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HealthCare.gov: Did you visit?

By , October 31, 2013

Don’t let the title of this email fool you – Meny Hoffman will not be practicing politics today. If you opened this up expecting to read my opinion about Obamacare, please accept my apologies.

We’re discussing strictly business here.

Which is why I’ve decided to talk about the recent website rollout of HealthCare.gov. It’s proving to be the perfect example of what should – and what should not – be done when dealing with consumers.

As reported by the media, the launching of this new healthcare reform website has angered many Americans. Creating an account is proving to be difficult; signing up for an insurance plan is nearly impossible; and senior administration officials themselves have acknowledged it as “one big debacle.”

Let’s take a moment to analyze this chaotic situation.

Why is everybody so upset? Why is congress holding hearings? Why are White House advisors facing calls for resignation? Frankly, the underlying problem here has nothing to do with politics; the collective wrath of America against Obamacare is about the program’s inability to meet consumer expectations.

You see, when people living in the year 2013 visit a website, they expect it to be a trouble-free, glitch-free, stress-free experience.

Think about it: Zappos. Amazon. Chase. Nordstrom. Con Edison. Apple. FedEx. So many seemingly diverse companies. What do they all have in common?

When you visit their respective websites – whether it’s to perform a transaction, obtain information or create a new account – you expect things to go smoothly. Zappos sends your shoes out right away. Chase lets you perform transactions on the spot. Amazon offers convenient one-click checkout. Con Edison applies your utility payment instantly. Apple gives you detailed information about their products at the click of a button.

All these companies have created expectations in the minds of American consumers – and these brands will go the extra mile to consistently uphold those expectations. You visit. You get. You leave satisfied. Period.

The folks running HealthCare.gov promised that the transition to healthcare reform would be easy. But sadly, they never delivered on their word. In an era where “easy is the new norm,” consumers expect more… particularly when you promise them exactly that.

It behooves us, as aspiring success stories, to recognize that our clients will always have certain expectations in mind. Our job is to identify these expectations, promise them and then deliver. Here are a few Ptex Practical Pointers to help you out:

That Was Easy: When was the last time you visited your own website? Try viewing it through the eyes of a person unfamiliar with your business. Is your content clear? How easy is it to navigate from page to page? Is there a LiveChat feature for questions? Better yet, try calling your own company phone number. Is your call answered quickly? Professionally? How long is the hold time? People are expecting your company to make things simpler – not more complicated.

We Try Harder: The expectations you trumpet loudly should always match the results you ultimately provide. Don’t promise your clients the ocean and give them a puddle. Under promise and over deliver to truly keep people satisfied. It works every time.

Just Do It: The days of slow callback times are over. Clients demand instant, on-the-spot, down-to-the-minute information. If you can’t get to returning calls by the day’s end, try delegating it to an assistant – or even send out a quick text message explaining the delay.

Now as for that thorny HealthCare.gov website saga? It’s far from over.

The political pundits will spend the next few weeks hashing it out, pointing fingers in all directions and blaming the HHS, DOH, GOP, NSA or WHO to name just a few.

But we are professional businesspeople; finger-pointing doesn’t work with us. Our job is to examine a situation. See where things went wrong. Create a solution. And then apply the lessons learned to our own businesses.

Guess what? Together, we just did.

Onward and upward,

Meny Hoffman

P.S. What other lessons have you learned from the HealthCare.gov website failure? Feel free to share them with me by sending me an email to meny.hoffman@ptexgroup.com – I’d really like to hear your viewpoint.

Meny Hoffman

Meny Hoffman

Meny Hoffman is the Chief Executive Officer of Ptex Group, an Inc. 500/5000-ranked marketing and business services firm headquartered in Brooklyn, NY.

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