Earlier this month, I presented at the HMPS conference in Miami on the topic of customer experience. The audience was primarily healthcare strategists from all over the country. I was surrounded by some of the brightest and best strategists and marketers in the industry. These experts know what it takes to develop a cutting-edge strategy, but many of them struggle with execution once the strategy hits operations. Why the struggle? Delivering a consistent experience is tough.
When our consulting team does culture assessments, we ask the employees if their patients will get a great customer experience in their organization. We often hear, “It depends.” Those two words spell death to your brand and can bring the best strategy to a screeching halt. Consistency is key to developing a trusted brand, and that requires everyone to own the experience.
Planning the Customer Experience
If healthcare leaders spent as much time planning for how they will ensure a consistently positive patient experience as they do in overseeing construction, there would be little problem with consistency. It is vital that you don’t overpromise and under-deliver.
Creating an Optimal Customer Experience
I once heard a healthcare strategist say, “Operations is where marketing strategy goes to die.” Ouch. That’s a harsh statement, but as I drilled down, I could see how that could happen. The frontline team will determine whether the patient has a good experience and whether or not they will return and recommend.
Here are some ways that strategy, marketing, and operations need to come together to deliver a fanatically consistent experience.
- Identify the key stakeholders needed to deliver on the brand promise. That, more often than not, means involving frontline staff in early planning.
- Ensure everyone understands how they contribute to the customer experience and brand promise, and ensure they commit to customer service.
- Set behavior-based standards that clearly define your way of doing things.
- Ensure that managers know how to coach, mentor, model, and manage behaviors that support the brand. This cannot be overlooked. It is the key to success.
- Test, test, test – you can’t just expect the standards to be upheld. Test. This is where mystery shopping comes into the picture. Find out what consumers are thinking at each step of their journey and what could be their deal breakers.
Creating a Culture of Excellence
In my blog earlier this week, I cited Peter Drucker’s famous quote, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” It’s true. You can have the best and brightest minds creating brilliant strategies in healthcare, but we are still a service industry. If the customer touchpoints, and the people involved in those touchpoints, don’t match the promise consistently, you’ve just betrayed consumer trust.
Strive for fanatical consistency.
Contact Baird Group today to find out how the customer experience at your organization can improve with a culture assessment.Tags: culture, Customer Service, Customer Service in Healthcare, Healthcare Leader, Patient Experience, patient satisfaction, Patient Trust