Thursday, February 3, 2011

Customer Experience Management Applied to Healthcare Part 5- An Organizational Way of Life

For several weeks now, I have been blogging about Customer Experience Management Applied to Healthcare. The reaction and comments have been most interesting from around the world. Many have come from physicians, CEOs of hospitals, Consultants, Directors, Managers, line-staff and coordinators. The countries of origin for the comments include not only the United States, but Belgium, England, France, China, Russia and India to name a few. Several have asked for the materials offered up to help them internally to start or move forward their companies CEM process.

Some major observations that can be drawn from the comments and discussions.

First, is that leadership across many healthcare industry channels are struggling with the transition of the healthcare marketplace from a provider-dominated, decision-making enterprise, to a consumer-directed, consumer-controlled healthcare system. The consumer has slowly and most assuredly been taking a more active role in healthcare treatment decision-making for a long time now. An empowered consumer is a blessing and a threat to the way business has been done in the past.

Second, many healthcare organizations don't talk to their consumers, be it doctors, community, patients, families, employers, employees, insurance companies, etc. I mean really talk to them and engage in a meaningful conversation. A meaningful conversation regarding their experiences, needs, hopes, desires and expectations. And that is a very different conversation than the one in the hallway or in a patient satisfaction survey.

The third major conclusion is that there is need to accelerate and embrace new ways of doing things that are successful in other industries. That is not to say that new and innovative ways or understanding customers and changing organizations to more fully meet their expectations should be taken lock, stock, and barrel without critical examination and thought. We need to gain an understanding and the knowledge that comes from successful application of innovative techniques in other service industries. Identify what works, adapt, implement, evaluate and evolve. We no longer have the luxury of waiting 5, 10, even 15 years to adapt lessons form other industiures.

Fourth, we have difficulty using the word customer. It is as if that word has some kind of negative connotation because it is used in the for-profit world. It's okay to say customer and only use the word patient part of the time. In the beginning of these blogs I wrote that an individual is only a patient 1/3rd of the time in their experience in an organization. The other 2/3rds of the time, they are a consumer. Yes the 1/3rd of the time is the most critical of the experience chain, but the other 2/3rds of the experience can change the positive work done in 1/3rd of the experience.

CEM is about making lasting and ongoing changes for the purpose of growing the brand, increasing volume, growing profitable revenue and strengthening loyalty.

Customer Experience Management or for those that feel using the term Patient Experience Management is better, is not the "be all - end all" system. What CEM offers is a roadmap that can be used to change your organization to become customer-focused dedicated to meeting their needs and experiences. It is not just satisfaction results but it is part of the process. It is not just consumer market research, but that is part of the process. It is not just about hiring the right staff, that is part of the process. It is all of this and then some.

Customer Experience Management, when done correctly, is a major game changer for organizations. The application of CEM increases brand loyalty, volume, revenue and repeat utilization. CEM creates customer and employee evangelists. CEM takes you to a new level of organizational awareness and performance. One that is industry leading and game changing. CEM applies to all of your customers no matter how you segment or what you call them.

Never has healthcare been more challenging or frightening as we look to an uncertain future with the velocity of directional change. Never has healthcare been more full of opportunity to redefine its business, relationships to consumers and change the scope, cost and outcome of care. An exciting time for innovation, new models and breaking from the past.

To quote Charles Dickens- " It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,... it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, short, the period was so much like the present."

Thanks for reading and see you next week.

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.

No comments: