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Customer Service: Properly Communicating with the 65+ CommunityWith almost 60 million people eligible for Medicare in the United States, there is no denying the tremendous sales and revenue potential in health insurance for seniors. As 10,000 Baby Boomers age into Medicare each day, the opportunities are endless - but in order to succeed you will have to get to know these powerful consumers. Understanding the range of socioeconomic, geographic, and technological factors affecting today’s Medicare recipient will help you in properly communicating with 65+ clients and prospects and appeal to the insurance needs of the modern senior.

An Introduction to Today’s Senior

Your sales team needs to be highly trained in Medicare sales, even if they have experience and success with individual and family health insurance sales. Unique communication skills and sales tactics catering to the senior consumer can increase your conversion rates. Agents will be far more productive when they keep the following tips for communicating with Medicare consumers in mind:

Don’t Make Assumptions

Sales and marketing strategies have to keep up with newly eligible Medicare recipients who are active, tech-savvy, and informed. The Baby Boomers are comfortable using the Internet and searching for insurance options on their own before they ever approach a broker.

Customer service will play a big part in your success in the Medicare market, so make sure your conversations and sales meetings focus on each individual prospect.

Every prospect is unique, but there may be a broader range of needs within the large senior community. Use some of these ideas to avoid making assumptions and increase sales:

  • Ask questions to determine an individual’s comfort level, knowledge, and needs
  • Express empathy, patience, and compassion
  • Offer choices in products and services

Provide Multiple Contact Points

Even though direct mail correspondence may still have a place in Medicare marketing, communication with 65+ consumers has gone digital. Many seniors are well-versed in mobile devices, the Internet, and social media.

Your website is often a consumer’s first introduction to your Medicare products and services. Your contact information should be easily accessible from your landing page, as well as every page on your site, to make sure customers can reach you for assistance as they explore their options.

Your marketing and sales strategies should use multiple platforms to generate and convert leads, but it’s equally important to use these tools to demonstrate your commitment to customer service, before, during, and after a sale. Medicare customer service is extremely important in securing a sale and building a strong client relationship that will yield ancillary product sales and referrals.

Customers should be able to reach you in a variety of ways, including email, text, and click-to-chat. Social media is more relevant than ever – don’t underestimate the online presence of the senior community. With approximately 56% of seniors using Facebook, consumers 65 years of age and older expect you to communicate through your organization’s social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.1

Focus on Patience and Assistance

In a market flooded with competition and similar insurance products, excellent customer service can help you stand out. A client relationship built on respect and trust can generate business for years, and it starts with patience and a willingness to help someone find a solution to their specific needs.

To effectively sell senior-targeted products, agents should be trained in providing a positive customer experience during every interaction. When a Medicare prospect reaches out, providing assistance should be the first priority. Medicare can be complicated and people searching for options will appreciate a knowledgeable and friendly agent who is willing to take the time to answer questions, provide guidance, and help them find the healthcare coverage solution that is right for them.

Patience is an important tool in selling Medicare products. There is quite a bit of diversity within the senior population, and some Medicare recipients may be better informed, more comfortable using technology, and aware of their options than others. Some may have more questions than others and may need step-by-step instructions to search, compare and enroll in a Medicare plan.

You may also be working with caregivers or family members trying to help a loved one navigate their Medicare options. Put yourself in their shoes and provide the patience and empathy you would wish upon your loved ones in the same situation.

Make Your Website Senior-Friendly

Many Medicare recipients will visit your website on either a desktop or mobile platform, so site design can play an important part in keeping a prospect engaged. Make sure your site is senior-friendly by following some of these design guidelines:

  • Increase font size.
    • If using 12-point standard font size, make sure users can increase the text size on desktop and mobile devices.
  • Use color with purpose:
    • Use brightly colored call-to-action buttons to direct the user to relevant information and contact points.
    • Avoid using light text on dark backgrounds, and be aware that bright greens and yellows can be difficult to read.
  • Clearly label links, buttons, and content with concise, yet descriptive, text.
  • Simplify forms:
    • Label each field clearly.
    • Use social autofill to help users fill out basic contact information.
    • If errors occur, make sure the specific error is highlighted for the user.
    • When a form is successfully submitted to your team, an abundantly clear confirmation should appear to the user.
  • Avoid too many “cool” new web effects
    • Despite the temptation to add some interesting and trendy features to your site, some innovative web effects, like hovering over an item to view a dropdown selection, can be confusing or time consuming for some seniors.
    • If possible, use radio buttons in more conventional and expected ways on your site.

Over Communicate

Communications with 65+ Medicare recipients should be consistent and provide detailed explanations. Seniors appreciate transparency and integrity, especially because they can be vulnerable to fraud and scams.

They may be hesitant to open up to you, but by communicating what you do, how you would like to help them, and explaining why you need certain information from them, you will build the trust necessary to Medicare sales success.

As your conversation wraps up, always provide the next steps so your client will know what to expect and when to expect it. Provide a clear timeframe for your next tasks, and let them know when you will follow up. Give your client multiple ways to contact you, making them feel comfortable as you end the conversation. Agents should be using auto-response tools and automatic calendar alerts to keep them on track and true to their word.

The Importance of Medicare Customer Service

The buying power of the senior population is growing along with their use of technology to research, compare and enroll in Medicare insurance plans. When a 65+ consumer is looking for options, they may find similar Medicare Advantage, Medigap, or Prescription Drug Plans from different carriers and agencies, but what will set you apart from your competitors? Customer service.

A positive customer experience starts with the impression your website makes, since it is often a prospect’s first introduction to your products and services. Your site should be complemented by social media sites that will help build brand recognition and establish a more personal, yet professional, connection to your clients. If you are new to Medicare sales, consider the needs of the senior community in designing a user-friendly site with easy access to assistance by knowledgeable and patient licensed sales agents.

The potential within the Medicare market is only expanding – don’t miss out on the opportunity to appeal to the modern senior consumer. By 2020, 17% of the population will be eligible for Medicare. Using a personalized approach with an emphasis on quality customer service will help you properly communicate with the 65+ community and increase sales and revenue.

1) Number of Facebook users by age in the U.S. as of January 2018 (in millions), Statista, The Statistics Portal;

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