How to Create Meaningful Customer Experiences—Not Just Transactions

Conventional wisdom holds that customers shop the brands whose products and services best match their needs. But there’s more to the story than that. Even if it’s just a quick trip to the grocery store, customers seek something more profound from brands than a mere product: meaningful customer experiences.

There’s a lot for organizations to gain by reorienting themselves around customers’ search for meaning. Experience programs can help them get there.

We’re going to go over exactly how companies can achieve that reorientation, create meaningful experiences for customers, and, ultimately, ride that heightened connectivity to the top of their respective verticals.

Right Audience, Right Problem

We touched on this in our last conversation about the importance of carefully designing your program before deploying it, but it’s worth saying again:

Some audiences are more worth brands’ time than others.

Sounds harsh, but let me explain. Some audiences offer context and solutions to problems that other groups may not even be aware of. Therefore, one of the first things brands should do to create meaning for their customers is consider the problems that can be solved by focusing on specific audiences.

This approach is vital is because it allows brands to hone in on customers’ “moment of truth.” This is the moment in which a customer finds significance in their interaction with a brand, not just a product or service.

What is preventing customers from finding their moment of truth? The answer to this question will dictate what you should design your listening program around.

Furthermore, that search will allow your company to create fundamental human relationships with customers. And those relationships will create positive buzz, build lifetime loyalty, and result in a much stronger bottom line.

Sharing the Love

Thinking how certain audiences can help solve business challenges is important, but it’s not the only step brands must take. Once a company’s experience team finds moments of truth, they absolutely must share the news across the organization! This sharing process is often called data democratization.

I really can’t say enough how important it is to share customers’ moments of truth. First, socializing that data across the organization gives every employee a glimpse of how their role affects the customer.

Second, sharing this intel makes it easier for brands to identify moments that matter out of mountains of experience program data. Ultimately, brands that intentionally democratize data from the beginning get so much more from their listening than companies who fail to design their strategy.

Listening Empathetically

The final key to creating meaningful customer experiences is on that is often overlooked: empathy. Empathy is the key to understanding moments of truth and, ultimately, business success.

Catering to customers’ search for meaning is neither a program luxury nor a saying you put on a wall sign. It’s a strategy that builds transformational brand success and the meaningful, emotional relationships that can sustain it indefinitely.

I go into greater depth about the importance of designing your experience program before listening in my article on the subject, which you can read here. Thank you!

The Case for Moving Your Experience Program Beyond Metrics

For a lot of companies, the phrase “experience programs” brings careful management and lots of metrics to mind. Both of those things are important components of any experience effort, but they can’t bring about meaningful change and improvement. Experience programs can revolve around so much more than scoreboard-watching and reacting to challenges only as they arise—we’re going to go over how much more these programs can be and why brands should adjust their ambitions accordingly.

Movement Over Metrics

Conventional wisdom holds that if an experience program is returning great measurements, that must mean it’s really working for a brand. However, this isn’t necessarily true. Metrics are effective for highlighting a brand’s high points and weak spots, but that’s about it. A true experience program’s job doesn’t end with better metrics—that’s actually where the work begins.

Companies can create a fundamentally better experience for their customers (and thus a stronger bottom line for themselves) by taking action on their program’s findings. This means sharing intelligence throughout an organization rather than leaving it siloed, as well as encouraging all stakeholders to own their part of the process. In short, taking action is what makes the difference between being really good at watching scores roll in and actually fixing problems that might be muddying up the customer journey.

Narratives Over Numbers

The phrase “program findings” from the preceding paragraph can also mean more than just numbers. It can also denote customer stories, employee reports, and other, more abstract forms of feedback. Many experience programs pick this information up as a matter of course, but it can be difficult to take action on that intel without a concrete action plan.

One reason why many companies encounter this difficulty is because their programs don’t acknowledge a simple truth: some customer segments are worth more to listen to than others. It doesn’t make much sense to try to listen to every segment for feedback on a loyalty program that only long-term customers use or know about. This is why it’s important for brands to consider which audiences they want to gather feedback from before even turning any listening posts on.

Once brands have matched the audiences they want to listen to to the goals they want to achieve, that’s when they can turn their ears on and start gathering that feedback. Companies that take this approach will find feedback significantly more relevant (and helpful) than intelligence gathered through a more catchall approach. They can then perform a key driver analysis on those customers and put their feedback against a backdrop of operational and financial data for further context, which goes a long way toward the goal of all of this: meaningful improvement.

Experience Improvement Over Experience Management

Experience improvement is not a goal that can be reached just by reading metrics. It demands more than turning listening posts on and hoping that a good piece of customer intel comes down the wire. Rather, experience improvement demands action. Much like water molecules, the forces that drive customer expectations, acquisition, churn, and other factors are in constant motion, and thus demand constant action to stay on top of it all.

Desiloing intelligence, motivating stakeholders, and expanding program awareness to customer stories instead of just higher scores and stats is what makes the difference between an industry-leading experience and everyone else’s. These actions create better experiences for customers, compel employees to become more invested in providing those experiences, and creates a marketplace-changing impact for the brand.

Click here to learn more about how to take your program from simple metric-watching to meaningful improvement for all.

Stop Managing Experiences—Start Improving Them

InMoment® today announced its mission to challenge the customer experience industry and offer an elevated approach focused on Experience Improvement (XI)™ for the world’s customers, employees, and top brands. This involves dramatically increasing the results from experience programs through a new class of software and services specifically designed to help leaders detect and ‘own’ the important moments in customer and employee journeys. Read more in the full press release here.

6 Customer Experience Best Practices to Transform Your Patient Experience Program

In many important ways, healthcare organizations and consumer businesses are fundamentally different. And yet, there is no question that today’s patients bring a distinctly consumer mindset to their healthcare experiences. That means patients are better informed about their healthcare choices. They have easier access to information and reviews about providers and facilities. And they are much more willing to walk away from providers that can’t deliver both quality care and good overall experiences.

This dynamic raises an intriguing question: If patients are increasingly bringing consumer expectations to their healthcare experiences, what (if anything) can the healthcare industry learn from leading consumer companies about improving those experiences?

