In an era that challenges healthcare organizations to do more with fewer resources, patient experience is often considered an add-on. However, in an increasingly competitive environment, organizations can no longer solely focus on stripping out waste and reducing costs. A growing body of evidence points to the human experience as a key driver for employee and customer satisfaction, loyalty and performance.
Therefore, it is important to integrate traditional approaches to efficiency and quality improvement with strategies that transform the culture. The imperatives of this infrastructure include:
- Create an emotional connection
Customers choose service providers based on personal experiences, trusted relationships and valued recommendations. To understand customer needs and expectations, organizations must first map the gaps in efficiency plus empathy. Market leaders must provide services and use technologies that restore empathy to the customer experience. In addition, they must focus on building connection and relationships into all aspects of the organization – from executive leadership to frontline staff – so that from the first impression to the last, people feel a connection. Going beyond customer service to creating a real emotional connection to a product, service or company will drive market differentiation, customer loyalty and growth.
- Build a culture of humanity
An organization that cares about optimizing the wellbeing of its staff will deliver better results. It takes only one employee to destroy an optimal customer experience. Every employee must be connected to purpose and the mission of the organization. That is why organizations must create a work environment that allows employees to bring their full selves to work and don’t have to check their souls at the door. A culture that enables employees to feel empowered by and connected to the company and the mission drives results. Successful organizations foster a culture in which staff members at every level are viewed as valued members of the team. Organizational culture and communication among team members influences the quality of working relationships, job satisfaction, and has a profound impact on performance. Inspired, engaged and happy employees are loyal and powerful. They generate positive experiences that create market differentiation, loyalty and growth.
- Infuse the voice of employees and customers
To strengthen employee and customer connection, industry leaders must keep their finger on the pulse of what matters most to both of these stakeholders. Truly listening to these voices requires more than simply deploying random satisfaction surveys, which only scratch the surface. It is essential for organizations to build an infrastructure where staff and customers feel empowered to share their voice and know that they will be heard. Experience-focused organizations collect real-time staff and customer voice and tap into their wisdom in the design and innovation process for added insight into product and sales strategy.
- Create a Checklist of Always Events®
In healthcare, Always Events® are practices or processes that should always occur when patients interact with healthcare system. Borrowing from this concept, other industries must create a checklist of Always Events to hardwire humanity and empathy into day-to-day operations and design optimal experiences for employees and customers.
- Map the gaps in efficiency plus empathy
- Reconnect employees to purpose
- Walk in the shoes of employees and customers
- Create emotional connections and trusted relationships
- Enable peak performance by empowering staff
To request the whitepaper Differentiating on Human Experience: How Healthcare Organizations Drive Lasting Loyalty and Growth, click here.
M. Bridget Duffy, M.D. will be speaking at the 25th Annual Compete Through Service Symposium on Thursday, November 6th, 2014.