In a 2004 study, researchers assigned participants to consume a snack – either chocolate or prune juice. Half of the participants consumed the snack immediately, while the others had to wait 30 minutes before consuming. Those who ate chocolate enjoyed the product more when they had to wait 30 minutes before tasting it, while those who drank prune juice disliked it even more when they had to wait.
This teaches us an important lesson about emotion – for a positive experience, a delay will increase enjoyment. However, for more negative experiences it is better to, as Nike says “Just Do It” because a delay will intensify the negative emotions when you finally get around to doing it.
In health insurance, it is rare to find someone who equates the annual hunt for adequate health insurance coverage to eating a delicious piece of rich dark chocolate. We know that consumers frequently wait until the final days of AEP (Annual Enrollment Period) to select a health plan. Can health care professionals leverage this knowledge about delays to help members feel more satisfied with their decision at the end of AEP?
Health insurance carriers want prospects and members to have a positive AEP experience – increasing retention and satisfaction. Frequently viewed as a negative experience, putting off a healthcare purchase will surely guarantee an even more extreme response. Health carriers can remedy this by encouraging consumers to sign up early – get the process over with!
The key to successfully changing attitudes about AEP is communication. Reach out to prospects and members early on. Communicate that being an “early bird” will allow for a painless process, guaranteed to be satisfying because your team will support them along the way. While some of the regulations limit offering incentives, you can market the psychological benefit, a value in and of itself. Although members may not recognize the immediate advantages of avoiding delay, they are sure to look back on the selection process more favorably than they would have if they procrastinated.
Does your marketing and sales communication encourage prospects and members to complete the AEP plan selection process early, while emphasizing the ease of purchase? Use your next marketing campaign to inspire consumers to avoid delaying…another way to help boost member satisfaction.