The answer, as it turns out, has important implications. A growing number of healthcare providers are discovering new solutions to long-entrenched challenges and limitations by exploring, adapting, and applying proven customer experience (CX) best practices to their patient experience (PX) efforts. There are many examples, but to begin the conversation, here are six proven and broadly accepted CX best practices that are especially relevant and useful for healthcare organizations looking to breathe new life into their patient experience programs.

Best Practice #1: Build a Winning Patient Experience Strategy

Today, 90% of healthcare organizations say improving patient experiences is a high priority. But only 8% of those organizations have managed to put a successful patient experience strategy in place. [1] This huge gap highlights the challenges of actually creating a balanced and complete patient experience strategy that defines who your patients are, clearly outlines what kinds of experiences you want to provide, and describes how you want patients to feel after they receive care from your organization.

There are obviously no easy, one-size-fits-all prescriptions for developing a strong, effective PX strategy, but there are some core ideas from the consumer world that can help guide your efforts:

  • Create a more patient centric culture. Cultural changes are never easy. But many leading consumer organizations have proved that with consistent, ongoing effort, you can successfully define what “patient centricity” means to your organization, communicate that definition and get buy-in across every level of the organization, and ultimately shift your core culture to focus more on delivering complete, world-class patient experiences.
  • Align your patient experience strategy with your core brand and business strategies. The world’s best consumer businesses understand that a successful CX strategy has to be closely connected to and aligned with the organization’s brand and business strategies. The same is true in the healthcare world. With the proper alignment in place, you can make clear promises about what patients should expect from your organization (brand strategy), consistently deliver on those promises (PX strategy), and then connect those experiences back to your organization’s overall goals (business strategy).
  • Find and engage with a dedicated customer experience executive. Getting organizational buy-in for patient experience improvements that impact multiple departments always requires strong leadership from the top. Smart consumer businesses often assign a dedicated executive to provide the leadership, influence, and continuity needed to develop and execute on a successful CX strategy. The same approach will help drive the success of your PX program.

Building and implementing a successful patient experience strategy takes time and a lot of persistent effort. But with the right strategy in place, you’ll reach a point where all the people, data, technology and processes you put in place start to yield results that are clear to everyone—from employees who are now empowered to deliver better experiences to patients who experience the results first hand.

Best Practice #2: View Your Patients’ Experiences Through Multiple Lenses

Many healthcare organizations depend on standardized survey programs as their main (or only) source of patient experience data. But the best consumer organizations have learned that meaningful improvement comes from collecting information from the widest possible range of sources along every step of the customer journey. For healthcare organizations, this involves combining and complementing standardized surveys with more targeted and personalized information gathering tools. It also includes finding ways to unify and tap into all of the incredibly rich sources of patient information that exist in your point-of-care, safety and quality, operations, and other healthcare systems. Surveys ask patients to look back at their experiences after they’re over, but these other tools often measure reactions and responses in real time at specific points. They also make it possible to incorporate and share (with permission) the perspectives and experiences of family members who are involved in caring for their loved ones.

Of course, this “multiple lens” approach requires a technology platform that’s capable of normalizing all these different sources of data, analyzing them, and converting them into cohesive and useful patient experience insights. But when this platform is in place and working properly—and all of your different patient systems are connected to it—you gain an incredibly rich and unified view of the complete patient journey.

Best Practice #3: Use Predictive Analytics to Prioritize Your PX Efforts

In addition to combining and analyzing customer experience data from different sources, smart consumer organizations leverage advanced predictive analytics to accurately identify what matters most to their customers and pinpoint what types of CX changes will have the biggest positive impact.

By adding this additional intelligence to your patient experience technology platform, you gain the confidence of knowing that your efforts are making the largest possible contribution to increased loyalty and improved patient experiences.

Best Practice #4: Empower Employees to Make Smarter, Faster Decisions

For consumer businesses, survival often depends on making smart decisions faster than the competition. In the CX realm, this typically takes the form of dashboards and reports that quickly synthesize multiple performance measures and data sources into clear, simple, and actionable insights—and then makes them available to everyone who needs them in nearly real time.

In most cases, healthcare organizations have been much slower to adopt these types of dynamic, customizable tools. But a technology platform that combines and unifies different sources of patient data also lays the groundwork for the types of near-real-time dashboards that can drive smart, informed, and relevant patient experience decisions across every layer of your organization.

Best Practice #5: Take Advantage of the Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) uses a single, standard question to measure how likely a customer is to recommend a product, service, or brand, and it has been nearly universally adopted by companies in the consumer world. NPS serves a uniquely valuable purpose, because it uses a single numeric score to consistently measure satisfaction and brand loyalty across nearly every market and industry.

Today, the healthcare industry rarely uses NPS, but it presents an interesting opportunity for forward-looking healthcare organizations. By adding NPS to your patient experience program, you can gain a perspective that goes beyond the healthcare industry—and measures your performance against the larger consumer landscape. This becomes especially valuable as patients increasingly bring consumer expectations to their healthcare experiences. Of course, with NPS—as with any other metric—it’s important to focus on meaningful action and improvement, rather than simply “chasing the score.”

Best Practice #6: Focus on Actions and Results

Nearly every consumer organization collects customer experience data and documents the results. But the true CX leaders also know how to translate those efforts into meaningful, systematic changes and improvements, and they know how to do it quickly. This is an especially relevant area for healthcare organizations, because there is a strong tendency to focus more on collecting patient experience data than actually driving and managing change.

That’s not surprising. Gathering survey data, generating reports, and documenting scores are focused, self-contained activities that fit neatly into familiar, well-defined boxes. Effective change management, on the other hand, requires the buy-in and active participation of virtually everyone, across all roles, levels, and departments. As a result, many healthcare organizations dedicate resources to the part of the process they can more easily understand and measure—and hope that the information somehow leads to improvements.

For consumer businesses and healthcare organizations alike, closing this gap between measurement and action means investing equally in the information gathering and change management sides of the equation. If you’re collecting more complete and relevant information about your patients’ journeys in real time and from more sources, turning that data into actionable insights in near real-time, and then feeding it into a unified and effective change management framework, you can quickly identify, prioritize, and implement changes that will make the biggest difference for your patients.

