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Customer Experience in Health Summit

Tuesday the 12th of May, saw the opening of a pharma event that challenged the traditional ways of looking at Customer Experience (CX) practices. This forced pharma executives to look past the barriers, and hurdles in pharma with cross industry CX practices.

Delegates were given the opportunity to leave behind their office emails for the day and take to social media between sittings. The day consisted of 3 sessions: Strategy, Digital and Insight, with a variety of speakers throughout.

Jo Causon, CEO at the Institute of Customer Service, framed the day with an introduction into the new order of CX; from a transactional to relationship economy, from competition to collaboration. The UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UK CSI) from January 2015, showed a decline in satisfaction although, some organisations managed to stand out from the crowd; with retail being the highest performing sector and utilities becoming the lowest performer. Causon suggested that pharma learn from the mistakes of some, while following the lead of experienced others. Following an improved CX strategy, 63% of organisations were rewarded with superior financial results.

Travelodge’s Director of CX, Andrew Archibald, went on to suggest that it is only a mind-set barrier that prevents pharma from taking advantage of the processes utilised by high performing sectors rather than regulation based. However it can be said that; “the power to walk away for customers in healthcare is less than that of retail.” CX is the underlying basis of retail, if CX is not improved, they’ll simply shop next door.

Healthcare CX satisfaction is usually based around a personal experience, as patients are less likely to shout about a good experience,  Andrew Hancock, EDF energy stated that pharma needs to move away from a fixation on processes, and the ‘We know best’ mentality.  By not being seen to value relationships a patient can feel like they are just another number.   Collaboration and co creation across departments can facilitate positive customer experiences by sharing all knowledge regarding each patient, and how to relate to each individual.  This could be linked to a real-time CRM solution that would enable all departments to communicate effectively after each patient interaction.  As Martin Bellingham, Head of Customer insight at AXA Healthcare, explained, Nurses in WWI were hired, taking into consideration, their skill to converse with soldiers and their ability to see beyond the patient.  With this skill in hand, the satisfaction the patient feels on their journey significantly improves as they feel valued with their wants being respected.

Tony Lewis from the Caravan Club, showed that improving processes are rooted in people, with a case study showing how his site staff had planted herbs, allowing customers to help themselves at no additional cost.  By taking the initiative, the staff improved CX with a small gesture; the big question is how can we relate this simple attitude into pharma processes?

In the third segment of the session, the answers became clear.  Investing in insight is crucial to recognising that customers are not all the same, redefining processes to evaluate what is triggering your customers to leave and ensuring your proposition remains relevant.  Andrew Archibald expressed a fatal mistake made by companies which is to interrupt customers who are trying to help improve CX, “Companies need to pick up the phone to their biggest critic and ask them why they suck”.  By flipping the perspective, companies can create the perfect customer experience, super powering what the customer really wants.

Gabor Purman from GSK suggested a simple 3 step guide.  Explore the entire customer journey, look at the pain points and solve them prior to launch.  Marc Barlow from GE Healthcare stressed the importance of analysing the whole customer journey, rather than jumping to solutions midway.  By exhausting the possibilities you ensure you won’t miss crucial pain points as focusing solely on the patient or one process can lead to isolated best practice, tactically lead solutions, and overspend.

In 2012, Forbes said “If patient engagement was a drug, it would be the block buster drug of the century and it would be malpractice not to use it” and we could not have said it better ourselves. 

Are you looking to gain further insights on how to improve your CX strategy? If so, get in touch to speak to an advisor.

20th August 2015