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10.06.14 | blog

The Change in the Healthcare [Customer Experience] Paradigm

It is everywhere – the customer experience is no longer an optional business strategy, but a means to business profitability and sustainability. This vital initiative – customer experience excellence – is now one that the Healthcare industry has embraced. This could be because patient and member expectations are being driven by the customer experiences consumers receive in other industry verticals (outside of healthcare), who will then push these healthcare companies to provide the experience they want. It is important to bear in mind that with the healthcare industry, it is not just servicing the typical retail, electronics or travel consumer, but rather, patients, beneficiaries, members, group administrators, and even pharmacy benefit managers and physicians. Every interaction these healthcare customers have with your organization is an opportunity to convey the brand promise, whether it be by phone, email, chat or in person. When customers are waiting in the hospital without treatment, or being transferred to numerous departments to find out if they are covered, the people on the frontlines have the ability to narrow the gap between your brand promise and the customer experience. It is the vow to maintain the brand promise and conveying that promise through the customer experience that builds a sense of security and safety to remain loyal to a brand.

This sense of security, evoked by a great customer experience, is what is bringing a competitive advantage to the Healthcare industry and changing the service standard. Yet, many (healthcare) organizations still struggle to understand how to improve and maintain a great customer experience and thus its brand promise. Consider these three tips to customer success:

1.     Analyze Current Customer Experience Processes. See the experience through your customers’ eyes. Establish an innovative approach and fully understand how customers perceive your organization’s brand promise. For example, an insurance company may have one of its internal employees call and find out their coverage and policy.

2.     Sensitivity to the customers’ needs. Typically, in the healthcare industry, interactions with customers, whether it be customer service, bedside care, or insurance claims, involves individuals who are suffering from health challenges. As such, it is a requirement, not an option that the front lines are equipped to not only think on their own, but have a kind, sensitive nature, while being attuned to the needs of these customers and quickly resolving their issues.

3.     Align Data Points. Once your organization understands your customers, you can then redesign your customer experience to meet customers’ expectations and needs. Each customer experience strategy is different from the next. Getting your customers involved and understanding what they would like to experience is a sure fire way to improve upon your customer success strategy.

A dynamic and dedicated customer experience operation heals the unanticipated setbacks, directs a better consumer experience, and provides invaluable information to cure unknown problems. It is common for a customer experience to have imperfections; however, it is in those instances where the people at the frontlines of an organization must maintain customer confidence and handle the unexpected.

Every organization is different—different goals, different personnel, different management—but the one constant among each successful organization is its communication with the customer.  The better that communication—the more customers gained, and the more customers kept.

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