Start Applying CX Best Practice to Your Patient Experience Program Today

The world’s biggest and most successful consumer businesses have been obsessed with improving their customers’ experiences for decades. And despite the important differences between healthcare organizations and consumer businesses, there is a very long list of techniques, tools, and best practices you can adapt and apply to breathe new life into—and create new possibilities for—your patient experience program.

Find out how MaritzCX can help you apply best practices from the consumer world to enhance every part of your patient experience program and meet the rising expectations of your patients.

Call 385.695.2800 or visit maritzcx.com/patient-experience to talk to a representative and schedule a demo.

 

[1] Kaufman, Hall & Associates report 2017 State of Consumerism in Health Care: Slow Progress in Fast Times.

The Importance of Onboarding in the Automotive Industry: Part 2

To view the first part of this blog series, click here

The Important First Day of the Employee Journey

In the last blog on the Employee Experience in the Automotive industry, we looked at the strategic importance and economic benefit of an effective onboarding process and focused on what should happen prior to the employee’s start date.

In this post, we’ll look at what happens when employees arrive on their first day. As before, we are focusing on the automotive industry, but the principles equally apply to other industries as well.

Creating a Welcome Kit

Once the day has arrived, you want to make it special and the best way to do that is to create an exceptional first impression. Have your receptionist be aware of the start date and ensure that the new employee is welcomed appropriately.

In fact, consider creating a “Welcome Kit” that contains numerous positive first impression opportunities such as branded assessories. Have a welcome letter from the Dealer Principal, or even from the OEM President, prepared and left at the new employee’s desk.

Often items like these are used daily and a new hire will feel an immediate attachment, so much so that they will often continue to use them for years all the while linking back to that first day.

Lastly, provide any desktop resources and in this case, the term desktop is in the literal sense. Any print materials such as dealership newsletters, upcoming community involvement notices, employee recognition programs -anything that conveys positive dealership activity will help to make a new employee feel good about their decision to join the team.

From an online standpoint, consider adding a dedicated Welcome page to your intranet or LMS.  Creating a specific Welcome starting point will be engaging and will direct a new hire to specific curriculum best suited for their role.

Be sure to include a Welcome video or a step-by-step tutorial of where and when to access available training resources which, again, builds on that important first impression and helps to ease the potential training concerns people face with any new job.

As the day continues, ensure a dealership tour takes place and introduce the new hire to the various departments and team members.  This is just as important for the existing team as for the new hire as positive introductions will help break the ice and hopefully lead to productive working relationships.

Engaging the New Employee Beyond the First Day

After the tour, review any administrative processes and outline not only the orientation for the remainder of the day, but also for the week ahead. For example, if this is a sales role, you may want to suggest the new hire learn as much as possible about one specific model per day.

Encourage them to drive the vehicle and speak with other salespeople. Have them talk to the service personnel to better understand the maintenance requirements of the vehicles they’ll be selling. Learning all the details of an entire product lineup can be daunting, so focus on small daily or weekly goals that are attainable.

To sustain this positive feeling past the first day, OEMs or even large dealer groups should consider conducting monthly webinar sessions for new hires. This would be a great way to meet others, online at least, who are in a similar situation and allows for the moderator to run through the onboarding process once again to promote upcoming events, answer outstanding questions, and receive important feedback.

This also could be a great opportunity for a short, anonymous employee survey to uncover any opportunities for improvement in the onboarding process.

Who Should Lead the Onboarding?

In terms of leading the onboarding, often this is left up to a Sales or Service Manager and while this is optimal, typically these managers are busy and other responsibilities may interfere with the full attention they can bring.

As an alternative, consider creating a role for an onboarding Champion, an individual whose responsibility it is to see that new employees are thoroughly walked through the onboarding process and are there to help answer additional questions in the upcoming days and weeks ahead.

This role would not take the place of a manager, as it would likely be a secondary role for a peer in the new hire’s respective department and as such, is designed to be another level of support.

When developing this role, consider making it a possible precursor to a management position as it will involve people skills, accountability, and guidance – all valuable traits in any future manager.

Onboarding is an Essential Part of the Employee Experience

To recap, onboarding is an essential part of the employee experience. Onboarding any new hire will be most effective when done in a consistent process. Include it in the hiring stage, allowing you to demonstrate your commitment to their success, the level of support available, and necessary accountability to complete the required curriculum.

Turnover is costly and leads to lower employee and customer satisfaction so ensure you take onboarding seriously and allocate the necessary resources to make a new hire feel comfortable, valued and a welcome part of your dealership family.

Onboarding is one of the most important processes a dealership can have, as it often predicates the likelihood of a new hire actually staying long term and starting a successful career. Not only will the implementation make a difference in the company, but it will also help individual employees to feel valued and achieve their career goals.

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Onboarding in the Automotive Industry: Part 1

The Automotive Employee Journey

Let’s start with some good news.  According to Tinypulse.com, 91% of employees are retained by an organization with an effective onboarding process and 69% of new hires are likely to stay for three years if there is a well-structured onboarding programme in place.

But here’s the bad news – 22% of staff turnover occurs within the first 45 days.

According to Fred Reichheld, the inventor of NPS:

“If you wonder what getting and keeping the right employees has to do with getting and keeping the right customers, the answer is everything. Companies need to care about the employee experience because that’s the only way they will be equipped to deliver a great customer experience.”

The reality of the statement seems to be hitting home. We do a lot of work in the area of employee engagement.  We have received more requests for information and proposals in the last year for employee engagement projects than we have in recent memory.

The automotive industry suffers from higher-than-average turnover, especially in the key areas of frontline roles that deal directly with the customer. And without a positive employee experience, it is much more difficult to deliver a positive customer experience.

Manufacturers seem to be recognizing more acutely the need to have fully engaged, interested, and satisfied frontline employees which is particularly challenging, in an industry that globally still tends to operate on a franchise model.

In this two part blog series, we will be looking at the employee journey. The first will deal with the time leading up to the employee starting their first day of work; the second will focus on what happens once they actually get there. Even though our focus in this post is on onboarding for the automotive industry, the principles can be applied across industry.

