Exceed expectations by understanding the white spaces in patient journeys
I recently had a discussion with Kirsten Royster, Chief Patient Experience Officer at Novant Health and customer centricity consultant Dr. Joel Mier, Lecturer of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Richmond . We talked about leveraging a listening strategy to identify experience white spaces, the unseen and unmanaged moments along the patient journey that can cause anxiety and questions. We also covered how Novant Health is using patient journey mapping to address these areas to ensure predictable, positive experiences.
Here are a few of the key takeaways from the conversation:
People are experiencing your brand even when they’re not within your walls.
Regardless if a patient is within your walls, they’re still going through a unique care journey and experiencing your brand, so you must ensure that brand experience is consistent. Healthcare can look to retail for cues on how to improve experiences, with companies like Amazon increasing consumer expectations for personalization, service, and convenience. Beyond just segmentation, customers are now accustomed to data pinpointing their individual preferences. Healthcare treats patients like consumers when it comes to advertising, so they need to expand that idea across the patient journey to create personalized care experiences and ensure loyalty.
A key part of building seamless experiences is to identify your “white spaces” with a listening strategy to understand when and where patients are encountering questions, anxiety, or confusion while interacting with your organization. For example, in the time between booking a surgery and having the procedure, people are frequently thinking about your organization and their preparedness, or lack thereof. During this timeframe questions arise, potentially large questions around the procedure, or smaller unknowns like wondering where to park and how to navigate the hospital. Understanding when moments occur that negatively impact experiences is the first step in improving processes and engagement to exceed expectations.
Put yourself in the patient’s shoes to understand their experiences.
Journey mapping allows you to understand the customer’s experience through their eyes to learn what truly matters to them, and what doesn’t. You need to know what the customer is trying to accomplish and ask yourself “how are we meeting that need now and where do we want to be?” Choose your focus area and then outline all of the moments patients deem as most impactful – both the highs and the lows – throughout their journey. Once you understand your current state, you can work towards a desired future state, see where you’re overinvesting, and improve areas that matter most to patients. To be clear, it’s just as important to identify the “highs” in a patient experience so you can reinforce the best practices causing the positive experiences to consistently delight patients at key moments that matter.
Novant Health is currently focused on understanding the highs and lows of patient journeys in key areas so they can design and reinforce world-class experiences. With Feedtrail, they are rapidly testing new ideas and getting feedback at crucial moments to inform their experience efforts. To ensure a successful project they included a range of team members that interact with the patient, looked outside of healthcare for new ideas, and have tightly defined their focus and measures of success. They plan to create repeatable processes that can be rolled out to other areas across the organization, while still revisiting original areas to ensure consistent improvement. If done correctly, effective journey mapping can guide all your experience efforts and allow customer centricity to permeate the organization.
Ready to learn more? Watch the Customer Centricity in Healthcare series on demand