat a high lapse in customers in the first 30-60 days of membership. Previously, these were sent as direct mail, or members were given a booklet that contained information about all policy types. In addition, a single letter could be accompanied by 12 pages of forms members were required to fill in, Hinton said.

“We’ve ended up with better looking, responsive and informative welcome packs that are tailored to the customer,” he said.

A few months ago, Hinton’s team started working on ways it could provide an “even more surprise and delight experience for customers”. To do this, it has launched personalised videos that are generated on the fly, where members are greeted by name, and shown information specific to their family situation, premium amounts, policy details and cover.

The URLs for these videos are generated pre-composition in Exstream, with data pulled from nib’s core systems. Users access these via an email link. “We’ve gone from a massive print envelope with massive forms you had to fill out to email, to the smart video and digitising the online services,” he said.

Hinton said the current focus is ensuring marketing messages and ongoing communications meet the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission 2016 guidelines around health insurers providing clear, informative communications to customers about insurance coverage and benefits.

“A lot of our messages outside of the marketing messages are transactional messages where people are changing cover, there’s price changes, etc,” he explained. “We had to communicate this clearly and not dilute the message with other marketing messages.

“So we had to take the good side of the Exstream platform and really tailor the messages to say what’s changed with their cover. Instead of sending out blast emails saying the terms of conditions have changed, we’re picking up the points around their particular product, outlining what has changed and what the impact is.”

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