Friday, February 3, 2012

Where is your market research in patient/customer experience management?

Or, the dangers of viewing the customer-patient experience management process, thinking you know it all, it's easy to do, or only use patient satisfaction survey results.

And from the questions I get from healthcare professionals around the country, it became very clear that a key element is missing from most efforts at improving the patient experience.

Healthcare providers, aka hospitals for the most part, are not doing the required quantitative and qualitative market research on patient experience, attitudes, behaviors and expectations in their market place. They are assuming that because they read an article, go to a seminar that they know it all. They are only using patient satisfaction survey data, lean six sigma results and their previous quality improvement efforts. Few are actually talking to patients.

Had you been conducting market research on your customers-patients in the experience management process outside of  internal patient interactions, you would  be much better off. But unfortunately, most customer-patient experience management programs are focused on the 1/3rd of the encounter as a patient.

Where do you go from here?

It's important to view Customer-Patient Experience Management(CEM or PEM) in its totality, not as one service or clinical line experience. It may be for you, but to the healthcare customer-patient who experiences your organization across numerous touch-points, it's not. They aggregate all of it into one overall experience. You, as a healthcare provider, need to understand the expectations and experiences through quantitative and qualitative analysis. Then integrate that information and learning's 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. It's not all about the patient satisfaction numbers. CEM or PEM have definable and measurable financial outcomes. But you cannot achieve those revenue outcomes if you are not looking at experience management in its totality. And that means doing the necessary market research.

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 it, that its not about you, but about the patient, and start looking at the customer experience in its totality, the better the chances of your survival in the coming years.

You don't have all the answers.

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