Jackie McAtee, Vice President of Marketing and Customer Experience for Mayfair Medical Imaging, and I discuss her path from hospitality and marketing to her hybrid role of both marketing and customer experience. Jackie outlines her road map and actions for re-imagining and reinventing the x-ray or imaging experience that has driven profits, customer admiration and employee joy in their work.
The importance of service
Much of Jackie’s background was in the luxury hospitality industry. She actually managed the branding for Burj al Arab, considered by some to be the most luxurious hotel in the world. (It’s in Dubai.)
The interesting thing about Jackie’s background — which you are seeing more and more in customer experience work — is that you see a lot of interaction between marketing, operations, and traditional service roles. There are less specific silo paths through a career. It’s important for professionals to understand the interaction between marketing and service, for example. They don’t work well as specific silos. If you market well but the experience isn’t there, your marketing won’t stick. But if your experience is great and you don’t market that, no one will know. Operations — and I’ve had more than few guests recently from an operational background — is also a skill set that you’re seeing enter the CCO ranks increasingly.
Jackie worked with Calgary Stampede (one of the biggest outdoor events in the world) for a few years as well. One major lesson during that time: “When does the experience begin?” This is some degree of customer journey mapping. She used to think of the Stampede experience as beginning at 9am, when the gates opened. But then she began thinking about the preparation, emotional journey, and anticipation — i.e. getting your kids up, getting them ready for the train ride to the Stampede, etc. This is an important concept for brands to understand. Know your role in the emotional part of the journey.
The initial period at Mayfair
Her background was in marketing, service/experience, and operations at this moment. What did she do first?
Well, initially she lacked data. She had almost nothing. So she needed to put together research proposals, including product-market fit, B2C/B2B contexts for the business, and even internal employee perceptions. The first several months included this foundational research, including some innovative research on co-creation programs with customers.
At the same time, she needed a few “quick wins” to buy the time for research to get done (which obviously takes longer). One of the first quick wins was internal communications; employees weren’t in the loop. They solved that simply with a weekly internal newsletter. Done! Teams were now more connected to what was going on.
The value of 1-on-1 conversations
She sat down with most department heads in the early going, as most of my CCO guests tend to do. She outlined the road map and tied her work to their work/their incentive structure. For context, some recent research shows that these face to face conversations, done early in a tenure at a new company, can make a person 34x more effective. In other words: do it.
As you do this, you will encounter two distinct groups: “early advocates” (good) and “those who sit back and watch.” That second category involves “passive” (can be converted) and “disrupt the process” (not good). Those disrupting the process are probably unclear on why a customer experience role needs to be embedded at their level. They may feel threatened, confused, etc. It could be a million different things. But if you don’t get that person on your side, then any interaction with their silo will be painful. You don’t want that.
The other concept — a bit nuanced — that comes from these conversations is this. Oftentimes, people running a silo see the company through their silo. It’s hard for people to see how everything fits together, but where the “fitting together” happens is the voice of the customer. You need to accept it. Don’t argue with it. And figure out how it impacts your silo but the overall business too. This too often doesn’t happen in organizations. People become set in their ways, their teams, and their perception of data.
Jackie’s medical imaging re-imagined presentation
Quick drop-in for context: the above is one of the presentations from the early foundational research that Jackie launched into.
Experience vs. brand
This is coming up a lot recently in CCO work. Jackie admits a few times in this interview that when they co-create with partners (i.e. physicians or patients), most of the pain points they determine are tied to experience, not brand. Some examples:
- The arrival experience (they created a stand-up pod for initial receptionists to increase flexibility and patient engagement)
- Patient lounge (patients wanted to know why it couldn’t be more residential, so Mayfair did that)
- Changing rooms (their doors were flimsy, so they were adding to patient vulnerability — they did that)
- Knowledge bar (private spaces where patients can meet with radiologists privately and get more information)
- Exam rooms (added a closet to hang clothes)
- Employee lounge (needed to be better for them, for them to in turn serve patients better)
This is the important thing to remember here: all these elements are about experience, but they directly impact the brand. Too often people think “brand” means “shifting a logo on a PDF” or “re-branding the logo.” Branding is about the way customers actually perceive you. That comes from experience. Understanding that interplay is crucial to that work.
And for example: the clinic they built out with the above ideas was profitable 3 months before expected, and their Q1 2017 net promoter score was 3 points higher than average. They’re also getting a lot of patient feedback about more 45-minute drives for that facility.
The “pay it forward” question
“What do you know NOW that you wish you knew THEN?” Jackie:
- The work is relentless, but also rewarding.
- It never stops. (For example, right now she’s thinking about physician experience.)
- It’s hard but it’s so rewarding, and you need to focus on that side.
- More conversations = more buy-in = better for you in the long run.
- These conversations snowball into other departments, i.e. people from Operations coming to her and saying “I’d love to talk about this touchpoint over here…”
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