Better Experiences, Happier Customers, Healthier Revenue
by Tom Swanson
posted on 11-06-2018
Healthcare consumers have high expectations. They expect offline and online experiences to be blended together as one. They want self-service options from their smartphone, and a friendly voice when they need one. But due to regulations and technology complexity, healthcare experiences have lagged behind other industries like retail or travel in making digital gains. According to a recent Forrester report, fewer than 65 percent of adults in the U.S. are digitally engaged in their health care today. If we want consumers to be happier and healthier, we must make strides in customer experiences that are designed around them.
The good news is we are making progress. The bad news is, as an industry, health care is having trouble embracing customer experience best practices consistently.
In recent research Forrester used a scoring framework to identify companies that lead the industry in employing best practices in people, process, and technology. Through this process, they found that 33 percent of healthcare firms qualified as experience-driven-businesses (EDBs) — definitely one of the smallest numbers they found compared to other industries, but not surprising given the challenges our industry continues to face.
But even if the number of healthcare firms that qualify as experience-driven businesses is smaller than other industries, those who do focus on customer experience are getting better results than those who don’t. Forrester found that healthcare firms that invest in experience transformation are reaping superior performance.
The numbers tell a compelling story:
- Healthcare firms that are defined as experience-driven businesses by Forrester are 1.7x more likely than others in their industry to cite increased customer lifetime value as a result of experience investments.
- They are 1.6x more likely to significantly exceed expectations in revenue growth.
- They are building customer advocates. Firms who are concentrating on experiences were 1.9x more likely to see an improvement in customer satisfaction metrics and 1.3x more likely to see an increase in customer advocacy.
Empathy is top of mind — and should be
Forrester found that while becoming an experience-driven healthcare business is driving long-term business success, it’s difficult to become one. Healthcare experiences are deeply personal and often emotionally charged. Forrester recommended healthcare firms invest in effective and empathetic customer service.
This makes sense. Healthcare experiences are typically high stakes — sometimes the highest stakes. Investing in training for customer service representatives is crucial, especially for health insurance firms. We’ve seen companies who invest in tools and training around empathy — listening to customers and truly caring about their needs — gain serious competitive differentiation.
Forrester shares an example of how one healthcare insurance firm worked with a voice analytics provider to pilot real-time voice analysis of conversational dynamics. The agents could see real-time notifications on their computer screens that influenced their service — for instance, “You are speaking quickly” or “The customer needs empathy.” The firm found improved business results, but also increased employee engagement metrics. After all, we all want to connect and help others. Using tools like this can quickly build value for companies. Engaged employees are likely to stay and perform better, increasing the bottom line for businesses looking to differentiate.
Experience-driven healthcare firms are also working to eliminate jargon and make healthcare communication — both digitally and in person — more friendly, direct, and simple. Too often our healthcare providers have hidden behind complex professional language. Many of the leading healthcare firms Forrester interviewed shared how reviewing and improving the tone and simplicity of both written and verbal language were improving customer service experiences.
Forrester’s findings are no surprise to us. We work with leaders everyday who show what’s possible when a healthcare company focuses on customer experience and makes the right investments in people, process, and technology. Healthy results indeed.
Adobe provides a limited set of HIPAA-ready solutions. The Managed Services offerings of Adobe Connect, Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) and Adobe Sign are HIPAA-ready solutions and can be used by Adobe customers in a manner that complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Topics: Industry, Healthcare