What consumer value and how to get there
The report found that 12 out of 47 experience features consumers were surveyed about were highly valued by all consumer segments—from the frail elderly to healthy families to those struggling with chronic disease. According to D’Alessandro, the top high-value customer experience initiatives for healthcare organizations include:
“These are the ‘no brainer’ investments health companies should be making,” says D’Alessandro. “Then, there are more selective investments they should be making.”
For example, the research found that the frail elderly really value having doctors and hospitals with partnerships with organizations in their communities, such as YMCAs and churches. According to the surveys, 73% of provider executives and 50% of payer executives said their organizations have implemented or are implementing partnerships with allies in local communities, such as schools, grocery stores, and churches.
“Unless these partnerships are targeted at groups that care a lot about them, they may be a waste of time and resources,” he says.
Healthcare executives are beginning to realize that they cannot revamp the customer experience on their own and that data sharing and strategic partnership are cornerstones for building their organization’s success, according to D’Alessandro.
“They can establish direct data-sharing partnerships, but these are not the only options,” he says. “The health sectors are beginning to find different data strategies including using or becoming data hubs or aggregators and commercializing their own insights. Health companies also need to find ways to hardwire customer insights into employee workflows so that customer experience becomes a core way of working rather than an added burden. Finally, they need to unwire the healthcare experience. Many consumers are increasingly looking for more convenient options, even in-home care. The proliferation of digital health technologies, such as DIY diagnostics and remote monitoring and engagement tools that feed patient data to clinicians, is making this possible. The care experience is no longer tied to the physician’s office.”
As this study shows, customers expect seamless and tech-savvy experiences when it comes to their interactions with brands, and the healthcare industry is no exception, according to Lynne Capozzi, chief marketing officer at Acquia, provider of cloud platform and data-driven journey technology to build, manage and activate digital experiences at scale.
“This presents a significant opportunity for healthcare executives to improve every touchpoint —from their sites and apps to in-hospital and long-term care procedures—and shows why it’s so critical that they make the customer experience a strategic priority in the coming years,” Capozzi says.
Capozzi has three tips for healthcare executives:
- Evaluate customer touchpoints with the healthcare “brand.” “Referring to a healthcare institution as a ‘brand’ may feel a bit odd, but it’s an important mindset to have when it comes to customer experience,” Capozzi says. “When looking to make changes to a customer experience strategy, it’s important to assess a patient’s end-to-end experience with every touchpoint across the enterprise.”
For example, when Steward Health Care set out to pioneer a new patient-user experience, the hospital network drew inspiration from major retail brands. The network used a combination of site analytics, patient interviews and stakeholder meetings to make massive improvements to the user experience of its website, according to Capozzi. “Steward looked to consumer brands like Amazon, Netflix, and USAA for guidance on how to reinvigorate the patient journey and was able to change its difficult to navigate site, which lacked responsive capabilities, into a source of patient-centric content that is streamlined and intuitive. The community hospital network more than doubled the number of users across its facility websites, both on traditional computers and across mobile devices.”
2. Understand what defines a positive customer experience. In every industry, but especially when it comes to value-based care, it’s critical to identify what elements of the experience matter most to your customers, according to Capozzi. “How are they engaging with your company? At what part of a customer’s journey do they typically enter and exit their relationship with you? What are their current dissatisfactions or pain points? How can you improve those to better serve them? This will provide a necessary baseline against which to determine changes and evaluate success,” she says.
3. Bridge disparate data sources to create unified customer profiles. Like any business, today’s hospitals and healthcare institutions are struggling to organize the massive amounts of data at their disposal, according to Capozzi. “This information comes from numerous disparate sources, from website log-ins and clicks to the various elements that make up a personals health records, which are increasingly moving into the digital realm,” she says.
Healthcare organizations will need the customer on their side to remain competitive in a rapidly changing, uncertain market, according to D’Alessandro. “Consolidation is heating up, there’s increased scrutiny on healthcare prices. And there are increasing pressures on healthcare companies coming from the outside. We know industry outsiders—Apple, Google, Microsoft, retailers like CVS and Walmart—already have been disrupting the customer experience in healthcare,” he says. “But there is evidence some of these new entrants are doubling down on their efforts. A flurry of recent announcements signals that new entrants to the health industry are poised to disrupt the customer experience in healthcare using technology and data. Healthcare companies need to be prepared to compete with them.”