In a past blog, I mentioned that orders and payments are two ways that a company can reduce friction. Keep in mind however that countless other companies are doing new and interesting things to eliminate friction for their customers. In fact one, insurance startup Oscar differentiates itself on reducing friction.
Oscar policyholders have the best of both worlds. Oscar licenses its provider network from an established insurer and also contracts out claims processing. Where they stand out, however, is providing a technology-enabled experience that puts patients in control.
Oscar features benefits like the ability to call a doctor for a consultation, an online price comparison database and a Google-like search box that allows policyholders to type in an ailment and see a list of possible solutions. All in all, these benefits accomplish two things. They help provide care to the policyholder as efficiently as possible, providing them a better experience. The business benefit is avoiding costly emergency room trips or guiding policyholders to less expensive options for the same procedure.
Under all its plans, Oscar allows its members unlimited free calls to physicians. The doctors are supposed to call back within an hour, but on average, calls are returned within seven minutes, founder Kevin Nazemi told the New york Times.
One individual who called had taken a tumble in the subway and wondered if his arm was broken, recall Oscar’s executives. Over the phone, the doctor took the patient through a range of motions and determined that the arm wasn’t broken. He advised putting an ice pack on it and seeing the primary care physician the next day. That saved the patient an expensive trip to the emergency room, Oscar’s founders said.
There are so many ways that today’s technology allow us to give back to customers and reduce friction. If you’re hungry for more stories and ideas, be sure to read my book, Blue Goldfish, available now on Amazon.