Consumers Want to See Investment in Better Experiences – Elevate 2019

There was an important message for healthcare at the recent Elevate Festival: consumers want to see organizations leveraging existing AND new technologies to improve the overall experience. If they do not see evidence of that, they will seek an alternative.

Elevate is Canada’s largest technology and innovation festival with world-class speakers during the day and award-winning artists at night. The 2019 event featured main-stage keynotes from: Michelle Obama, Chris Hadfield, Martha Stewart and Guy Kawasaki. I had the opportunity to attend the Scale-Up stage on Day 3 and one presenter stood out – Tiffani Bova, Growth & Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce.

Bova centered her talk on the results of the recent Customer Engagement Trends survey conducted by Salesforce in 2019. That survey revealed that:

  • 84% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products & services
  • 66% of customers are willing to pay more for a great experience

These results were not specific to healthcare, but I believe the numbers would hold true for low-acuity healthcare encounters (ie: flu-shots, routine primary care visits, etc). What is most surprising is the willingness of consumers to pay more for a better experience. This suggests to me that that investments made to improve patient experience will pay off financially for healthcare organizations. It also indicates that healthcare organizations don’t all have to enter the race-to-the-bottom in terms of health costs.

Consumer expectations on the use of technology

The most intriguing statistic shared by Bova was the expectations of consumers on the use of technology to improve overall experience:

  • 74% of consumers expect companies to use EXISTING technologies in new ways to create better experiences
  • 75% of consumers expect companies to use NEW technologies to create better experiences

…and when consumers do not see evidence of this, they actively search for alternatives.

In years past, healthcare organizations only had to compete against fellow organizations. Choices for patients were frankly limited. Today, however, healthcare now faces competition from new entities that have grown up in consumer-centric industries like retail, hospitality, high tech and e-commerce. Smart healthcare organizations have begun to modernize their processes and supporting technologies in order to offer their patients superior experiences – especially online.

Salesforce partner, Evariant, makes a Patients-For-Life platform that helps healthcare providers better identify potential patients and engage with them online. Their platform leverages healthcare specific as well as consumer demographic data sources to find patients, guide them through their clinical journey and keep them engaged long after the appointment is made. According to the Salesforce survey, adopting platforms like Evariant, is an example of the type of tech investments consumers want to see from their preferred organizations.

Internal consumers are also important

Bova ended her high-impact session by encouraging the audience not to forget about INTERNAL consumers.

I really love this line of thinking from Bova. If we don’t give staff the tools or support to do their job effectively, how can they be expected to deliver the stand-out experiences patients are seeking? For example, if a call-center agent needs to log into 5 different systems to help a caller find the most appropriate doctor and schedule an appointment, how focused can they be on demonstrating empathy or noticing that this patient may qualify for a financial assistance package.

When you streamline the experience for staff, healthcare organizations put themselves in a position to provide better service, which in turn leads to better outcomes, ratings and loyalty.

The wave of consumerization in healthcare is only going to increase in intensity in the coming years as more consumer-centric organizations enter the healthcare market. Healthcare organizations would do well to stay on top of the latest consumer trends, like those highlighted by Bova at Elevate.


About the author

Colin Hung

Colin Hung

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.