Chris O’Neal is Managing Partner at KATALUS Advisors. KATALUS Advisors is a strategic consulting firm focused on the healthcare vertical. We serve healthcare technology vendors, hospitals, and private equity groups in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Our services span growth strategies in new and existing markets, M&A due diligence, market analysis, and advisory services. www.KATALUSadvisors.com
A lot of our work revolves around helping our healthcare vendor clients engage with their customers, specifically to track satisfaction and loyalty. We have seen what passes for customer research in the industry, and while the efforts are commendable, the execution typically leaves a lot to be desired. There are five common mistakes we regularly see healthcare vendors make in their customer loyalty programs:
- Survey Fatigue: Most companies use lengthy, complex surveys which just take too much time. Also, providers get hit with a lot of survey requests. These two concerns induce low response rates and poor data quality.
- Low Response Rates: Many structured survey programs yield single-digit response rates. If this is the case for your program, you need to rethink the entire process, from how you notify your customers to the tools you are using to gather information. Getting more of your customers engaged is as much about process as it is about product.
- Low Frequency: Given the effort required to conduct a wide-ranging customer satisfaction poll, most vendors who do so usually engage once a year, or twice a year tops. Too many things are happening in your customer base in the intervening six or twelve months to stay out of touch.
- Lack of Consumability: Typically, it takes weeks and months for a customer research program to turn around the results of the campaign. To be truly effective, the information needs to be as close to real time as possible. That means making the data immediately available and consumable for decision makers as it comes in, not after the fact.
- Lack of Closing the Loop: Few customer research programs provide an effective means for applying the results in a way that positively and quickly impacts the customer experience.
Savvy vendors are finding ways to avoid these common mistakes. These companies understand that engaging customers in a consistent, meaningful manner must be a corporate focus, not an afterthought. And customer satisfaction is only becoming more important for hospitals as well, as requirements around patient engagement and similar initiatives will likely be part of the ACO model.