Minimizing Turnover While Increasing Satisfaction

For the automotive industry there’s a very strong economic argument for decreasing employee turnover.  According to Ted Kraybill, president of ESI Trends which conducts the annual National Automobile Dealers Association Dealership Workforce Study in the US, a 10-percentage-point increase in turnover will cost the average dealership $7,500 in gross profit per employee per year.

If the average dealership has 70 people, a 10-point increase in employee turnover for the average dealership costs more than $500,000 in gross profit annually.  Multiplied by NADA’s count of roughly 16,500 dealerships, it’s an $8 billion-plus problem (Automotive News, 2017).

The first step to minimise a high employee turnover is to implement a strong onboarding process for your next hire. A good process will increase the employee satisfaction and retention, whereas a poor one will result in consistent and costly turnover.

Showing Commitment to the Development

By presenting the onboarding steps, brand history, curriculum and resources available, you demonstrate your commitment to an individual’s development, success, and comfort level when first starting a new role. This can be a tense time for anyone in a new position, and the more structure you can present before they are hired, the more likely you are to attract a better candidate.

Communicate Accountability

A second goal along with this support, is to communicate the accountability that goes along with it. By demonstrating that certain courses are to be completed, and a culture that is to be adhered to, you are setting expectations that will need to be met. Too often a new hire exhibits the wrong behavior simply for the fact that they were not told of the desired behaviour by the employer.

By doing this before the actual hire takes place, you ensure they understand what is expected with no surprises after they start.

Share Onboarding Plan Prior to the Employee’s First Day

Once you have made the hire official, often there can be some time gap until the actual start date. If this is the case, you may want to consider sending any applicable resources to the new hire to help prepare them for your brand and/or dealership.

Even having them explore the websites in depth with specific information needs will help them become more familiar with their new surroundings. Here they can learn more about the product and possibly the team they will be working with which can help them feel more at home.

It may also raise some initial questions that they can be prepared to ask on their first day.

Speaking of the first day, an effective onboarding process is transparent, meaning that you need to choreograph the day and prepare the new hire for what’s ahead. Sending an email or text in advance with the day’s agenda will help to confirm your commitment and help them start off on the right foot.

Positive Employee Experiences Turn Into Positive Customer Experiences

The bottom line is that in order to retain employees, effective onboarding processes need to be put into effect. Better preparing employees before their first day and during training will decrease turnover and ultimately help new hires to feel supported by their team, stay committed to development, and increase their communication with leadership.

With an exemplary onboarding process, automotive companies will see an increase in fully engaged, interested, and satisfied employees. And when employees have a positive experience with the company, they are more likely to pass on the positive experiences to their customers.

Click here to read the second part of this series.

Sources:
  1. Automotive News (‘Employee turnover costs dealers billions’ Jan.23, 2017)

Best Practices to Improve Experiences in a Patient-as-Consumer World

In just a few short years, technology and business innovations have fundamentally changed how people interact with—and what they expect from—the services and organizations they depend on. Today, the unavoidable fact is that people make decisions and invest their loyalty based mainly on experiences, not necessarily the nuances of products or services.

This consumer-focused and experience-driven reality has profound implications for the healthcare industry. People expect fast, deeply personalized, and highly mobile experiences in nearly every aspect of their lives. They won’t tolerate long wait times or dismissive providers. And they won’t hesitate to share their opinions on social media, use the power of the Internet to investigate other options, or switch to a healthcare provider that offers them the kind of patient experience they expect.

In this landscape, your organization simply can’t afford to stick with the status quo or fall behind the patient experience curve. You need more effective, innovative, and unified programs to understand every aspect of your patients’ journeys; accurately measure their experiences; and quickly convert all the patient data you collect into practical, meaningful improvements. And you need to get there quickly.

1. Fully Explore and Understand the Challenges

There are legitimate reasons why healthcare is rarely at the top of people’s “best experiences” list. Understanding what those reasons are, how they impact your patient experience efforts, and what you can do to overcome them is the first step in taking your patient experiences program to the next level.

Siloed and Regulated Patient Data

In the healthcare industry, incredibly rich sources of data are sitting in various safety, quality, point-of-care, operational, and employee systems, but all that information is locked inside protected, regulated silos where it serves a narrow purpose that is completely disconnected from patient experience concerns. This inevitably leaves you with a narrow, incomplete view that limits your ability to understand the complete patient experience.

Limited Standardized Survey Tools

Since CAHPS inception in 2006, the surveys have brought public accountability to the healthcare industry, and an increased focus on patient satisfaction. But now, forward-thinking organizations are looking for immediate, within hours, feedback instead of weeks, from social media and other digital channels, and there are new innovative tools that can supplement patient feedback.

Ingrained Cultural Mindsets and Processes

Healthcare professionals are dedicated to providing the best possible care for their patients, and they do a remarkable job. But depending on the circumstances, the experiences that surround that care can leave something to be desired. Complex regulations and internal processes create confusing check-in procedures and stacks of paperwork. Budget-driven understaffing leads to long wait times and rushed, overextended providers. Understanding the root of the problem is key in determining what actions are needed to make the working environment and patient experience better.

2. Overcome Challenges with an All-Inclusive, Results Driven Approach

When you fully understand the scope of the patient experience challenges you face, it’s clear that more patient surveys and a deeper investment in standardized CAHPS surveys is not the answer. Jumping to the head of the patient experience pack will require a more flexible, holistic, and results-driven approach.

Embrace a Centralized Technology Platform to Unify Patient Data and Additional Research Capabilities

An all-inclusive approach to patient experience has to start with a centralized technology platform that combines all of your patient data sources into a single, unified, and multi-faceted view. It is imperative that patient experience organizations leverage a technology platform that takes advantage of CAHPS, adds depth and flexibility to collecting patient data, and engages with patients in different ways, traditional mail, email, mobile, social media, and more.

Data and technology are essential components of any all-inclusive patient experience program. But you can’t reach your full potential without some proven customer experience strategies and proven services like understanding the patient care journey, easily customizing and personalizing patient survey design, adding a governance component to your strategy and plans, and being able of dig deeper into data using some type of true driver analysis tool.

