In Episode 13, we give you a guide to client retention. We also analyze the challenges new technology can bring to healthcare. Listen and learn why some people say Amazon’s Alexa’s bedside manners are bad for the healthcare industry. There are pros and cons to all new developments and this episode we focus on some of the criticisms and concerns of new devices.
Later in the episode, Sarah and Jessica also go over how to maintain successful relationships and have great client retention using the 3-30-60-90 method, because what you do AFTER the sale is just as important as the sale itself! Listen as Sarah and Jessica role-play through our step-by-step phone conversation guide. You’ll learn how staying in touch can help you with client retention. The guide begins with the follow-up call around 3 days after the sale. Then you’ll learn what a phone conversation should sound like after 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days after the sale. Each conversation is different, but all conversations focus around one main principle: putting the client first.
Remember, closing the sale is important, but maintaining a close relationship with your clients builds trust. You can be so much more than an insurance agent. To build relationships, strive to be your client’s resource for everything Medicare!
Like what you heard on today’s podcast and want to download the our 3-30-60-90 whitepaper? DOWNLOAD HERE.
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Jessica: A few episodes ago we discussed some of the ways that technology is improving the healthcare industry –
Jessica: – and one of the things in particular that we discussed was Amazon’s Alexa and how they were beginning to use her for things like reading someone’s blood sugar or finding the closest emergency care center, stuff like that.
Sarah: Uh huh!
Jessica: Well, I came across an article the other day on Kaiser Health News and I thought it was really interesting. It’s an analysis on Alexa’s bedside manner and why it is bad for health care.
Jessica: Yeah, I thought it was pretty interesting! I just think that it’s good to look at both sides of things and with an issue like this in particular, I thought it would be beneficial to discuss some of the criticisms that these new technologies are getting.
Sarah: Definitely! I mean I feel like that is the best way to really understand anything — to get the full picture you really need to listen to both sides.
Jessica: Exactly! And this article makes some great points.
Sarah: Right, so what exactly did it say?
Jessica: Well so the author pretty much starts out by talking about how they went to the Brainstorm Health conference in San Diego and Bruce Broussard, Humana’s CEO, discussed how he believes technology will help patients receive help during medical crises with the ability to monitor and visit the doctors through video conferences. But then when they got home from the conference they returned to a lovely present of a $235 medical bill for a telehealth visit.
Sarah: Wow, I’m actually really surprised by how much that costs. That’s crazy for not even going into the doctor’s office.
Jessica: Right?! And that’s pretty much what starts the criticism of these new technologies.
Sarah: Yeah, I guess when you think about it, with these services you are still paying doctors for their time, but the patient really isn’t getting the same benefits they have of physically being there.
Jessica: Yeah and this case in particular they were charged $235 for a five minute phone-call where the doctor answered a question about a possible infection.
Sarah: When you do the math isn’t that like over $2,000 an hour?!
Jessica: Oh yeah, it’s crazy! I mean that’s more than corporate lawyers even bill!
Jessica: Yeah, and this leads the author into a great point of patients still having to pay great amounts for a watered-down service. And you also have to think about the path that technology is leading the healthcare industry down. Because in the past, doctors would answer questions over the phone and email for free, just as part of the doctor-patient relationship.
Sarah: That’s so true, but now that would be labeled as telehealth.
Jessica: Yep! And I think that during this period of change, it’s important to remind ourselves of the values of healthcare… or at least what values SHOULD be in place. Because I’m afraid, as is the author of this article I read, that our capitalistic society is going to see these technologies as a way to further profit and not as a tool.
Sarah: Yeah, cause really at the end of the day healthcare is supposed to be about helping people and that human connection. Like if someone is diagnosed with cancer or a life-threatening disease, they don’t want to be handed an iPad that has statistics of their survival on it. They want someone who is comforting and knows how to deliver that kind of news or offer support that they may need during a time of trial.
Jessica: Yes, that’s exactly the point I’m making! And another really interesting thing brought up in the article was a study that was published in Pediatrics and it found that children who had a telemedicine visit for an upper-respiratory infection were far more likely to get an antibiotic than those who physically saw a doctor. So the study pretty much suggests that overprescribing is at work, which is concerning.
Sarah: Yeah that definitely doesn’t make me think that the patient’s best interest is the main concern.
Jessica: Oh yeah I mean for sure, when it comes to that system, it doesn’t always allow for the doctor to do what is best for the patient, even if they intend to. I mean, it’s hard to diagnose someone over a video when you can’t actually feel a lump or have the patient move in certain ways to determine how serious their illness is. It’s just different.
Sarah: Right, it’s not necessarily the doctor’s fault, but I could definitely see how it would lead to overprescribing because they probably are thinking they would rather be safe than sorry when it’s harder to determine the seriousness of someone’s illness. Especially in this case when they are dealing with children.
