Want to Solve Problems? Walk in the Shoes of the End User

 In Thinking

Improving benefits engagement is no easy task. In designing Evive’s solutions, we recognized the hurdles to overcome to make the experience a simple one. By nature, that means understanding the user’s point of viewand designing for the user is how we’re changing the way people experience benefits. Employers see real results from their investment, and employees use benefits with ease.

Identifying the user and gaining a meaningful understanding of their needs allows us to consider relevant questions that help us build a problem-solving product. What will make the process easiest? What will make the most sense? What will lead the user to make the best decisions? True innovation comes from taking a deep dive into what the user experiences day to day.

Products are typically designed to solve a problembut are they solving the right problem from the user’s perspective? While some companies expect users to adapt to the experience they create, others put the user front-and-center when designing that experience in the first place. We choose the latter.

Think about the factors below to tap into user-centered design for the optimal product experience.

Ultimate convenience

The low-hanging fruit when trying to simplify an experience? Making things more convenient. Give close attention to the microinteractions in your productthe intuitiveness of those features could make the difference between a user engaging with your product and abandoning it altogether.

We explored this concept by thinking about insurance ID cards. Although health-plan apps store digital versions, members indicate that doctors’ offices still ask for physical versions upon visit. But today’s consumer expects everything to be available on their mobile devicesthink airline boarding passes, Apple Pay, and Starbucks cards.

A study of doctors’ offices revealed they often need information on the card beyond just the subscriber number and group number. They may need to call the provider authorization number listed on the back, for instance, and identify the type of plan based on the symbols printed on the card (e.g., PPO or POS). To accommodate the needs of both “users”the doctor’s office and the consumerour app lets the member upload images of both the front and back of the card to ensure all information is available; a secure print functionality is also included so the office can easily print a copy of the card for their records. This approach allows multiple cards generated by different companies (Rx cards, HSA cards, etc.) to all be stored and used digitally.

Meeting the user where they are

Only 19% of organizations say their employees have a high understanding of their benefits. We believe that much of the time, this problem is due to benefits feeling inaccessible to employees, so we developed our platform to enable the user to learn about their benefits wherever they are.

Our system uses data from numerous sources to predict the next best action for the user. To deliver this experience seamlessly, we added an ad-network platform to display this informationwhether the employee is on a company intranet, HR portal, HCM app, total rewards site, etc.as well as a notification system that proactively pushes communications to the user in their preferred mode, such as email or text messages.

Over time, we learned our users rely on two things to get answers about their benefits: 1) our communications, and 2) navigating the app themselves. But sometimes, employees need a third outlet to feel comfortable making a decisiontalking to a real person.

As we studied member experiences with customer service reps (CSRs), we recognized the need for a full view of the user for the CSR. So we added Evive 360 to the CRM system, allowing the CSR to see all relevant information of a user on their dashboardincluding recommendations for this person and the benefits available to them. This allows us to, once again, accommodate the needs of both “users”the consumer and the CSR. The CSR can quickly assist the user with their immediate concern, as well as proactively communicate new opportunities for maximizing benefits.

Rather than the call being a one-off transaction that just answers the question at hand, a concierge-level experience takes place that gives a 360-degree view of the employee’s benefits opportunities, reminding them of other relevant activities they can accomplish and inspiring action. Think about the last time you called your health insurance hotlineit was probably to get help with one specific thing, like getting a new insurance card or inquiring about a bill. What if the person on the other end of the line also knew to remind you of an overdue mammogram, or the chance to enroll in a diabetes management program? This not only meets users where they are, it reinforces the fact that we’re walking in their shoes to give them the most meaningful experience.

Clarifying the details

A lack of understanding frequently prevents users from making the best decisions. We thought about this from the perspective of choosing a health plan, something employees are tasked withand often struggle withevery year at open enrollment. They’re given a bunch of complex information in the short term and expected to make an informed decision that is right for them in the long term.

This led us to a feature called Evive Plan Choice. Employers and employees alike have become comfortable with data-driven recommendations, thanks to companies like Amazon and Netflix who make this an integral part of the consumer experience.

So we thought, why not apply that approach to our tool?

Evive Plan Choice simplifies the decision-making process by gathering relevant information about the user’s past medical claims, dependents, and so on, and doing the math to show which plan would be most affordable. Not only does the tool crunch the numbers on so many different variables, it shows the results of each of those calculations, making it clear how much manual calculating it is saving the user. The 2017 Aflac Workforces Report showed that employees are likely to feel more secure when they understand the total annual costs of their healthcare, and the way our tool is set up makes it easy for people to see those costs.

Furthermore, we show if the user’s preferred doctors are in the network of the presented plan, and if not, the alternatives that are nearby and available. We recognize that access and cost are both important factors in plan choice.

Ultimately, this fosters a quick and simple user experience: the employee has to answer fewer questions since the recommendation is based on their data, and more insight is provided to the employer on why employees made their particular choices, helping to inform future employer plan designs.

Never lose perspective

As innovators, we naturally get excited for the next phase of our product and want to execute quickly. But we must not lose sight of the whole reason we create these products: the user.

The end user drives the choices we make in product development. When we make advances, it’s because we’re solving real needs, not just adding new features to impress. Whether it’s creating a new standard of convenience with insurance ID cards, delivering a multitouch benefits experience, or thoroughly displaying the details of health plan choices, the person on the other side of the screen is always top-of-mind for us.