How Vital is Good Customer Experience in Healthcare? - Pharmaceutical Executive


How Vital is Good Customer Experience in Healthcare?

Good Customer Experience: Vital in Healthcare?

By Kate Eversole

In case you missed it, AOL’s Vice President Ryan Block accidently created a viral success with his eight-minute recording of Comcast delivering awful customer service.

Last month, Ryan attempted to cancel his subscription and was bombarded with scripted impersonal responses. If you fancy a good laugh, you can check it out here: Sound familiar?

Thanks to social media, a good or bad customer experience (CX) can go viral and make or break a business. But does this CX argument stand true in health?

According to the Health Research Institute, CX is an emerging business requirement in the USA, driven by health reform and state exchanges. This will open up a “retail market” model of healthcare, and by 2018 over 23million people will be shopping for healthcare products and services! Now is a crucial time for healthcare organisations to define their consumer engagement and loyalty strategies.

With this in mind I joined Michelle Hawkins from Virgin Cares CX team, to get her take on CX in health.

How do you go about measuring CX? Can we measure the damage this call has done for Comcast?

Michelle Hawkins: You should measure what matters and ensure that covers efficiency, effectiveness and experience. We spend a lot of time looking at what success looks like and how we will measure that. It’s a balance of saving money and creating value which isn’t always monetary so you have to think creatively about wealth.

When you think of CX, you think of behavior change being the “Holy Grail” — are there any programs that stand out in changing behavior?

MH:The organ donation program in the UK stands out because it is one of the simplest and most effective programs I’ve seen. On average, three people a day die because there are not enough donors. The Behavioral Insights Team at the Government’s Nudge Department were tasked with getting people who support organ donation (90% of the UK public) to join the register (at this time only a third joined the register.) They conducted a trial with over 1 million people through the DVLA online. When people were renewing their driving licence or vehicle tax they tested 8 different messages to encourage people to join the donor register. Interestingly, they discovered that people were most receptive to messages that appeared to affect them personally – rather than “peer pressure” or “shock value”.

What about in Virgin Care? Have you managed improve CX in a healthcare environment?

MH: We wanted to understand how we could improve the experience of community nursing, for both service users and our staff. As a result, an ethnographic research project was conducted to better understand the lives of our staff and their clients / patients. The insight project in itself was a tool for staff engagement and had the benefit of bringing people together and helping them feel involved in positive changes for their teams. It also led to a huge range of tangible improvements being rolled out, including new name badges for staff, improved kit bags and mobile working which is proving to be a disruptive innovation.

Back to ROI – how did you measure the programs success?

MH: We measured by things like monthly net promoter scores for client/service user satisfaction, staff morale scores, and productivity and cost savings.

Finally, what recommendations do you have for pharma looking to develop their CX programs?


1. Start by understanding the answers in as much detail as possible from the customer’s eyes.

2. Focus on finding the positives not just the weaknesses.

3. Look for the root cause and keep asking yourself why? We often talk about symptoms and not causes so are trying to solve the wrong things

4. Consider the different dimensions of experience, notably the physical, social and mental spaces that influence how we think, feel and behave

You can see the full version of this interview here:

Kate Eversole is’s co-founder and marketing director.


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