We are in the midst of strategic planning with a couple of our healthcare clients. It’s easy at this stage to get lost in the process details. That’s especially true for us because we are all about the process and the facilitation. Our role is help craft a process and then support the client to conclusion. We tell our clients, “We don’t this to you. We come along aside on the journey,” providing guidance and tools to make it efficient, directional and productive. The visual below outlines our six-step planning process.
As I was sitting in my office the other night working on the details of the process, I thought it was a good time to step back and reflect on a big picture question or two. I recalled a discussion during a recent planning session about the differences between a patient and a customer. Patients come to us to have things done to them. Customers make choices about what, when, where and how they get stuff. As you might imagine, it was interesting dialogue between the clinicians and the marketing director.
In today’s increasingly consumer-driven healthcare space, how do you encourage the customer to choose you? What is it that makes for loyal customers?
In healthcare, there are eight steps any effective system can take to engender customer loyalty: Make it easy for me to…
- Find your providers with locations that are convenient and have the same look and feel
- Get in the door so it’s important to work on access, both physical and virtual
- Find what I need once I get in the door by guiding me along the way
- Understand the why, what, when where and how I go about getting what I need
- Know what it will cost me for what I’m getting, not just one or two parts
- Know what I need to do to ensure a good outcome because I assume you provide only high quality care
- Pay for what I got, not just one or two parts of it 30 to 60 days after the fact
- Get and provide feedback on my experience so I know what to do next and you know how I feel about the whole thing
Maybe that’s what the strategic plan should focus on: making sure we have the talent and resources to execute flawlessly on these eight steps. It’s hard to have loyal customers if you don’t make it easy for them to be your customers. Just like culture trumps strategy any day, ease trumps loyalty.
How easy do you make it for customers to choose and do business with you?