I recently spent a day in New York City. The weather was dreary so it was a perfect day to see a Broadway matinee. Of course, no one wants to pay those Broadway prices. Down the street from the hotel, there was a theater company so I asked the in-the-know locals at the reception desk about the best way to get discount last minute tickets to a show within walking distance without standing in the rain at the kiosk in Times Square. They suggested an app.
Sure enough, I bought a ticket on the app at a substantial discount to a theater about 6 blocks away. The lead deserved his Tony nomination.
The next day I received an email asking me to do a survey about my experience and offered to enter me into a lottery for a $100 coupon if I completed it.. Imagine if sick care professionals or hospitals did that after your visit? When was the last time you got one after a drug rep or MSL or device rep visited you in your office or the OR?
Unfortunately, after entering the answer to the first question, I logged off and deleted the app. Here’s why:
- There were too many questions
- The website took too long to respond
- I had to click through too many fields
- I was worried that by participating I would be continually annoyed with subsequent emails.
- I didn’t trust the site enough to know what they would do with the data or how much money they would make selling it to someone without my permission
- This was a one-off experience. Since I was visiting from out of town, it is unlikely I’ll be using them again in the near future. The life time value of my engagement is slim.
- I wasn’t sure why they were asking me certain questions
- The survey was boring
- There wasn’t anything personal about it. In this day and age of AI, that’s unimaginable.
- They could have accomplished the same thing with a single answer net promoter score. However, it they did, it might not tell them whether users intentions actually correlated with with whether they did or did not recommend the product.
Improving the sickcare customer experience has become a growth industry as convenience, experience, service, access and digital tools become more important to patients and healthcare professionals who are used to the convenience of other industries.
Best practices include:
- Provide one complete view of the customer experience
- Capture information continuously
- Ensure feedback reflects the customer base
- Make it easy for customers to give feedback
- Provide customer feedback to every employee
- Tailor information to the needs of each role
- Link feedback to customer, operational and financial data
- Understand the financial impact of customer data
- Lead with a customer centric strategy
- Define clear customer experience responsibilities, goal and success metrics
- Reinforce the right customer-centric behaviors
- Close the loop with customers on a systematic basis
- Surface high-impact opportunities for improvement
- Address the root cause of problems, not just symptoms
- Leverage scale to unconver effective practices
- Test and validate product and service innovations
The ultimate goal is to use information to change the behavior of those who care for patients. In some instances, providing feedback is enough. In others, it is not and can present substantial challenges, including how and when to terminate an employee.
When it comes to obtaining customer input, executives often think a multiple-choice survey will be the most cost-effective option. They have their place, of course, such as if you want to know the percentage of people who liked or disliked something. But these instruments are shallow and derivative at best, and at their worst they can be annoying and counterproductive. So don’t let them become an excuse for not talking to the customer.
I must not be alone, given that the response rate to external surveys is 10-15%. Here’s how to avoid all of these mistakes. Enjoy the show. Delete the survey.
Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs on Twitter@ArlenMD and Co-editor of Digital Health Entrepreneurship
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