Watch the interview with Dan Eddie from Simplyhealth and Dan Pitcher, Baringa.

How did a leading healthcare cover provider overcome initial resistance from customers to encourage them to embrace new digital channels?

In 2022, Simplyhealth set out a bold ambition to become a digital-first business to support its mission to make affordable healthcare cover accessible to all. The benefits for customers of going digital include faster claims settlement and less admin, while still enjoying access to excellent healthcare services. The initial goal was moving at least 90% of Simplyhealth’s 2.4 million customers to digital channels. The challenge was that many customers found the switch daunting or difficult to make or were unconvinced about the benefits for them. Their misgivings led to an upsurge in queries, complaints and policy cancellations.

Simplyhealth turned to Baringa to help them transform their customer journey and speed up the digital switch – all the while giving their customers the confidence and enthusiasm to change.

Coming in with an open mind

We believe that digital adoption works best when the experience customers want is aligned with the organisational capabilities and agility needed to deliver. In practice, this means that rather than coming in with ready-made solutions, we work with clients to find the answers.

We were able to hit the ground running with a bespoke digital adoption framework, which allowed us to quickly hone-in on some of the key pain points. The first stage was getting to know Simplyhealth’s customers better, surveying 10,000 people to discover what was discouraging them from going online. We then held a series of in-depth interviews to test potential solutions. We also spent time sitting with the contact centre staff, who were bearing the brunt of customer queries and complaints, shadowing them so we could better understand the reality of what they were hearing and responding to.

The starting point for the turnaround was determining what type of customers weren’t going online and why. Some have no experience of the internet or need extra support. Simplyhealth will continue to serve these vulnerable customers through its telephone and postal channels as before. Others - we call them ‘digitally-reluctant customers’ - would be prepared to switch but had been put off by their initial experience of Simplyhealth’s digital channels.

Drawing on the feedback from customers and staff, we worked with systems and contact teams to win over the reluctant customers by providing a step-by-step guide to switching and enhancing the user experience in areas such as easier log-in and faster response. We also emphasised the potential benefits of going online, from same-day claims settlement to no more tedious form-filling and hanging on the phone.

Creating a compelling customer experience

Following our initial four-week assignment, digital adoption jumped from 62% to 75%, and has continued to improve ever since. In turn, the number of open complaints has fallen from more than 500 to around 150, reflecting improvements in customer experience and satisfaction. We're now working on a follow-up assignment, helping Simplyhealth solidify and build on those initial gains as it works towards its 90% migration target. 

Find out how we help our clients in Customer and Digital

"As we move to a digital-first business, it was vital that we brought our customers along the journey with us, while ensuring that vulnerable customers would still be supported through telephone and postal channels. Baringa came in with a dedicated, specialist team, who moved quickly to get to the roots of the problem, while gelling with our people and working closely with them to get digital migration on track. Their customer understanding and digital design expertise are impressive, but they’re also ready to listen, engage and pass on the necessary know-how as they go."

Dan Eddie, Director of Customer Service, Simplyhealth

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