Jessica: Right and obviously, I don’t think that technology is inherently bad for the industry, but studies like this really drive the fact that we need to proceed with caution and make sure that when these technologies are implemented the purpose behind it is still focused on what is best for the patient and not what is going to make more money. Cause doctors may also start to not just use these video calls when a patient doesn’t have the ability to travel, they may just start to encourage it so they can take more patients and ultimately increase their profits.
Sarah: Definitely. I do think that these types of discussions are important to keep the industry in check and make sure that with every new technology, the patient’s impact is really taken into consideration from all elements. Cause obviously these services are helpful and great, but you can’t forget about some of the cons. And at least if we point them out, we can find ways to improve and fix them.
All Aboard the Knowledge Train:
Sarah: At Senior Market Advisors, we are committed to serving the underserved. This means we want you to do more than just make sales – we want you to build relationships! In order to really serve a beneficiary, you need to help them understand the enrollment process and earn their trust over time. Our four-point conversation guide can help you do just that, all while staying compliant with CMS’s guidelines.
Jessica: Okay so you enrolled a beneficiary into their new Medicare plan! Yay!! You’re feeling awesome. You’re feeling accomplished! You’re on top of the world. But what now? Well first off… congrats on your new client!! But secondly…. You want to keep this new client of yours right? Well to do that, you need to follow-up and stay in touch (client retention)!
Sarah: Today we are going to talk about 3-30-60-90, a guide to maintaining a relationship with your client 3 days after the sale, 30 days, 60 days and finally 90 days after the sale! If you’re contracted with us, we have a whitepaper called 3-30-60-90 Day Conversation Guide on this topic that can be downloaded for free from our SMA Agent Storefront! Okay, Jessica let’s start with the 3-day marker.
Let’s start with the 3-Day Call. This will be your first call after a beneficiary enrolls in a plan. The purpose of this conversation is to explain what the beneficiary should expect next. So this conversation might sound something like this.
“Hello, my name is Mary and I am calling from Medicare Health Benefits, an independent broker. May I speak with Susan?”
Jessica: This is Susan!
Sarah: “It was great speaking with you a few days ago and helping you enroll in your new Medicare plan. I’d like to walk you through what you should be expecting from your plan in the upcoming weeks.”
[and this is where you would continue talking about their new benefit cards, enrollment letters, benefit overviews and other things like that and when they should arrive. Then you’ll want to ask if they have any questions.
Jessica: Nope I think you covered it!
Sarah: Well Susan I just want to thank you for spending time with me. I’m glad we were able to enroll you into a plan that works for you and your needs. I am always available for any questions you may have so don’t hesitate to call!
Jessica: Great thank you!!
Sarah: I’ll be checking in in about a month to make sure you received all the appropriate materials and to make sure you understand how to utilize your plan! Thank you and have a wonderful day!
Jessica: So as you just heard, this was really just a follow-up call to make sure that the beneficiary understands what they signed up for, is happy and knows they can contact you for support. You really want them to not just think of you as the person who sold them their plan, you want them to think of you as their Medicare expert. Their go-to person they can rely on for any Medicare-related question or concern. This builds trust and will make them more likely to stick with you!
30-DAY CALL FOR CLIENT RETENTION
Sarah: Okay so you’ve made it through the 1st month with your new client. And they haven’t called you once with any issues! Hooray!! Now it’s time for your 30 day call. This call is to follow-up the follow-up, remember, maintaining contact is key. You want to make sure they received all the documents from the carrier and walk them through how to utilize all their new awesome benefits!
Jessica: So let’s go through what this one might sound like. “Hello, my name is Mary and I am calling from Medicare Health Benefits, an independent broker. May I speak with Susan?”
Sarah: This is Susan!
Jessica: Hi Susan. Remember me, I helped you enroll in your new Medicare plan!
Sarah: Yes I remember. Thank you!
Jessica: I just wanted to follow-up with you to make sure you received all materials from your new plan carrier.
Sarah: I think so. I got an ID card in the mail and I got some enrollment stuff with a welcome letter and benefits information.
Jessica: Great! I’m happy you received your plan information. Is your premium showing as the same as what we had discussed?
Sarah: Yep, looks like what we talked about.
Jessica: Great! Have you found a doctor in your network that accepts your plan and scheduled your annual check-up?
Sarah: I did find a doctor close to me. I’m going to see her in a couple weeks.
Jessica: Wonderful! I’m happy to hear that.Have you had any issues at the pharmacy with your new plan? (Obviously note that this is only applicable for Medicare Advantage plans with Prescription Drug coverage)
Sarah: Yeah looks like it!
Jessica: This is great news. Hey let’s go through how to utilize your benefits and discuss how the breakdown of how services are covered. (this is where you’ll go through their benefits and talk about how they can use their plan)
Then you’ll wrap up and say – Sounds like everything is going well so far! Once again, if you do run into any hiccups, you have my number so don’t hesitate to call. I plan to call you again in about a month from now to make sure you’re still doing alright.
