If yours is like many healthcare organizations, improving your customer experience (CX) is a top priority. After all, every customer interaction — from navigating your member portal to calling a representative for details about a claim — reflects on your brand. If you want to grow your market share (and increase customer loyalty) you must design each touchpoint so that it lives up to your brand promise.
The quest for best-in-class CX starts with an experience-led transformation at the leadership level. Research shows that experience-led healthcare organizations outperform their peers on a number of levels, including customer experience.
So, what does it mean to be an experience-led organization? How do they compare with other healthcare organizations? And how can your healthcare company make the shift? Here’s what you need to know.
What Does it Mean to Be an Experience-Led Healthcare Organization?
You’re probably already familiar with the concept of “design-led” organizations. Design-led organizations prioritize design as a discipline, often by putting designers in leadership positions. These organizations recognize the utility of applying design thinking to uncover innovative solutions.
But some people question the efficacy of the design-led model. For one thing, while design thinking is unquestionably valuable, there’s no reason to believe that designers themselves are inherently more effective leaders.
“Experience-led” organizations are subtly different. Like design-led organizations, they often prioritize design thinking. And many experience-driven organizations may even be led by designers. However, rather than prioritizing a particular discipline (in this case, design) as a means to an end, experience-led organizations prioritize the end results themselves — the actual experiences an organization creates, by whatever means.
What does that mean, practically speaking? It means that experience-led firms take a more holistic approach. They are more likely to recognize the cross-disciplinary nature of designing and executing truly exceptional experiences. They are also more likely to define “experiences” more broadly, including both internal and customer-facing touchpoints.
The 5 characteristics that define experience-led organizations
The following characteristics define experience-led organizations. They are:
- Curious. Experience-led organizations start with a beginner’s mind. They don’t accept the status quo unquestioningly. Rather, they ask “why,” even when it comes to an organization’s most cherished truisms and institutionalized processes. They know that a healthy dose of curiosity allows them to gain empathy and understanding — and see things from a new angle.
- Biased toward action. From legacy systems to regulatory restrictions, healthcare organizations are often slow to adopt change. Experience-led organizations, in contrast, are quick to take action. They are willing to experiment, prototype, test, and learn. This proactive approach means they are more likely to find innovative solutions to old problems.
- Capable of reframing problems. Experience-led organizations recognize that a problem can be viewed from multiple angles. Often, what first appears to be the cause is actually just a symptom of a deeper issue. By reframing problems, experience-led organizations define the right problems to work on and translate them into actionable challenges.
- Collaborative. Rather than working in segregated silos, experience-led organizations are intentionally collaborative. They know that most problems are interdisciplinary. Anything less than a holistic solution is probably just a band-aid.
- Aware. If you want to craft the best experiences, you need to understand when to ask more questions — and when it’s time to commit to a path forward. Experience-led organizations tend to follow a flare-and-focus pattern as they ideate solutions. They start by generating ideas (flaring), then narrow in on a distinct point of view (focus).
Experience-Led Healthcare Organizations Perform Better
Experience-led principles may sound appealing in and of themselves. But how effective are they, really?
The data is clear and compelling. Experience-driven healthcare organizations perform better than their peers in several categories, including revenue growth, CX, and digital offerings. In this study commissioned by Adobe in 2018. The data shows that experience-led healthcare organizations are:
- 1.5 times more likely to see an increase in stock price and 1.7 times more likely to see an increase in customer lifetime value.
- 1.9 times more likely to see improvement in customer satisfaction metrics.
- 2.3 times more likely than other firms to lead in product reviews and ratings.
The statistics make it clear that the business impact of embracing an experience-led approach can be dramatic — making it well worth the investment.
Getting Started: Take Inspiration From the Digital Giants
Adopting a major cultural change within your organization won’t be easy. Many healthcare organizations know they need to improve their digital experiences and overall CX, but they don’t know how to go about doing it.
If you want to become an experience-led company, start by taking inspiration from the digital giants that embody the experience-led paradigm. Take Amazon’s Leadership Principles, which personify the experience-led approach. Amazon’s principles include:
- Invent and Simplify
- Learn and Be Curious
- Think Big
- Bias for Action
- Earn Trust
- Deliver Results
Now consider your own healthcare organization. What words or principles best describe your current operational mode? If your team is frequently hamstrung by legacy systems, regulatory constraints, outdated thinking, and a bias toward efficiency rather than innovation, we’re willing to bet you won’t find much overlap. The gap between your own list and Amazon’s can guide you as you get started on the path to an experience-led approach.
Practically speaking, that may mean some combination of reshuffling your leadership team, adjusting your internal processes, replacing legacy systems, engaging an external innovation partner (as well as working to become a good digital partner), and setting a new cultural standard from the top down. One that puts your customers’ experiences at the heart of everything you do.
In the end, embracing an experience-led approach won’t just improve your CX outcomes. It will help your organization run more smoothly and pivot more flexibly. And it will set you up to compete in today’s rapidly shifting, digital-first, experience-obsessed world.