The healthcare industry can learn a lot from customer experience programs in other industries. But that requires experts who understand both customer experience best practices and the complex nuances of the healthcare industry.

3. Design, Diagnose, and Deliver a World-class Patient Experience Program

It’s important to understand the big picture. But what does an all-inclusive program look like in practical terms? And what does it allow you to do that you can’t do today? Here are a few practical capabilities and benefits you can look forward to with a comprehensive patient experience program.

  • All of your existing survey tools, including CAHPS, become part of an all-inclusive patient experience program, visible within one platform.
  • Surveys are easy to customize and change, so you can design them for each individual patient, collect more reliable data, and measure every patient’s complete journey.
  • Patients can access surveys using whatever methods they’re most comfortable with – from completing a paper survey and mailing it to tapping responses on a smartphone.
  • Data from every source is instantly uploaded to a platform, so you can combine survey data with safety, quality, operational, financial, and clinical data to gain deeper, more complete insights and pinpoint specific areas for improvement.
  • Use tools to call out immediate action
  • Learn about patient experience services to fill gaps, meet specific needs, and enhance and expand every part of your patient experience program.
  • Follow a specific, step-by-step patient experience roadmap – based on best practices and created specifically for your organization – so you can focus your efforts and resources on initiatives that lead directly to your desired outcome.
  • You should leverage expertise from customer experience (CX) best practices to enhance your team and guide your efforts.

Find out how healthcare organizations break the mold and build a results-focused patient experience program that’s built to meet the expectations of modern patients in the digital age. Contact us at 385.695.2800 (8am-5pmMT) or visit www.maritzcx.com/patient-experience

 

 

 

Advice on Adding a Reward Component to Your CX Program

Recently more and more of our clients are considering adding a significant reward component to their customer experience (CX) programs. This may take place by directly rewarding CX outcomes, or by adding them to an existing reward-based incentive program. Many automotive manufacturers have been using CX outcomes in their reward-based incentive programs for decades.

The insights provided below are based on our experience running the CX component of many of those programs. There’s a lot to think about if you are considering combining reward or compensation components with your CX program.

Your program will come under much more scrutiny and participants will care much more about it. Participants, especially those who do not achieve the reward, may also
challenge your program. This is why the process of setting, communicating, and enforcing program rules (i.e., program governance) becomes very important.

For the purposes of clarity, in the descriptions below we are going to use a typical example of a customer experience program that is run by a company to obtain feedback about experiences across its retailers (i.e., the reward program participants). However, when we refer to “retailers,” they could be any customer-facing program participants like franchise locations, bank branch managers, insurance agents, hotel managers, etc.

Consider What You Want to Accomplish

Adding a successful reward component to a program involves making many decisions about how to structure your program, that will ultimately determine its success. Before you begin making these decisions, it is important to clearly articulate (ideally in writing) what you hope to accomplish. For example:

  • What kinds of behaviors are you trying to change, and in whom?
  • Are you looking to reward people whose feedback indicates they are doing an exceptional job?
  • Are you hoping to nudge low-performing retailers to begin focusing more on customer experience?
  • Do you just want to incentivize people to keep doing what they’re doing?

Most programs we’ve encountered are set up to award the majority of retailers, both for marketing and retailer improvement purposes. However, due to budgets, there is a trade-off between the number of retailers you can reward and the size of the rewards you can give.

This is just one example of why it’s important to have alignment on the purpose of your program up front, so that the goals you set, metrics you collect, rewards you give, etc. can be strategically chosen to bring about the specific impact you want.

Qualification Criteria

Once you know what you want to accomplish with your program, you’ll want to decide what criteria need to be met for a retailer to qualify for consideration for the reward. There several factors that should be considered:

Pre-qualifiers: Some programs set criteria for a retailer to be eligible for reward consideration, no matter what their score. These criteria may be financial-based (e.g., minimum sales) or CX program-based.

For instance, if the retailers in the program are the source of the customer contact information, the percentage of provided sample with valid email addresses (i.e., data cleanliness) and/or the overall percentage of customers with valid email addresses (i.e., data coverage) are often used as pre-qualification criteria.

This encourages retailers to collect and report email contact information to be used for surveying purposes. Other pre-qualifiers can include retailers having completed training and other activities that contribute to the delivery of exceptional customer experiences.

Number of Returns: You will need a reliable and valid measure of customer experience upon which to base your rewards. To have enough surveys responses to produce a valid score, the general rule is 1000 is great, 100 is good, 30 is acceptable, and anything below that is questionable.

However, even when using 30 as the minimum responses needed, problems often occur because each retail unit needs to have that number of returns in the time period being measured. For context, many of our programs that receive over a million responses per year have difficulty meeting the 30 minimum responses at the retailer level because those responses are unevenly spread across thousands of retailers.

So, what do you do?

You need to look at the distribution of responses across your retailers and pick the highest number of returns that won’t exclude too many retailers due to low sample size. This analysis will also help you decide what time frame is needed to gather enough returns at the retailer level. Meaning, you might not have enough returns to support a program that gives quarterly rewards, but you may be able to give rewards semi-annually or annually.

Goals and Cut Off Scores

When implementing a reward program, you’ll need a goal or cut-off score that determines who earns the reward and who does not. These goal scores have many characteristics you need to consider.

SMART Goals: First of all, your goals should follow the SMART guidelines. In other words, your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based. Describing the details of SMART goals is too large of a topic to address here, but that information can easily be found online.

A Single-Item Measure vs. an Index: You also need to decide if your goal is going to be determined by a single customer experience measure (e.g., Net Promoter Score, Overall Satisfaction with the Transaction) or an index that combines measures.

An index of key performance indicators (KPIs) is usually preferred because it is more statistically reliable, and you can focus your employees on achieving various KPIs. The KPIs making up the index can also be weighted to account for their relative importance in determining the customer experience.

We recommend that an index contains no more than three or four measures because people and businesses can only focus on a few things at a time.

A Universal Goal vs. Different Goals: Another important decision is if you will use a universal goal for everyone in the program or if you will have different goals for different groups of participants. While a universal goal is easiest to administer, in many cases it is not the best choice.

