Whether you ask your friends, or review studies on health insurance satisfaction — most consumers are not “raving fans” of their health insurance carrier. According to a 2013 ASCI Finance and Insurance Report, Health Insurance ranks 39th out of 43 industries with consumer satisfaction.

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If your business is serving the insured, then what can you do to take a peak in the minds of your prospective and existing customers? What can you do to begin to improve the customer experience? Create an Empathy Map

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What is empathy?

em·pa·thy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another

Often times, in analyzing the customer experience, we focus on the customer journey (the touchpoints with your business processes). In insurance, bringing a human centered perspective (or, empathetic view) means understanding the nuances of what members are experiencing. Where are they from a process point-of-view? And, what are they likely feeling?

This may seem a soft; however, these are important concepts coming up from places such as IDEO and the Stanford d.School.

How to create an Empathy Map?

1. Name Your Customer:

Is your customers name Billy, Sarah, Amir? Do they have three children? And, two elderly parents? Put a name and a story to your customer. Imagine someone you know who has the similar life circumstance.

2. What do they say?

When they interact with your organization, what do they say? What questions are they asking? This may require reviewing recordings of calls or interviewing customers, but listen for their personal story, and what they are feeling as their issue is resolved.

3. What do they think about?

Create different scenarios, and do your best to imagine what they are thinking about? What is the story going on in their head?

4. What does your customer feel?

Create different situations and imagine what the customer is feeling. Use descriptive words to help create more specificity.

For example, if they are in the hospital calling their health insurance carrier, they are probably feeling scared and nervous.

5. What do they do?

When they are dealing with a Health Insurance issue: Do they turn to Google to do research? Or, do they call friends and ask them what to do? Or, do they call their health insurance carrier to help get questions answered.

Do this with as many customer profiles as you believe is necessary to understand your customers. By taking this human-centric view, it will bring a new element for consideration with strategy, design and solutions.

How does empathy influence your current decisions around the products and solutions you implement?