Saturday, 5. September 2015 13:52
I recently completed a 3-year (part time) stint at Medibank – Australia’s largest private health insurance fund. I helped out on the Medibank and ahm brands with content strategy and copywriting.
Before my time at Medibank, the topic of health insurance wouldn’t have thrilled me at all. And, in fact, having worked on it for so long, I can safely claim that nothing has changed.
But what kept me interested and engaged over the journey was the daily challenge of trying to sell a product to people who:
- didn’t understand it
- didn’t want to understand it, and
- thought they were being tricked into buying it.
In short, health insurance is a grudge purchase.
Every day I worked with the product teams, marketing department, developers and – crucially – user experience and design practitioners. The close relationship I developed with UXers was particularly important in our work to improve the experience of users and improve online conversion.
They also understood that the products were complicated and that customers purchased mostly unwillingly. And this understanding was vital when we were designing pages and flows.
So how do you sell to someone who doesn’t want to buy?
Simple: respect the user and their time.
Don’t promote or advertise to them. And definitely don’t thrust campaigns at them. They’ve already arrived. The marketers have done their job. Pat on the back. Now get in the back seat.
In May, Gerry McGovern wrote:
“Let us not focus on engaging but rather on informing. Let us not focus on getting people to spend time with our content but rather on seeing how we can save them time.
“Let’s go on a relentless pursuit of the absolute minimum amount of content that is needed to allow people to complete their tasks. Let us hone, test, refine and constantly focus on and think about our customers.”
This appeal neatly encapsulates my approach at Medibank. We got to the point. We used clear language (not persuasive language). Our customers were rightly annoyed – the government makes it essentially compulsory for many people to purchase private health cover. So our job was to present the products and design a flow that allowed them to purchase as quickly as possible.
Like most organisations with large sites, there was to-and-fro. Not everyone was comfortable with our approach. Sometimes we weren’t able to deliver, as people with more traditional marketing ideas intervened.
But over and over we saw the merit in our approach. And, if online sales were anything to go by, so did our customers.