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We Have Seen the Consumer Experience Enemy — and It's Us

I recently asked Matt Gove, Chief Consumer Officer at Piedmont Healthcare, what drove him the most nuts about the consumer experience at health systems in the U.S. Matt is featured in our recent book, Joe Public III: The End of Hospital Marketing, as a pioneer in the emerging trend of marketing leaders taking ultimate responsibility for the consumer experience at hospitals and health systems. In fact, Matt and I will be discussing this trend in our upcoming Joe Public Book Club on June 29.

So when I asked Matt to name three things that drove him crazy about health system consumer experiences, he naturally gave me four:

  1. OUR PROCESSES ARE BUILT AROUND ORGANIZATIONAL NEEDS, NOT CONSUMER NEEDS.

  2. WE LACK THE TRANSPARENCY MOST CONSUMERS DESIRE AND DESERVE.

  3. EVERYTHING SEEMS ALMOST INTENTIONALLY  COMPLICATED, FROM REGISTRATION PAPERWORK TO BILLING.

  4. WE DON’T FOCUS ON THE LONGITUDINAL RELATIONSHIP, JUST THE INDIVIDUAL INTERACTIONS.

Having studied and worked to improve the consumer experience in hospitals and health systems for well over 15 years, I completely concur that these challenges are systemic within our industry. But when Matt articulated laid them out in this way, something really jumped out at me. While there are plenty of obstacles to a superior consumer experience – regulations, technology, data, tradition, legacy processes, and on and on – every single one of these challenges comes down to one word: choice.

In each case, these negatives all stem from a choice we’re making at the highest levels, either implicitly or explicitly. A choice to not focus on consumers over ourselves. A choice to not be as transparent as we could be. A choice to keep things complicated. A choice to focus on interactions instead of relationships. Certainly choosing differently wouldn’t magically change the experience at our organizations. And in fact, we are seeing many organizations making different choices as the emphasis on the experience takes on higher meaning given our obsession with consumerism. But until we choose differently, intentionally and with passion and drive, how far are we really going to get?

I’m sure Matt will have some more to say on these frustrating dynamics, so hope you can join us for the Book Club. Should be a dandy.

April 19, 2018
Nothing beats a good old-fashioned conversation.
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