Because CX performance can vary greatly by geography, most reward-based CX programs set different goals for different countries, and many set different goals by region within countries to ensure fairness.

A Single All-or-Nothing Goal vs. Tiered Goals: One problem with setting a single all-or-nothing goal is that the goal may not be motivating for program participants who are so far away from the goal that they have virtually no chance of obtaining it. Therefore, you might consider adding a smaller reward solely based on improvement or provide rewards based on level of goal attainment (e.g., at 80%, 90%, 100% and 110%).

Another problem with having one all-or-nothing goal is that, when the value of the reward is significant, it can lead to undesirable behaviors when retailers are unable to achieve the goal by honest means. In these cases, retailers may resort to survey manipulation or other gaming behaviors to obtain the all-or-nothing reward.

A tiered structure with different attainment levels and corresponding reward values can help prevent this.

Absolute Goals vs. Relative Goals: Absolute goals are goals that are set before the beginning of the reward period. Relative goals are usually goals that are finalized at the end of the reward period and are based on all retailers’ performance during that time period. Common relative goals are the national average, or the score associated with the top “X” percent of retailers for the reward period.

In general, we recommend use of absolute goals because relative goals cause retailers to “shoot at a moving target.” This can lead to confusion and frustration, reducing program engagement.

While absolute goals are preferred, that does not mean they can’t be set using relative comparisons. Many programs set their absolute goals by using the national average or score associated with top tier dealers from the previous reward period.

Goal Level: How high you set the bar has important implications for people’s effort, and for the success of the program. Ideally, each individual or retailer will have a goal that is “just reachable” – a goal that is high enough so as to stretch them to perform to the best of their ability, but not beyond their reach in which case they may give up and disengage from the program.

Characteristics of the Reward

There are several aspects of the reward itself that you need to consider:

Type of Reward: The most common decision here is whether you are going to offer cash or non-monetary rewards like merchandise or travel experiences. While cash is often used, it may not be the best choice for a number of reasons.

First, it is important that the reward is a “bonus” to the participants, not something that they need to achieve to maintain their business or livelihood. While most people will say they would prefer cash, it can easily become absorbed into one’s personal budget and spent on necessities, thus becoming a need.

When this occurs, it is much more difficult to discontinue a cash-based rewards program because participants are relying on it for their livelihood.

Non-monetary rewards, on the other hand, are perceived as distinctly different from cash and usually deliver greater motivational and emotional value because they represent the opportunity to treat oneself or others with luxury items that might be difficult to justify if purchased. Also, non-monetary rewards usually have trophy or social value whereas cash does not.

Most program participants would be reluctant to tell friends they received a $5000 cash reward, and many would not remember how they spent that reward money a couple of years later. However, tangible items like merchandise and travel experiences provide lasting memories of being rewarded that are socially acceptable to talk about with others or post on social media. This extends the emotional arc of the reward, making it more meaningful and valuable to the recipient.

Amount of the Reward: Obviously, the amount of the reward will depend on your budget and how many winners you anticipate. Rewards need to be valuable enough to be motivating or people will either fail to engage or consider them unfair in exchange for their time and effort. Conversely, the rewards should not be so large that the need to win them triggers undesirable behavior or resentment if they are discontinued.

Timing of the Reward: You also need to determine the time period in which the rewards will be earned. Most reward programs we have seen provide rewards either quarterly or annually. It is particularly important that you set the time period long enough so the vast majority of participants will reach the minimum survey returns criterion.

For those who cannot meet the criteria in that time frame, you may want to find a fair alternative solution so they will not feel devalued.

Program Administration

Program administration is one of the things that will change most if you add a significant reward omponent to your CX program because there will be more scrutiny of scores and more “score chasing”.

Survey Appeals Process: Most CX programs with significant rewards have some sort of survey appeals process, either a formal set of rules or a “one-off” decision making process. For consistency and fairness, a formal set of rules is preferred. Generally, survey appeals should be granted only in cases where egregious survey errors have occurred.  Sending the survey to the wrong customer or having the customer rate the wrong retailer or transaction would qualify as egregious errors.

The remedy for successful appeals should be to remove the surveys in goal score calculation rather than giving “full credit.” Many CX programs set a limit to the number of appeals a retailer can make to prevent appeals from getting out of hand.

“Mulligans:” In golf, a “mulligan” is a free do-over without a penalty stroke. In the CX world some programs allow “mulligans” by dropping retailers’ bottom one to five percent of surveys in a given time period. This is done to hopefully minimize the survey appeals process and to address the common complaint that, “you can’t satisfy everyone.”

Generally, allowing “mulligans” is not a good idea for a number of reasons:

  • It often does not minimize the appeals process. Retailers still challenge surveys in the hopes they won’t count toward their mulligans.
  • Most programs set goals based on national/regional performance across units. For something to truly be a “mulligan”, goal scores need to be set without removing mulligans, but retailer scores need to be calculated while removing mulligans. Otherwise, you are just “raising the bar” by removing mulligans. While necessary, this process can cause unnecessary confusion to the understanding of program rules and thus less participant engagement.
  • All retailers have to deal with unreasonable customers. That’s part of the job and the effects of having difficult to satisfy customers should “wash out” over retailers.

Establish Rules for Survey-Related Behavior: The key to having a CX component in a rewards program is to ensure that the survey responses are in sync with the actual experience and that participants aren’t asking for a rating inconsistent with actual performance.

Unfortunately, when there is a significant reward on the line, many retailers talk to customers about filling out the survey and encourage them to “give me a good grade.” Therefore, you need to set and clearly communicate rules for what behaviors are allowed and not allowed.

Some programs prohibit retailers from even mentioning the survey to the customer. Others allow retailers to inform the customer that a survey will be coming and ask the customer to please fill it out, but that is all they can say. Things that are typically not allowed include: Telling customers they are “graded” on the survey, showing customers a survey with all top-box responses checked, telling customers their pay depends on survey results, and providing incentives for good survey scores.

