Affinity Health Plan

  • Affinity Designs Its Retail Attitude

    April 03, 2015

    Affinity is renovating its stores to reflect the health plan's fresh, innovative approach to engaging members, potential members and the community we serve. The first oPitkin touchscreensf the stores opened in February at 1684 Pitkin Ave., Brooklyn.  "We've really seen a remarkable reaction from the public," said DeWitt Smith, Affinity's Senior Vice President for Sales.

    The next one will open in late April on the first floor of Affinity's new Corporate Office in the Metro Center at 1776 Eastchester Road in the Bronx.  After that, work is planned for the Brooklyn store at 857 Flatbush Ave. and then the Bronx site at 305 East Fordham Road.  At East Fordham Road, we will be tripling the size of our space.  Within the  next 24 to 36 months all stores will be revitalized to reflect the distinct Affinity brand. 

    "We have come up with a strategy for expanding, closing and revitalizing our retail stores, said Victor Hayghe, Affinity's Assistant Vice President for Facilities and Administrative Services. Based on how the Pitkin Avenue office is received, future store designs will be tweaked as needed, he said.

    The Signature Site

    The Pitkin Avenue site, however, is the first to reveal Affinity's signature style.  "It sets us apart because it doesn't offer the traditional office model of come in, sit down and wait to be served," Hayghe said.

    Two years of plaPitkin Video Wallnning and work went into developing the 1,800 square feet Pitkin Avenue store. And it shows. Say good-bye to that regimented office look and drab furniture. In its place is a bright, airy space with separate areas designed for offering the more than 36 different Affinity Health Plans. They include Child Health Plus, Medicaid Managed Care, Medicare Advantage, AffinityAccess and AffinityAccess Direct health plan.

    Even before entering, the concept begins. Above the glass façade is the Affinity Health Plan logo with its distinctive burst of red and clear, raised lettering that is illuminated at night. The window opens the store to passers-by, revealing the interior's clean, urbane look.

    Inside, the design clearly differentiates the store's work spaces. "The front area is like a self-help center," said Hayghe. A myriad of brochures are neatly displayed at eye level and within easy grasp.Pitkin glass panel

    Along the same wall is a bank of four computer stations for public use.  People can come in and use them to look up the New York State of Health information and review their Affinity account. They also can log on for employment assistance, food stamps and housing help. A floor-to-ceiling frosted panel separates the front area from a more private business space. There, an Affinity agent can take visitors through their account or explain Affinity products in detail. A small waiting area and children's space, completes the store's public side.

    The Store's Goals

    The Affinity stores are meant to do more than dazzle with its new looks. Smith explained the store's main objectives:

    1. Create a modern, high-touch experience for consumers who choose to visit us in person, as opposed to contacting us online or on the phone. 
    1. Give customers who visit the stores a clear understanding of the products they buy.
    1. Finally, have an efficient way to help members when problems or questions arise.  A dedicated customer phone near the back of the store puts members in a priority queue. No waiting exists after the phone is picked up. "It's designed so that a member is expedited to the right people," Smith said.

    Here in the store's comfortable setting consumers can talk to representatives about their own or their family's health goals.  In turn, the representatives can engage the consumer in an in depth discussion. Smith added that with the health plans, computers and access to other important services Affinity can offer the consumer a way to a healthier, more fulfilling life.

    By the end of April the second store will open, and then it's on to the remaining 15. Affinity is intent on sending a clear message with its look, products and service. "Consistency -- that is our aim," Smith said, "because it creates a familiarity and a brand promise that consumers can rely on."

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