Using Service Design to Delight Members

Aetna has provided health insurance coverage to Americans since 1853 and strives to provide a wealth of information, tools, and resources to educate and benefit members. The challenge is making sure members know what’s available, are supported in answering their own questions, and can find help when self-service isn’t enough. Aetna came to Mad*Pow for help developing a unified member messaging (UMM) strategy to deliver the right information at the right time via the right channel.

Project Highlights

  • Conducted extensive research to understand how members navigated the Aetna site
  • Interviewed frontline call center representatives to isolate issues behind the increased call volume
  • Designed wireframes and conducted usability testing to perfect final UMM strategy

Extensive User Research Uncovers Hidden Trouble Areas

Interviews, focus groups, and surveys with current and potential users helped Mad*Pow identify potential issues (“Why wasn’t my X-ray covered?” “I had no idea they had special programs for diabetics!”) and see firsthand the ways members looked for information on Aetna’s then current site. This research revealed that many Aetna members were unaware of the programs and benefits tailored for them.

Employee and Stakeholder Research Reveals Additional Insights

Observations and discussions with call center representatives uncovered a related issue: Aetna members didn’t understand their benefits. The result was an unnecessary dependency on the call center. By reviewing the types of calls representatives fielded on a daily basis and how web and other channels could instead resolve these issues, we determined the importance of creating highly relevant messages triggered by preference or specific events and tailored to the delivery platform.

Aetna Unified Member Messaging Strategy Developed For Effective Delivery 

After several rounds of wireframing and usability tests, Aetna’s UMM strategy was born. Mad*Pow developed with Aetna a clear process and systems for prioritizing and managing their messaging and helped resolve governance issues. The latter secured interdepartmental support, making it easy for Aetna to execute the UMM strategy.

New UMM Strategy Still Used As Strategic Foundation Today

Aetna’s UMM provides a level of customization that connects members with the information and resources they need to become smarter healthcare consumer. By improving members’ ability to answer their own questions, Aetna increased the flow of information, thereby reducing call center volume, lowering cost, and improving overall member satisfaction.


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Using Service Design to Delight Members


Amy Cueva Founder and Chief Experience Officer   Contact Amy
Andrew Klein Principal, Visual Experience Design   Contact Andrew
Megan Grocki Experience Strategy Director

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