Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Customer Experience Management Applied to Healthcare- Part 3- A Model for Change

Before we go much further, I would like to make a correction in terminology. In an interesting discussion on LinkedIn, a physician pointed out that Experience Management is applicable to physicians as well. I had assumed that individuals understood via earlier posts.

My mistake.

Using the word patient places models and systems in boxes in which we tend to forget, that this is applicable across all customer segments. Going forward I will no longer write about Patient Experience Management, but about Customer Experience Management (CEM) applied to healthcare.  The time has come to see people as they really are, whether they be doctors, insurance companies, individual, donors, patients etc., as individual customers with experiences that we need to understand like never before to improve quality and reduce cost.

To quote Paul Harvey..."Now for the rest of the story".....

Customer Experience Management is understanding your customer and their experiences so thoroughly, that you use that information to improve systems, processes, products, services, prices, employee training and other changes to increase brand loyalty, repurchase and customer evangelization.

Marketing Driven Process

This is not a simple marketing ploy. It is about marketing leadership and driving lasting organizational change. If marketing is not involved in your organization in this, then failure will be your outcome. If your marketing department can't do this, then time has arrived for a new marketing department. CEM is not a one size fit all. This is not the flavor of the day. CEM is about lasting organizational change that requires you to become market-driven and customer-driven.

A CEM organizational model can look like this:

Pretty simple really. Very difficult to carry out.

Start with understanding your customer in far more detail than you have ever done before. It is at this point that you need a formal Voice of the Customer (VoC) program. This model requires that you are in constant contact; monitoring your customers continuously all along the touch-points, utilization and purchase process to alert you to things done well and those still needing improvement. Use the experience analysis to identify key internal systems, processes, products and training to meet your customers experiences and expectations. As you improve, you will see higher quality, efficiency and accuracy. That naturally leads to lower operating costs, lower prices, higher level of satisfaction. You retain your customers and prevent leakage to other healthcare providers. Revenue and market share also improve. Then you start again. It is a never ending cycle.

In this model, as you improve systems, processes, products and services etc, you will have lower operating costs which in turn means that you should be lowering your prices. This is a new concept to healthcare, lowering your prices to your customers. It is possible. It is achievable. I doubt that its ever been done, but like all things there is always a first time.

Because you are focusing on the experiences, needs and expectations of the customer, you become an outward focused organization that changes via a controlled process, product and service improvement model to meet your customers expectations. Doesn't matter if it's a physicians, patient, consumer, insurance company, government, Board member etc. It also does not specify what process improvement tool you use, whether that's Six Sigma, Lean Six Sigma, TCM,CQI, Lean Production etc. Those systems fit very well into this model. The difference is that it starts and ultimately ends with the consumer.

Your challenge and the most difficult, is to identify and discover what your customers expect of you. That requires an honest internal examination and a willingness to talk to your customers to reality check what you think their experience and expectation is. If you don't reality check against your customers, then don't embark on this journey.  You are not all wise and powerful. Time to stop the healthcare imperialism that occurs today.

Next up on the CEM discussion, getting started.

You can continue the conversation with me on:

Michael Krivich is a senior healthcare marketing executive and internationally followed healthcare marketing blogger read daily in over 20 countries around the world. A Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives as well as a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association, he can be reached at or 815-293-1471 for hiring as your senior marketing executive , for interim assignments in all aspects of healthcare marketing whether it be strategic or tactical market planning, customer experience management, rebuilding and revitalizing your existing marketing operation, integration of sales and marketing teams, media relations or service line revitalizations. Huthwaite SPIN selling trained and a Miller Heiman Strategic Selling alumni, both highly respected and successful international sales training organizations, I can lead your organization though the challenge of integrating sales and marketing.

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