Program Adherence Monitoring: Most companies that have significant rewards based on their CX programs have processes in place to detect if retailers are attempting to manipulate the results. There are several markers that could indicate manipulation: duplicate customer contact information (e.g., email addresses), retailer domains in the email address, unusually low percentages of valid email addresses, unusually low or high response rates, unusually high number of multiple responses from the same IP address, and multiple responses from the same computer or smartphone.

A best practice in this area is to keep the specific survey manipulation detection methods unpublished to make it difficult for participants to figure out work arounds. However, the general fact that survey returns are being assessed for manipulation should be publicized. Retailers are less likely to try to game the system if they know their company is monitoring results for cheating.

Establish and Communicate Consequences of Cheating: This is where many programs fall short because cheating is implicitly allowed through the lack of consequences for getting caught. If cheating is allowed, many people will not go to the effort to do the behaviors your program is designed to incentivize.

It can also undermine a program by creating a sense of unfairness for the participants who try to earn their rewards honestly. Programs that do enforce cheating rules usually use an escalation approach where the retailer first receives a warning and is given time to rectify the situation. If infractions continue, the penalties usually grow in severity.

Publish a Program Manual: As you can see, you’ll have to establish many program rules and these rules will need to be clearly communicated to the program participants. Many program managers do this by publishing an annual program manual that describes both the rewards and the rules.

Final Points

The primary point we hope you take away from reading this paper is that combining a significant reward program with your CX program is a very big decision that needs to be considered carefully. It is a decision that is usually very difficult to reverse.

Once you start giving rewards based on customer experience, if you decide not to continue to do so in the future, your retailers will likely interpret that decision as, “the company doesn’t prioritize customer experience anymore.” As a result, your customers’ experiences will probably suffer.

Finally, if you add a rewards component to your CX program, your program will likely become much more complicated. Many decisions will need to be made about such things as the ultimate goals of the program, the criteria for inclusion, and how success will be measured and rewarded. You will also need to implement many new rules and procedures to oversee the program.

Overall, a well-designed and well-executed reward program can have a meaningful impact on the loyalty and behavior of your stakeholders.

The Employee Experience is Crucial to a Successful Patient Experience

Employee Experience and Patient Experience Go Hand-in-hand

Let’s be clear: I love my job. Truly. In fact, I’m one of those people who truly enjoys going to work. Sickening? Perhaps. But hang on…here comes the punch line: it’s been A WEEK. School is back in session, which means a new and unfamiliar schedule…and necessary bedtimes. (I really dislike bedtimes, especially on beautiful August summer evenings here in WI.) Kid sports and activities are again in full swing, most nights of the week. And we’re nearing Q4 on the business side of things, which means…client budgets need to get used and therefore, we are UBER busy. Which truly, is a good thing.

What’s not a good thing? The 13 hours of sleep I’ve managed across the last three nights. And, confession time: I’m simply not my best in this intense a situation, on this little sleep, with this level of stress. I’m not patient, I’m less kind than I should be, I don’t listen to my kids and husband very well, and I don’t truly engage in my life. I’m surviving.

After the week started the way it did, I saw this meme on a social media site the other day and it struck a chord with me. UNTIL, I had a friend say to me, “You don’t want to be a survivor, a warrior…you were made for better – you’re a THRIVER.”

And you know what? She was absolutely right. All the personal stuff aside, when I’m stressed, tired, overwhelmed, I’m most certainly not as professionally innovative and sharp as I know I’m capable of. And it got me thinking…healthcare professionals, with whom we are working more and more, work in this type of environment frequently. The stress, the “go-go-go,” the utter fatigue…this is a common scenario for many of those we trust to help us get and remain healthy – our physicians, nurses, and the office and admin staff that support them.

You know those moments when you stop in your tracks and think “holy cow?” Yeah, I had one of those moments. Because about a month ago, the pediatric after-hours line sent me to the emergency room with a sick kid. A physician friend on staff that night came out to greet us. He then stopped in our room to check in again at the end of his shift at 12:30 AM before heading home to his wife and three kids. Thinking back now, I realize how much better our experience was that night because this employee cared.

This is one key reason why we need to care about – and measure, monitor, and respond to – the EMPLOYEE experiences in healthcare, and not just the patient experiences.

These physicians, nurses, office staff, they are human and prone to human emotions, reactions, flaws just like the rest of us. Which means that they also get tired, frustrated, and stressed – and that this can also impact the way in which they perform their jobs that day.

As was the case for my family that night in the ED, these employees are the ones that can make or break a patient experience. And that night, we were fortunate to have care reflective of a healthcare organization that values, appreciates, and actively works to engage its employees in their roles.

Recently, I was trying to schedule a specialist appointment for my son and the “first available time” was 4 months out. My poor child suffers from major allergies, has asthma, and we couldn’t get his prescription renewed until we’d visited his allergist. Realistically, by the time we’d have been able to get in, all the allergens would have been frozen out, since we live in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin, so it made more sense for us to cancel that appointment and free that slot up for someone else!

This brings us to a second reason why we must care deeply about healthcare employee experience: the current shortage of healthcare professionals.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018, projected that 1.1 million additional nurses are needed to avoid further shortage, and that as a profession, employment opportunities for nurses will grow at a faster rate than all other occupations from 2016-2026.

There’s a similar story on the physician side, with the Association of American Medical Colleges projecting a shortage of 120,000 physicians by 2030. With Baby Boomers getting older, this shortage will only increase due to increases in patient volume and demand, and as Baby Boomer healthcare professionals retire.

Undoubtedly, these shortages will impact both availability and quality of care. While not a macro solution, one way healthcare systems can proactively mitigate these shortages on a local level is to focus on efforts designed to retain their teams. Employee retention is a complex concept, and impacted by a variety of factors: the nature of the work, the employee’s manager and teammates, the work environment, work-life balance, perceived value of the work the employee does, etc.

Understanding what matters to healthcare employees, and actively working to engage them is going to be critical in both the short and long term.

I was reading an article recently about a nurse on her way to work who, upon seeing a mother running down the highway, pulled over and was able to revive the woman’s non-breathing infant child. When these stories make the news, two things often strike me as consistent elements: the individual involved in the life-saving measure is a healthcare professional, and the drama has played out outside the confines of the hospital or clinic in which this healthcare professional works.

