WPS Health Solutions is a not-for-profit health insurance provider with a footprint that extends across the United States. Over its 75-year history, WPS has grown from a regional player in the Wisconsin market to become a leading force in the U.S. health insurance sector. The company offers a wide range of insurance products, working closely with members, employers, and the medical community to support a higher quality of care.
Customer assumptions stand in the way of engagement
Every brand strives to forge a strong connection with its customers, and that starts by understanding who your audience is and what they want most. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing you know what customers care about and what they’re thinking. WPS Health Solutions recognized a clear and immediate need to enhance understanding about customer sentiment and create the best experience possible for every stakeholder and audience segment.
Harnessing the power of personal engagement
Taking the lead on this initiative, WPS Health Solutions Vice President of Marketing Mark Rothwell had extensive experience launching insights communities. WPS’s program would actually wind up being the third platform he helped develop, with Alida Sparq, for a healthcare-focused audience. Those past attempts offered plenty of learning opportunities, meaning the WPS team was able to leverage best practices learned along the way. From the outset, they knew they needed to secure organizational buy-in from key decision-makers, establish important metrics to track, and, most of all, start small with the goal of scaling quickly.
While WPS operates squarely in the healthcare space, leaders did not want to limit themselves to outreach strategies typically used in that sector. The company has looked at what other high-performing brands are doing in both B2B and B2C industries to replicate successful approaches with its own distinct audience.
So many organizations let opinions, rather than data, drive their decision-making. No matter how much those opinions are steeped in experience and industry expertise, analytics needs to be in the mix. It’s the only way to verify that what brands think they know about their audience is actually true. The WPS team made it a priority to target the right metrics to either validate the organization’s understanding of its customer base or highlight accepted truths that were off the mark.
A big factor in the success of this program has been WPS Health Solutions’s commitment to closing the loop. The team understands that member communication needs to be a two-way street to get people engaged and invested in the company’s development. With each successive interaction and follow-up, WPS engages members and lets them know their opinions matter. Over time, those people will feel more committed to the brand and many will even become vocal advocates ready to spread the word.
WPS Health Solutions’s customer insights community, powered by Alida Sparq, has been largely focused on beneficiaries and members, but the company has big plans for the coming years. The team is exploring options to roll out insights communities to empower agents, brokers, and WPS employees to share their thoughts. In time, the organization hopes to build out its insights community to include as many as 1,000 active members. Wherever the future takes WPS Health Solutions, rest assured that data will drive and inform strategic decisions as the company continues to tap community members for their valuable input.
Aptly enough, WPS likens community insights to an annuity: The sooner you get started, the bigger the payoff. Start small, build a strong foundation, and then watch as your insights community takes off.
“I believe it truly takes a community to build and maintain a brand. How will you go from ‘I think’ to ‘I know’? Every insight community I’ve worked on has reinforced the power of personal engagement. That one-on-one back and forth is really the way that brands differentiate and break through. That’s really a big plus for us at WPS.”
— Mark Rothwell, Vice President of Marketing, WPS Health Solutions