Americans are fantastic consumers. They have learned how to quickly compare products to find the best brands, features and prices to determine which will fit their needs. They love to read reviews and know how to tell a legitimate review from one that was paid for by the company. And nothing makes a consumer happier than a smooth and simple customer experience. Retailers have acknowledged the savviness of today’s consumers and their thirst for knowledge, so they’ve altered their services to make it even more convenient for consumers to compare, review and buy products both online and in-store. Unfortunately, the healthcare industry is still far behind retail in this respect, but a new wave of healthcare consumerism is working to change that.
The goal of healthcare consumerism is essentially to make healthcare services more efficient and cost effective by empowering patients to become more conscientious of, and involved in, their healthcare decisions. In order for patients to do this, however, healthcare organizations will have to provide the vital information and tools patients need to make educated purchasing decisions. Let’s take a look at a couple of ways consumerism is changing healthcare organizations.
The Switch to a Retail Mindset
To ensure that they are getting the best value for their money, consumers are willing to go the extra mile to research and compare factors like healthcare costs, the quality and types of services that can be covered, and the ability to see certain doctors and receive services from certain hospitals before choosing a healthcare provider. It’s vital for healthcare organizations to provide clear answers to these questions and arm consumers with the information they need to make informed decisions in a simple, straightforward manner. Consumers don’t want to, nor do they have the time to, wade through pages of online search results to find this information.
This is where thinking like a retailer comes into play. Consider Amazon. This company has mastered the art of the user experience. Customers can search for just about any product they want, read a plethora of reviews on each product and then order the product from a variety of devices, or even just by using their voices. This is a prime example of creating a user experience that is based on customer wants and needs.
To create a retail-like customer experience, put yourself into the mindset of your company’s consumers. What is most important to them? What information do they need to know to make the best decisions based on their financial situations and their current healthcare needs? Arming consumers with this information will require investing in your company’s digital presence through an interactive and SEO-optimized website, a strategic social media presence and more. Improving online visibility and delivering an exceptional web experience will make it easier for consumers to gather the information they need to make smarter healthcare decisions.
The New C in Healthcare
The Chief Customer Experience Officer (CCEO) title has been floating around C-suites in the retail sector for some time now but it has just recently begun making its way into the healthcare field. The CCEO is responsible for developing the organization’s user experience strategy. This is the way in which a consumer interacts with the organization at all touch points, such as conducting online research to compare doctors and hospitals, scheduling appointments, comparing prescription drug costs, making payments and more. The CCEO helps simplify and improve the customer experience, which is essential for today’s knowledgeable, tech-savvy consumers.
The continued rise of healthcare consumerism is likely to cause a massive shift in the way healthcare organizations do business. However, by creating a strong digital experience and providing consumers with the information they need to make educated purchasing decisions, the industry can move towards a new era of healthcare that provides better patient services at reduced costs.