The cost of missing substantial opportunities to improve healthcare CX

Updated on June 26, 2023

Nearly every industry relies on Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys to gather insights into customers’ feelings. Companies use this customer satisfaction metric, which began to enter boardroom conversations after the 2006 publication of The Ultimate Question.

NPS has served many industries well, with leaders depending on the metrics to:

  • Learn about their customers, patients and employees’ perceptions of their experiences and the healthcare brand.
  • Evaluate call center agents’ performances.
  • Manage cross-departmental communications.
  • Obtain a loyalty snapshot of the organization, individual services and even specific medications.

But in an industry recognizing its need to become more patient- and customer-centric, NPS metrics fall short. To engage more deeply with their customers, healthcare organizations must improve the efficiency of high-frequency touchpoints, including digital and human interactions. NPS surveys weren’t designed to identify customer pain points with the same granularity as the data generated from a conversation between the patient and the healthcare entity. 

For the healthcare industry to continue its evolution and provide the positive CX its patients expect, it requires more effective, innovative metrics to evaluate and gain insight from CX data.

Beyond NPS Metrics

A recent Harris Poll survey found that confusing logistics contribute to poor customer experience (CX). Among the system’s shortcomings — and customer frustrations?

  • Length of time it takes to get an appointment.
  • Finding required care is confusing and hard to navigate.
  • Having to coordinate care across many different providers.
  • Struggles with understanding the information or recommendation healthcare providers offer.

The best way for healthcare leaders to learn what’s working — and what isn’t — is to listen to their customers’ voices. NPS limits the insights decision-makers glean from collected data because that data lacks context. A health insurer, for example, might see NPS scores  — but without an explanation of that rating, it can’t identify a gap in CX for additional follow-up nor pinpoint the nuances generating that score. 

To truly understand and positively impact CX and overall customer satisfaction, healthcare organizations need to listen to the voice of the customer by opening the door and inviting raw, unsolicited feedback. This granular approach generates much deeper insights because it leverages the power of AI-driven conversational data.

The best approach to going beyond the metrics is to determine:

  • The ratio of energy and time spent discussing CX metrics versus the barriers and successes of your customers’ experiences.
  • The effectiveness of your listening program (if you have one) in consistently gathering data from a more robust representative sample of your entire customer spectrum (not just customers who respond to survey requests).
  • Whether your decision-makers rely on your current CX program to inform innovation strategies, growth or profitability.
  • If you and your colleagues feel connected to — and inspired by —  your customers (or you feel confined and governed by internal metrics).

Conversational intelligence uses unstructured data sources — like conversations — to answer questions and provide quality service by helping customers get the support they need. By leveraging conversational intelligence tools to create adaptable, customizable and data-driven solutions, healthcare organizations grow their ability to impact the customer journey positively. 

Data-backed storytelling combines qualitative and quantitative data to pull meaning from customer feedback. The conversations’ contexts, deeper understanding of what customers say (and don’t say) and customer connections are all a part of data storytelling. NPS generates data from a limited customer set responding to just one question. Storytelling, however, amplifies trackable key points in the CX that align with desired business outcomes.

Listening at scale helps healthcare organizations speed up decision-making and allocate resources more appropriately by amplifying the customer’s voice to identify pain points, what’s working well and opportunities for improvement.

The world generates over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily, much of which is unstructured. The magic of this unstructured data is its ability to offer a holistic view of CX, opinions, values — even brand relationships for healthcare organizations. 

The healthcare landscape is shifting, and customer-centric innovation remains a priority for leaders. Adopting tools like conversational intelligence, data-backed storytelling and listening at scale to augment NPS empowers decision-makers to gain insight into customer challenges and pain points, identify information and training gaps, and develop strategies to elevate the customer experience.

Leslie Pagel copy
Leslie Pagel

Leslie Pagel is the Chief Evangelist of Authenticx – a conversation analytics company dedicated to improving the way healthcare companies engage with patients. In this role, she creates awareness, across the healthcare industry, of more efficient and effective ways for healthcare organizations to deliver on their customer objectives. With over two decades of working with customer experience (CX) teams, Leslie helps clients actualize the voice of the patient to show how these voices prompt meaningful action.