The article discusses the importance of analyzing the voice of the customer in healthcare organizations to improve customer experience (CX). While surveys and structured data provide some insight, unstructured data sources such as conversations with customers can provide valuable unsolicited feedback. This feedback can capture what’s affecting or frustrating customers, provide greater context around customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction, and expand the sample size beyond what’s captured in specific surveys. The article outlines three steps for healthcare organizations to use the voice of the customer to bring value: going deeper into customer pain points, aggregating insights and creating an action plan, and training and enabling customer service representatives. Finally, the article emphasizes the importance of using modern technology such as AI and ML to manage the increasing volume of unstructured data generated each day and to aggregate it into actionable insights for CX strategy.
Voice is a powerful tool. The average person speaks about 7,000 words daily (although anyone who’s spent time around young children knows that estimate is probably low). Yet amid healthcare organizations building a more customer-centric approach to customer experience (CX), many have not included a key piece of the CX puzzle: analyzing the voice of the customer.
The value of unstructured data
Healthcare organizations use a variety of existing touchpoints to connect with their customers. Surveys gather customer feedback, while word clouds provide a way to visualize information, but structured data from these sources alone doesn’t paint a complete picture of the customer experience.
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Unstructured sources, such as conversations with customers, allow organizations to access unsolicited feedback and may include:
- Inbound calls to contact centers
- Chatbot and SMS messages
- Emails, online messaging and social media interactions
Customers already (and constantly) give feedback through these channels without prompting or questioning. Unsolicited feedback surfaces the customers’ direct, authentic thoughts, feelings and opinions in their own words.
And customers are delivering a lot of unsolicited feedback: the average call center might receive over 400,000 calls annually. Add in more unstructured data from online messaging, chatbots, and interactions with call centers, nurses and other healthcare professionals – it’s estimated over half of stored data (55%) is unknown or untapped.
This data is invaluable. Capturing, analyzing, and using it, however, provides many challenges. Companies struggle to manage and analyze data generated from unsolicited feedback. They are often hampered by legacy technology incapable of efficiently listening to or measuring this data — but it’s necessary to understand CX.
In fact, organizations using unstructured data in their CX insights are 24% likelier to exceed business goals. Why? Because of this unstructured data:
- Captures what’s affecting or frustrating customers, in their own words.
- Provides a greater context around customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction.
- Expands the sample size far beyond what’s captured in specific surveys.
Patient testimonials, provided in their authentic voices, help providers develop more tailored action plans to address barriers to care. Leveraging these patient-provided insights into developing effective CX strategies shows patients the organization cares, sees, understands and values them.
Using unstructured data to resolve customer pain points
Experts estimate unstructured data will increase by 175 billion terabytes by 2025. Considering more than 80% of enterprise data is unstructured, companies are turning to innovative tools like AI and ML to manage this incredible volume of data.
To maximize the data generated from unstructured, unsolicited feedback — and use it to resolve customer pain points — healthcare organizations are starting to evaluate ways to source the voice of the customer and scale it to improve CX and drive action through context-rich connections with patients.
These three steps explain how the voice of the customer brings value to healthcare:
1. Go deeper into customer pain points.
Disruptions or confusion can happen during a patient interaction where providers are working to resolve one issue but another crop up. For example, patients can become ‘stuck’ when they’re trying to understand the language of their healthcare benefits. By identifying the most prevalent issues causing friction or frustration — how deductibles work, billing and payment status, and understanding tier definitions — organizations can mitigate and reduce them.
Unstructured feedback helps teams go deeper into the issues and identify the disruptions in their customer journey. This data uncovers useful themes and trends across interactions between patients and providers that are tracked by metrics focused on conversation topics, sentiment, and other reporting to help establish a ‘big picture’ story.
2. Aggregate insights and create an action plan.
Conversational intelligence can help highlight specific patient conversations that need to be heard. AI algorithms can extract and process meaning and report insights from raw unstructured data, such as conversations. These AI tools parse segment, categorize, and label data, allowing organizations to examine their CX and listen to spoken stories from patients. Hearing directly from patients enables leadership to drive change from the top down and empowers front-line agents and employees to deliver improved patient experiences.
3. Train and enable customer service representatives.
Empathy empowers representatives to build better relationships with patients and deliver better service. Equip employees with new training, call scripts and FAQs to deliver on your brand promise. Revisit frequently and update as needed to address trending concerns. For example, the current economic uncertainty has led to more patients worried about or struggling to pay their bills. Adjust call scripts to handle those concerns and communicate any revised collections or payment policies.
Build a connection through empathy
Generating data from actual customer voices via chatbots and clinical visits, call centers and other digital channels becomes a powerful agent in creating a standout patient experience. Through voice, organizations can connect to the human side of the patients they serve. These data-driven insights create compelling, empathetic stories that lead to organizational change.
The numbers don’t lie. Each day, one quarter of healthcare customers becomes stuck somewhere along their customer journey. The amount of data generated from their encounters with healthcare teams is staggering — and the numbers will only increase exponentially.
How quickly is data accelerating now? In 2012, the internet saw the creation of about 2.5 exabytes of data each day. The World Economic Forum estimates that by 2025, more than 460 exabytes of data (or 460,000,000,000 gigabytes) will be generated daily. Attempting to manually collect, analyze and find actionable insights to inform CX strategy is impossible now, and it won’t improve — ever.
Since over 80% of organizations expect to compete based primarily on CX, according to a new Gartner Trend Insight Report, it’s incumbent upon healthcare organizations to elevate and deliver a superior CX.
To compete effectively, healthcare organizations need quantitative and qualitative data to make competent decisions in how they grow and manage their businesses. Older technology just can’t handle the volume of data generated today — but companies need modern tech to pull this valuable data and aggregate it into actionable insights. The information gleaned from unsolicited feedback helps companies fully understand their customers’ demographics, circumstances, pain points and more.
About 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.