Data. Analytics. Customer experience. What do these things really have to do with improving a healthcare organization’s bottom line?
Some wonder why CX is so important, and the answer is simple: in today’s digital marketplace, consumers are even more demanding than ever before. So much so, in fact, that more than half of customers say they’ve switched companies solely because of poor customer experiences.
A growing number of businesses are realizing that true competitive advantage comes from designing an engaging customer experience (CX)—one that’s personalized, fast, easy, and provides all the information a customer needs. The only problem is that today’s healthcare organizations don’t quite know how to create them.
Diagnosis: A lack of focus on CX and content
For health care organizations, success isn’t just about being the “best”. It’s about delivering an effortless experience that meets and exceeds health care consumers’ expectations.
When evaluating health care services, today’s consumers will consider a host of factors that include traditional criteria such as cost, reputation, and quality of service. But they’re also just as likely to take into account—and, in many cases prioritize—experience.
Do patients, prospects and providers have easy access to the information they want, when and where they need it? Can they communicate when they want, and through the channels they prefer? Will they receive timely, relevant and personalized communications? These are all key questions to consider to ensure your healthcare CX is up to scratch.
Healthcare providers have historically been a few steps behind other industries like eCommerce or financial services, but that doesn’t mean that without the right tools and know-how they can’t catch up. All they need is a comprehensive, five-step “treatment” plan.
The Five-Step “Treatment” Plan to Better CX Health
1. It all starts with a shift in organizational culture
Customer-centric culture can only exist if healthcare providers make a conscious effort to overhaul their organizational structure. Other verticals, particularly eCommerce and the hospitality industry, go to great lengths to deliver superior customer experiences, and it’s time that the healthcare industry followed suit.
To truly rebuild an organization’s CX, it’s important that the entire company—from the executive level to those who work on the front line—is involved in shaping the experience moving forward.
[Graphic adapted by: Image Source]
It will also require the modernization of existing systems and technologies that act as touchpoints for consumers as they engage with your business and manage their health.
2. Improving internal operations
These days, consumers are taking a much more proactive approach when it comes to healthcare decision-making, and they have multiple interactions with their providers that strongly affect those decisions—including which health plans to select, what types of providers to consider, which treatments to choose, and how to get the most from their healthcare dollars.
The challenges that come with improving internal operations can be overcome by incorporating a system that fosters end-to-end customer satisfaction, such as an omni-channel contact center solution. The use of technology will empower customer service representatives with real-time information, allowing them to serve their patients better moving forward. When technology is coupled with sincerity and empathy, frontline workers will be able to leave patients feeling satisfied with their experience and cared for.
3. Leveraging data
Data is the foundation for understanding needs and behavior motivators, and it’s a key part of building solid consumer relationships. By learning about and adapting to consumer preferences through data intelligence, you can boost engagement and create trust.
But how exactly can healthcare providers start leveraging their existing data to enhance CX? The key is having the ability to translate large amounts of data into actionable insights that provide operational personnel with the intelligence they need to improve the patient experience.
It’s also important for organizations to begin developing tools and capabilities for analyzing and assessing data gathered from various touch points. This could include engagement with campaigns, to interactions with healthcare products and services.
However, none of this is possible without having the right infrastructure in place where organizations can share data effectively, efficiently and securely across the healthcare ecosystem.
4. Mapping the customer journey
Customer journey mapping is a tool used for designing optimal customer experiences; it creates a visual narrative of the customer’s thought process, feelings and emotions along their journey to accomplishing a goal—in this case, making a decision about their healthcare. It shifts our view of a process from the inside-out to the outside-in, and helps us understand the customer’s needs and pain points along their journey.
Personas are designed to identify the various buyers—from brokers to patients, and prospects to members—and reveal their feelings, motivations, and attitudes when dealing with your organization.
By mapping out the customer journey and considering each touchpoint—from the origin of a customer’s relationship with you, continuing through to the delivery of healthcare services—organizations are able to assess certain factors, such as the channel of interaction, the content, and the user experience.
Generally, customer journey mapping begins with conducting interactive workshops with patients, members and stakeholders within the organization. This practice is designed to gain an in-depth understanding of the customer, their journey, and how the future customer journey and overall experience can be improved upon.
Lastly, it’s essential that the entire organization participates in this exercise. Not only does this prevent journey maps being created in silos, but it also helps foster a more customer-centric perspective across the organization.
5. Content is king
In addition to data, there’s one more component that’s integral to a truly effective healthcare CX strategy: content. Healthcare organizations must focus on both data and content to create the best possible customer experiences—both online and offline.
At the heart of it, content is one of the key drivers of customer experience. Thanks to the Internet, it’s become one of the primary tools that businesses use to build relationships with their customers, who, according to research, these days can get as far as 90 percent of the way through the sales process before even contacting a vendor.
Even post-sale, content is still important. Why? Because the majority of consumers would rather troubleshoot their own issues—with the help of FAQs, for example—rather than directly contact a help desk. Scenarios like this demonstrate just how important content has become to the customer experience, and how it now acts as the primary touchpoint that many businesses have with their customers.
The truth is that companies who fail to embrace CX as a strategic priority won’t just lag behind their competitors—they risk getting left behind altogether. And with the influx of technology and increased awareness, the time has come for healthcare providers to reimagine patient engagement and service.
This starts with an organizational shift that’s focused towards a customer service culture guided by not only data, analytics, journey-mapping and content, but also empathy, compassion and respect.
Want to learn more about building trust with your plan members while delivering an improved healthcare CX? Discover strategies that will help you improve quality, accuracy, speed and risk of errors by watching our webinar, “Automate Your Medicare Marketing Plan Materials” now.