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Interview with Steve Eagon of Unitron: Creating a Great Patient Experience

steve-eagonSteve Eagon is the Director of In-Clinic success at Unitron. In his role, he works directly with clinics to directly help them improve their patient experience. Steve and Jim have co-presented at multiple conferences, so we asked him to explain his approach towards building an improved patient experience.

As someone who is very patient-focused in the hearing care industry, what do you see as the most import focus points in building more patient-focused experiences in hearing care?

Hearing care professionals have a ton of knowledge at their fingertips—they have a great deal of education and experience in the field, and know a lot about hearing care. This is a great thing—except when it leads them to overcomplicate matters when they communicate to the patient about their hearing care.

This is a common symptom of the biggest customer experience issue in the hearing care profession today: hearing care professionals do what they think is best without looking through the patients’ eyes to really see their point of view. They’re projecting their own values onto the patient—you hear a lot of “I think the patient this” and “I was always taught that,” a lot of “I” statements. But you can’t truly help the patient until you’ve stepped outside that mindset, and started seeing things through the lens of the patient. Read more

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Aiming for the Hearts of their Customers: Interviews with CX Professionals

Aiming for the Hearts of their CustomersOver the course of this blog I’ve interviewed a number of Customer Experience executives, working every day to improve their experience to increase loyalty. Customer Experience is still an emerging field, and these interviews gave me a great chance to hear others’ perspectives on the field, what it’s doing right, and where we can improve in understanding the customer and acting upon those insights.

I’ve gathered these interviews into a PDF for easy reading, which is attached to this post for you to download and enjoy:

Aiming for the Hearts of their Customers

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Do you really want a journey map? Or is a customer experience map better?

B2C HoTC_Map_11x17_HiRezAt Heart of the Customer we focus almost exclusively on journey mapping. So when a new customer calls, it often surprises them when we ask them whether they really want a journey map. Because sometimes an experience map is a better fit.

It takes us a surprisingly long time to work through what we should map. Is it really a journey, or is it instead the end-to-end experience?

This is one of the most critical decisions of our projects. Get it wrong, and you may not solve your most critical problems. Let’s look at how an experience map is different from a journey map and the trade-offs of each to help decide which might make more sense for you.

When deciding on the two, it’s critical to understand the business problem. We shortcut that to: Do you know the sources of most of your customer friction? Read more

John Deere Presentation

John Deere – not your father’s tractor company

John Deere PresentationI was interested in seeing Erin Wallace’s presentation at last week’s CXPA Insights Exchange, but I had no idea just how cool it would be. Her presentation was titled “Easier Said than Done: Move the Needle with Your Customer Experience Strategy,” and showed a very comprehensive approach towards customer experience that we can all learn from.

When I work with clients, I tell them there are 3+2 areas you need to focus on to develop a world-class customer experience program. The first three are an identified leader, as shared vision and governance. Erin nailed all three. She’s obviously the leader of the effort, so didn’t spend a lot of time there. But the strategy and governance were critical.

One difference between John Deere and many companies is their longevity. They’re not just out to win your loyalty today – they want to win your grandchildren’s loyalty. Erin quickly summed up this strategy when she said, “Our goal is to earn customers for generations.” They clearly didn’t just take an Amazon or Zappos strategy and go with it – this is unique to John Deere, and this strategy is critical to their entire program.  Read more

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What really matters in patient experience?

patientTransactional surveys are risky. With so much riding on them, there’s too much temptation to game the system – not just by front-line employees, but by managers as well.

But healthcare brings it to a whole new level. As a part of the Affordable Care Act, hospitals are judged on standardized patient experience scores (called HCAHPS, or Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems), with low scores having significant financial implications. And it’s really impacting healthcare – particularly those organizations with lower scores.

The reactions are interesting to watch. This article is clearly in the anti-survey camp, and it’s over the top.  As one of my clients said, “I’ve heard this over the years, but it was surprising to see it in print.”  Apparently, hospitals have to decide between letting people sleep at night and letting them get infections! One interviewee grudgingly admits that patient experience isn’t completely worthless.

This is a better article, from The Atlantic Journal, forwarded by another client. While it’s still a bit over the top (“Patients can be very satisfied and dead an hour later,”) it does suggest that some hospital leaders are gaming the system. This introduces some lessons for all of us. Read more

BCBSM Customer Experience Room

CX people are digital, customers and employees are analog

BCBSM-Customer-Experience-Room-3-300x199There’s been an ongoing discussion on the CXPA’s LinkedIn group around an article listing the most effective journey mapping tools.  Tools mentioned were Visio, a presentation tool and a spreadsheet. But this discussion isn’t really just about journey mapping. It goes to the heart of how we communicate with the rest of our organization.  And it shows that sometimes we fall into the same traps that we try to keep the rest of the company out of: thinking about ourselves instead of our customers. Read more

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Customer Effort Score 2 – Is it easy?

Loyalty impact of support callsEffort is the bane of your customer experience. Or, as I like to say, “Thinking is bad.” But is customer effort the right measurement to use?

First, an overview. The CEB created the Customer Effort Score (CES) as a transactional measurement. You can see my early post here. Its original phrasing was “How much effort did you personally have to put forth to handle your request?” and a lot of blogs still point to this confusing phrase. Luckily, the CEB reworded it to “The company made it easy for me to handle my issue” in the CES 2.0.

Unfortunately, they haven’t taken the next step to call it the Customer Easy Score, which is much more fun to say. Read more

Go analog to create customer empathy with a customer experience room

Customer Experience RoomThere’s no question about it – we live in a digital world. Checking our Facebook statuses, watching our videos, sending texts, our instincts are becoming digital.

Given that, it’s no surprise that many efforts at teaching about customers are also digital. Citrix created a digital customer room. YouTube channels are another common approach, as are intranets. Companies create all kinds of ways for employees to learn more about customers and their needs.

So why isn’t it working?  Why are companies still so disconnected from the needs of their customers? Read more

Add Measurements to Your Customer Experience Metrics

I led the “Developing Customer-Focused Metrics to Drive Your Customer Experience (B2B)” Unwound Sharing Session at last week’s CXPA Insights Exchange. This was a session where participants shared what’s working for them.

As we shared our best practices, one member pointed out how we were all focusing on metrics – questionnaire-based responses from customers. And sure enough, most of the debate revolved around whether to use Net Promoter Score, the Loyalty Index, satisfaction, or another survey-based metric.  This makes sense – we often have a budget for this type of work, and this is one of the few areas where the customer experience team may actually have some control.  So it’s what we typically use to gauge how our customer experience is doing.

And what’s wrong with that?  Nothing by itself. Except that these measurements can feel disconnected for your teams that are trying to deliver a great customer experience. Telling teams to improve their Net Promoter Score is equivalent of telling managers to make their employees happier.  Both are good goals, but neither gives any direction about how to do it. Read more