The Wellynn Group

Senior Level Strategy in Marketing, Public Affairs, and Communications

Healthcare Needs to Catch Up on Customer Experience Measurement

Improving the customer experience (CX) has risen to the top of the priority list for many CEOs. It is not unusual to find a Chief Experience Officer (CXO), often reporting to the CEO, at companies with revenues in excess of $1 billion.

There are several CX measurement tools used by US companies today. A common method is the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which has customers rate their likelihood of recommending the company to a friend or family member on a scale of 0 – 10. The number of 0 – 3 responses (highly negative) is subtracted from the 8 – 10 responses (highly positive), and the difference is the NPS. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal criticized an over reliance by some corporations on NPS, calling it a “dubious management fad.”

Other CX measurements include customer loyalty, customer satisfaction, customer churn, customer effort and, finally, time-to-resolution measurement systems.  CX is becoming more sophisticated with machine-learning enabled analytic platforms that measure the customer experience journey beginning-to-end and that produce both real-time and long-term customer insights.

However, without the proper structure, resources and most importantly, the right measurement system, CX programs can fail to meet their ultimate goals of revenue growth and customer retention.  We see this a lot in healthcare.

CX in Healthcare

Healthcare is a complex industry, with a highly fragmented delivery model.  Customer encounters can range from brief and routine “commodity” interactions (such as check-ups or flu shots) to long-term, highly specialized, and highly personalized encounters involving many touchpoints and numerous providers (such as cancer treatment or complex surgery). For decades, healthcare systems have benchmarked their customer satisfaction scores against other healthcare providers, using the same vendor, measuring the same dimensions of the patient journey – inpatient, outpatient and physician office visit, etc.

Unfortunately—for healthcare providers at least—customer expectations are also being shaped by their interactions with other companies with which they interact on an almost daily basis. In both online and in-person experiences, businesses like Amazon, Google, CVS, or any large bank, are creating (and measuring) high-quality and consistent customer experiences. Healthcare is struggling to meet that kind of customer experience bar, which makes it ripe for further disruption by new healthcare providers armed with deeper skills and capabilities in the CX realm.

Smart healthcare providers should focus less on how they compare to other traditional providers and focus more on how they measure up to the individual patient’s expectations throughout the patient’s entire journey.  Adopting more sophisticated CX measurement practices, and widening their scope for benchmarking would be a step in the right direction. The Wellynn Group can provide guidance in CX planning, implementation, and assessment.