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Healthcare Consumers: Hungry For Better Customer Experiences

The cost of acquiring a new healthcare customer is up to five times the cost to retain an existing one. For that reason alone, mapping the healthcare journey is vital in understanding the new expectations of today’s healthcare consumers.

Our own mapping process has uncovered valuable insights on the healthcare experiences customers are looking for:

  • A more integrated customer experience that seamlessly ties together communication, programs, education and guidance from across multiple healthcare organizations.
  • Optimized and automated tools to assist with enrollment, information gathering, account management, billing, renewals and self-diagnosis.
  • Added value services presented in a personalized dashboard for easier pre-registration, menu planning and scheduling.

We foresee healthcare loyalty programs being another important way to boost customer retention. While financial incentives are highly controlled, these programs can still work to encourage better wellness. By incentivizing healthy living for healthcare customers, we could see an effective reduction in overall costs of care. Loyalty initiatives could include everything from wellness education and promotion of regular checkups to gamification of ongoing home therapy.

Additionally, expect new technology developments to directly influence healthcare products. For instance, in the European health plan market, rewards for healthy and active lifestyles are offered based on personal fitness data from customers’ wearable technology. This type of loyalty program is highly personalized and leverages the insights of how technology can directly effect human behavior.

Keeping a pulse on emerging consumer technologies is critical.

At Sutherland, our design team, Sutherland Labs, is exploring virtual reality in the treatment of mental health and support for cognitive behavioral therapy. Also, in clinical settings, we’ve seen a rise in the use of augmented reality during consults to visualize biometric data.

The pro-consumer healthcare culture is an evolving market. What we’re seeing so far serves as an important reminder that customer experience design is at the center of service development and battling against healthcare services becoming commoditized.