Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Customer Experience Management Applied to Healthcare- Part 7

Or, the dangers of only viewing the customer-patient experience management as only the patient encounter.

An Intuit survey, "Healthcare consumers want online control"-, March 3, 2011, indicates overwhelming support by the general public for more control over their healthcare via online activities. They want healthcare providers including physicians, to be accessible online. They want to pay their bills online, communicate with the provider, request appointments and get lab results. A clearly demonstrated experience need and expectation of consumers, that except for a few isolated healthcare organizations, is generally lacking among healthcare providers.

Had you been conducting market research on your customers-patients in the experience management process outside of the patient interaction, you would have understood that expectation and need. But unfortunately, most customer-patient experience management programs in healthcare providers are focused on the 1/3rd of the encounter with you as a patient.

Where do you go from here?

Healthcare providers do "dumb things" all the time. And they never seem to learn from that experience. So what happens when test results aren't available, the bill is wrong and a person cannot get the information they want or is on hold for too long? Well, all the compensatory goodwill built up in the patient encounter is lost because of these little "dumb mistakes" that healthcare providers make day-in and day-out. Those mistakes continue to build until they become non-compensatory event. Meaning that all the good encountered in the patient experience is washed away like a flood.

That's why its important to view Customer-Patient Experience Management(CEM or PEM) in its totality and not as an one service or clinical line experience. It may be for you, but to the healthcare customer-patient who views your organization across numerous touch-points and aggregates all of it into one overall experience, it's not.

Use the Internet and social media to frame the experience and meet customer-patient expectations.

Online bill payment, searching for information, communications via email, chats, facebook, twitter, YouTube and other mediums is an everyday occurrence for healthcare consumer. You, as a healthcare provider, need to understand that expectation and experience and integrate it into your efforts.

Part of the process of experience management is actively managing customers-patients experiences to meet expectations and change their experiences to drive revenue and market share improvements. It's not all about the patient satisfaction numbers. CEM or PEM has a definable and measurable financial outcomes. But you cannot achieve those revenue outcomes if you are not looking at experience management in its totality.

You may not want patient portals, but your customers do. You may not want online bill payment but your customers do. You may not want to have people schedule appointments online, but your customers do. You may not want them to have access to their medical information online, but your customers do.

By not fully understanding your customer-patient in their totality, you are not successfully managing their experience or expectations.

The wave is here to use an oft quoted metaphor. Its consumer-directed not provider-directed healthcare. And the sooner you get on the surfboard of true CEM or PEM, and start looking at the customer experience in its totality, the better the chances of your survival in the coming years.

The public, health plans, employers and government are running out of patience with healthcare providers and the "dumb mistakes" that continue to be made due to the lack of understanding of their needs, expectations and experiences.

Change or be swept away.

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 815-293-147. Areas of expertise include: brand management; strategic marketing; sales and marketing integration; physician marketing; product launch; start-up launch and revenue growth; tactical market planning; customer experience management; rebuilding and revitalizing marketing operations; media relations; and service line revitalizations. Mike is Huthwaite SPIN selling trained and a Miller Heiman Strategic Selling alumni.

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