Sarah: Wow thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking the time.
Jessica: So notice that people really appreciate you going the extra mile to help them fully understand their plan. Let’s be honest, healthcare is super confusing and most people don’t understand all the terminology. So just being that resource to these people and explaining how they can use their plan and just showing you care really goes a long way.
60-Day CALL FOR CLIENT RETENTIONwith
Sarah: Okay so now it’s been about 2 months since the beneficiary enrolled in their plan and at this point, they should be feeling comfortable. This is an awesome time to call and discuss extra services included in their plan and make sure they are happy with their enrollment choice. This conversation might sound something like this.
“Hi Susan, this is Mary and I was just calling to check in to make sure you’re enjoying your new Medicare benefits.”
Sarah: “Yes I am! So far so good.”
Sarah: “Great! I also wanted to make sure you knew about all the extra services your plan offers!” Sidenote: Many of these plans offer things like fitness, dental, vision, telehealth, transportation, OTC benefits and more! Make sure they know about these! Okay, but to the conversation, “Susan did you know that your plan offers $50/quarter in Over-the-Counter benefits and transportation services?”
Jessica: “I didn’t but that sounds great!”
Sarah: Yep. Just wanted to make sure you knew about all the amazing services your plan offers! (Make sure they know that you answer any questions they may have regarding these services and give them any phone numbers and/or websites associated with those services) You had mentioned last time we spoke that you were planning on seeing your doctor. Was your experience positive?
Jessica: Definitely! I am happy I was able to find a doctor close to me who was helpful and friendly.
Sarah: “Great! I’m happy to hear everything is going well. As always, you can give me a call if any questions come up but otherwise, I will be in touch in about a month.”
Jessica: So here is that extra support that the agent is giving to their client to really show that they care. And once again, driving home the idea that YOU are the person they should call whenever they have questions about their Medicare. This will help you with client retention!
90 DAY CALL FOR CLIENT RETENTION
Sarah: Now, we have finally made it to the 90 Day Call!
Jessica: Hooray! Although that was the quickest 90 days I’ve ever experienced. It felt like it was only a few minutes!
Sarah: Yes, it will probably not go by as quickly for you as an agent, so that’s why it is super important to put reminders on your calendar so you don’t forget to follow up!
Jessica: Yeah, that is definitely a good idea. So once you do make it to the 90-day mark, the purpose of your call is going to be client retention. You want to focus on preventive health and ensure they’re getting the most out of their plan.
Sarah: Right, because if a beneficiary is satisfied with their plan then they are more likely to recommend you to friends and family.
Jessica: Plus! The happier they are with their plan, the more likely you are to keep them as a client (client retention). So this conversation might sound something like this.
Hi Susan! This is Mary. I just wanted to check in with you again to make sure you’re still enjoying your Medicare plan! Have you taken advantage of any of the services we discussed on our last call?
Sarah: “Yes! I used my over the counter benefits last week and got quite a few items for my home! It’s been a lifesaver!”
Jessica: That’s great Susan! Have you taken any proactive steps toward your health like doing a blood pressure check, getting a mammogram or any screenings and tests?
Sarah: Ooh no I haven’t but I probably should get a screening. It’s been a while.
Jessica: Yep, it’s always better to be proactive on your health so in case you do have some health issue, you catch it early!
Sarah: Yes great idea.
Jessica: Alright Sarah, if you don’t have any other questions I will let you go. Give me a call if you have any questions or concerns regarding your plan! Have a great day!
Jessica: And the 90 day client retention call doesn’t have to be the last time you contact them! A great way to continue building relationships with beneficiaries is by sending birthday cards, or holiday cards, or contacting them before AEP every year to ensure they are happy. Even little things like if you notice there has been a change to certain plans or networks, you can send them an email to make sure they are aware.
Sarah: Yeah and you may also want to offer to send business cards or brochures you may have so that they can pass them on to their friends and family. Just always make sure that whatever marketing you are doing is compliant with CMS!
Jessica: And again, please make sure that you are keeping a calendar of this stuff! There’s nothing worse than telling a bene that you’re going to call them regularly and then just forgetting about it.
Sarah: Yeah, do you think you’ll retain clients that way? NOPE. They’ll think you don’t have their best interest at heart, don’t care about them, and then you’ll lose their trust. Not only that, if you don’t establish yourself as your client’s first point of content, they will often reach out to the carrier instead, and this could prompt a completely preventable sales allegation, and obviously… you don’t want that!
Jessica: And obviously WE know that you have their best interest at heart, but you have to make it super obvious to them. So schedule reminders, don’t miss those calls and start building those relationships!
Sarah: Yes, because we guarantee you that if you follow these steps you will succeed in client retention and not only maintain but EXPAND your book of business!
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