The Great Divide in Digital Transformation: Personalized CX

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In February, Redpoint Global partnered with Dynata to survey more than 1,000 U.S. consumers about their experiences with healthcare organizations which, to no one’s great surprise, were not entirely positive. More than half of consumers surveyed, for example, said that they would rather wait in line at the DMV or serve jury duty than have to deal with a health insurance issue – chalking up a deep-seated reluctance to typical frustrations with navigating through a healthcare journey, including a lack of shared data and siloed communications. The typical experience provided did not meet consumer expectations for a seamless, personalized experience regardless of channel.

In light of what has transpired since February, some of the Dynata findings take on new meaning, almost presciently so. Mirroring what retailers have experienced in the flight to online channels and new contactless experiences, 58 percent of the healthcare consumers surveyed said that they would prefer their healthcare interactions to be digital.

While accessing the right care, selecting the right healthcare plan and dealing with issues over coverage are never easy on a good day, the pandemic only highlights the need to provide consumers with a seamless, digital customer experience (CX). Consumer education, for example, becomes extremely important – such as letting plan beneficiaries know how and where to access treatment or testing, what’s covered, or whether co-pays are waived. Has their primary care physician changed office hours to make for a less crowded waiting room, for example? Is an elective surgery still being performed?

A healthcare organization in possession of a single customer view, and not hampered by data siloes that create a fractured experience, is in a far better position to not only educate a consumer, but to deliver the holistic experience across all touchpoints that the consumer expects. The recent acceleration of digital transformation has widened the divide between organizations that have effectively taken steps toward providing customers with personalized frictionless experiences and laggards who have elementary personalization at best.

A Personalized Healthcare Experience

I mention this in the context of healthcare because it is an important vertical with a wide range of CX capabilities, and we happen to work with several healthcare organizations who are on the right side of this digital divide and thus were prepared when the health crisis struck to still provide consumers with relevant experiences. One client, for instance, a regional healthcare organization that offers primary care, urgent care, laboratory, diagnostic and disease management services through a network of advanced medical centers, has realized dramatic results for patients and medical center operations by creating a single customer view.

The single customer view, or Golden Record, combines everything there is to know about the consumer – all data sources and all data types – with advanced identity resolution capabilities. Because it is updated in real-time, the medical center network is able to personalize every interaction with a healthcare consumer throughout an omnichannel journey, infusing relevance into every interaction. One payer, for instance, had thousands of patients who needed an accurate risk assessment, and needed to be matched with a provider in the network. Because payer and provider data was centralized, the provider knew which patients had already scheduled appointments, and was able to scrub about 20 percent of the names from the campaign. The remaining patients then received personalized SMS, email, and direct mailings. Personalization included communications directly from the provider rather than the payer, or even listing a provider’s specialties relevant to the patient condition.

Positive outcomes from using a single point of control to orchestrate this and other personalized experiences include a 4-times improvement in closing care gaps in high-risk patients, a 3-times improvement in new patient wellness visits, and a 320 percent increase in program enrollment for on-demand telehealth services.

A New Vision for Personalization

Omnichannel engagement with a digital-first approach also helped a retail client bridge this divide when Covid-19 struck. 1-800-Contacts, the largest online retailer of contact lenses in the U.S., began to focus on increasing personalization techniques about two years ago.

“Taking time to deliver personalized experiences for customers drives loyalty and fosters a strong positive sentiment of the company,” said Chief Marketing Officer Phil Bienert. “We know to build lasting customer relationships, we need the most accurate real-time customer data accessible through a continually updated single customer view.”

1-800-Contacts acquired thousands of new customers in the wake of Covid-19, in many cases due to the surge in e-commerce across all markets and sectors, combined with limited access to traditional vision care and an increase in telemedicine eye exams that many potential customers had been unaware of before the pandemic. With a Golden Record of each customer, the company provides a relevant, personalized experience throughout a customer’s omnichannel journey, creating a one-to-one personal connection at scale.

“Over the last two years, we have been evaluating what we could do to run more like a lean, e-commerce direct-to-consumer company by 2020,” Bienert said. “A lot of that was thinking about customer engagement marketing in a much more digitally-centric way. A lot of thought also went into managing more personal communications. Most of our marketing was not sophisticated, rather a standard ‘order more contacts’ message. While often effective, we realized how we connect with the consumer could dramatically improve the experience on all levels. We’ve re-engineered the business to make those communications far more personal to each customer; to know what they’re wearing, their true pattern of wear, and to know the right thing to say at the right time.”

Cross the Great Divide in Digital Transformation

1-800-Contacts and the regional healthcare organization were on better footing than others when the pandemic struck because they either had started or were in the process of consolidating all sources and types of data into a single customer view. They realized that each customer (or healthcare consumer) regards the overall experience with a brand or organization as a holistic experience rather than a collection of point interactions or channel-by-channel touchpoints. As Bienert said, 1-800-Contacts wasn’t preparing for a pandemic, but because it was focused on providing a personalized omnichannel experience, the company was prepared when it did strike to engage with customers with a relevant, contextual experience.

1 COMMENT

  1. Hi John. There is an underlying theme in your post which permeates throughout all customer experiences that are digital, namely no matter what businesses do to automate and digitize customer care, customers remain unhappy. It is so ironic that the word “personalization” is commonly thrown around, because it is neither personal, nor does it involve people. Business’s efforts – even with “Golden Records” – have failed miserably to make customers feel anything nearly close to satisfied, never mind delighted.

    Imagine taking your car in for a service and they give you clear instructions on your smartphone about what you must do to fix it yourself, or if your dentist refers you to their new website that details how to make and insert your own implants. I know these are ludicrous examples, but then so are the weak efforts by companies to force customers into technology solutions.

    While it is essential for organisations to use technology to become more effective, foisting complexity onto customers to appease shareholders is just wrong.

    Thanks for a great thought-provoking post.

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