Why CX is key in the healthcare industry

Traditionally, the healthcare industry has viewed patients as end-users, but the reality is, patients are also often the customers.
6 September 2018

CX is key, even in the healthcare industry. Source: Shutterstock.

When you think of the healthcare industry, you think of doctors and patients.

Be it a clinic, a nursing home, or a hospital, healthcare professionals are constantly rubbing shoulders with their customers, day in and day out.

Think about it, anyone in the healthcare industry is constantly representing the business and forming the experience of the customer — whether they know it or not.

In contrast, people in other industries ‘design’ a customer experience (CX) and have much more control over the interactions that different groups (sales, support, administration) have with the customer.

Obviously, this makes it difficult for the healthcare industry to create a differentiated CX — or does it? Well. Being in the environment that the healthcare fosters, transforming the CX for patients and customers is difficult, challenging even, but not impossible.

Take the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), for example, used artificial intelligence to build a chatbot for its registered patients. Dubbed GP at Hand, the app was created in partnership with a company called Babylon and not only helps the NHS reduce costs but also improves their CX but attending to patients ‘on-demand’.

Last year, through another partnership with Babylon, the NHS created deployed a chatbot to replace the non-emergency 111 number, serving 1.2 million people living in Camden, Islington, Enfield, and Barnet.

The app will quickly ask a few questions to people who’re ill or concerned about their health and advise them about next steps. Again, such an app directly attacks the pain points of customers and helps deliver a better CX instantly.

Of course, this is not to say that delivering a good CX needs healthcare professionals to jump on the chatbot bandwagon, but to highlight the fact that simple things can go a long way in the healthcare industry, and that improving the CX in a high-stress environment like a hospital or clinic isn’t impossible.

For professionals thinking about improving their CX, here are three tips to kick-start the ideation process:

# 1 | What are your customer’s biggest pain points?

The NHS won the hearts of customer with its chatbots because it hit the nail on the head when it came to pain points. It found the things that caused the most frustration for patients — waiting, aimlessly, for medical care — and used technology to solve the problem.

If you’re going to get started with improving your CX, you need to pick out the solutions that irk your customers the most and then solve them. With or without the help of technology. That’s where you start.

# 2 | Can technology help transform any of your processes (safely)?

Although every problem might seem like a nail, technology isn’t always the right hammer. That being said, technology is definitely very useful and can often help transform several processes in a healthcare facility.

One of the things that many healthcare organizations are evaluating these days, for example, is robotic process automation. This can safely automate quite a few of your repetitive tasks, allowing staff with more time to help customers better and improve their experience.

Another technology that healthcare professionals are experimenting with is artificial intelligence. The business is such that a lot of data is generated, which can be leveraged to crafting personalization algorithms and solutions improve the CX for your customers.

# 3 | Would your staff work better if they had better tools?

Sometimes, it’s just a matter of providing your staff with better tools in order to help them better support your customers and improve your CX.

Say, for example, you have a customer who wants to know how much he would have to pay if he checked out at the end of the month, after all the recommended procedures have been performed. That’s a reasonable inquiry and something that patients often make.

Now, imagine a tool that your administrators had, which could allow them to generate such a report and print it out for your customer. It could have all the disclaimers that your legal team would recommend, but could give the customer (and perhaps the patient) a handle on their finances, saving them the anxiety in an already stressful situation.