But here’s the thing: this is what these professionals DO. Not all may actually work in a role in which they are called to save lives on a daily basis, but on the whole, it is these same employees, going about their jobs on a daily basis, who are frequently the reason why a patient in their care has lived instead of died.

This story illustrates a third reason why a program measuring a holistic patient experience MUST also include measurement of employee experience. The actions, the attention, the engagement of the doctors, nurses, in-take staff are often what separates patients from life or death.

Healthcare systems and hospitals are the entities that have the power to proactively understand and manage the employment experiences of their employees. Whether they do so, not only impacts the delivery of care, it can literally mean the difference between life and death.

So how can the healthcare industry value their employees while providing an excellent patient experience? Below are some best practices to be considered:

  • Include employees in conversations that involve patient feedback and care, as they are the ones who interact with patients day to day. Paying attention to feedback can help bridge the gaps in experiences for both patients and employees. Employees need to know that their voice is valued.
  • Remember that employees are human. Healthcare industry leaders are in position to look out for the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of their employees. Something simple like providing a meal during a long shift, or making sure employees are highlighted for their important work is a good way to start. Recognition goes a long way, and helps employees feel valued by the patients they serve.
  • Provide growth opportunities for employees, allowing them to learn new things while helping them with their career paths. This not only makes the employee feel valued, but also increases loyalty to patients and their respective healthcare employers.

3 Reasons Why Behavioural Science is Critical for CX Transformation

Spare a thought for the millions of emails that are never opened.

For the millions of letters that are never read.

For the millions of website clicks that never reach conversion.

For the millions of full baskets that are never checked out.

For the millions of forms that are never filled out.

For the millions of conversations that leave the customer unsatisfied.

Despite the strive for customer-centricity, many businesses have forgotten what is most important: the customer. So how do we bring back the human touch?

More and more customer experience teams are starting to use principles from Behavioural Science to transform their customer experience. Want to try taking this innovative approach for yourself?

Below are three reasons to start incorporating nudges from Behavioural Science in your customer experience today:

1) You Can Use Behavioural Science to Better Understand and Change Customer Behaviour

There is no doubt that Behavioural Science provides a compelling toolkit for understanding what is really going on inside customers’ brains. Behavioural Science uses these customer insights in order to change behaviour and drive compelling results.

For example, when our brains are faced with too much information, we experience “cognitive overload.” To reduce this problem for one of our clients, we helped them to “chunk” complex information in phone calls into digestible parts. This made it easier for customers to take action, and improved the sales conversion by +68.5%.

2) Behavioural Science Transforms the Internal Customer Experience for Employees, as Well as the External Experience for Customers

The brilliance underpinning Behavioural Science is that the human insight is universal. We’re using the very same techniques to improve the experience for employees and, by doing so, this creates valuable experiences for customers.

For one of our clients, we used the principle of “reciprocity” to make conversations in contact centres more meaningful and fulfilling for both employees and customers alike. Customers aren’t saying, “I don’t know what you mean,” anymore, and employees are enjoying their conversations more.

As a result, the churn rate of staff is down to a one quarter of the previous levels, and employee NPS has improved considerably.

3) Behavioural Science Benefits From Academically Rigorous Techniques that Prove the Value of Customer Experience Transformation

Customer Experience Transformation Programmes are often challenged on their ability to deliver concrete value to the business, and one of the benefits of Behavioural Science is its academic rigour. Being able to prove that customer experience interventions are backed up by science is a real asset in a business context.

Randomised Control Trials, A/B split tests, MVTs all combine to accurately and statistically prove the value of any investment, and make a robust business case for future investment.

In order to demonstrate the value of using Behavioural Science to transform customer experience, we work with our clients to design rigorous experiments.

In one such experiment, we demonstrated that our Behavioural Science intervention delivered transformational commercial returns of £37:£1.

There’s no doubt that using Behavioural Science allows you to deliver a superior customer experience with transformational results. If you’d like to learn more about how you can start using Behavioural Science to improve your customer experience today, come and say hello at the Cowry Consulting stand at CXForum on the 9th of October.

www.cowryconsulting.com

MaritzCX Unveils the Healthcare Industry’s First CX-Based Patient Experience Platform

MaritzCX is the first and only CX platform company that’s been CMS-certified to offer Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS®) surveys.

Identifying the need for an all-inclusive, customizable patient experience survey and reporting framework, we developed the MaritzCX Patient Experience Platform, the healthcare industry’s first CX-based patient experience platform.

The platform allows for HCAHPS, patient experience, employee experience, safety and quality, point-of-care/rounding, operational, financial, and clinical data can be uploaded into a single platform, in real time.

With an inclusive view unlike anything before, healthcare organizations can identify more significant and impactful improvements to enhance patient experiences, scores and reimbursement.

They can also view and analyze patient experience data from multiple sources and surveys to gain a more comprehensive view of what impacts the patient journey.

 

“Healthcare organizations have long looked for patient experience best practices outside of their industry. Meanwhile, MaritzCX has spent 50 years implementing customer experience best practices for leading global organizations in industries that include hospitality, retail, high tech, and financial services. Finally, MaritzCX has smashed the regulatory and technology barrier between the two arenas. MaritzCX has spent the last two years building a platform that offers the functionality needed to revolutionize the patient experience. With the MaritzCX Patient Experience Platform and CMS certification, we help healthcare firms break free of the inflexible and stagnant offerings provided by current patient experience vendors in the space today.”

— Mike Sinoway, MaritzCX President and CEO

 

Hospitals and Patients Benefit from a Revolutionary Patient Experience Platform

  • Limitless Customization Capability

 From self-serve to full-serve with MaritzCX experts, healthcare teams can easily design survey questions down to the level of each individual patient, if desired. Customization extends to dashboard views, reports and distribution options directly within the platform.

  • Seamless Integration with Existing Systems

 Easily integrate current survey initiatives and systems into the MaritzCX Patient Experience Platform and view data from HCAHPS, Safety, Quality, Employee Experience or any other data source in one place. Viewing data dynamically together aides in understanding connections and performance.

  • Patient-centric Platform

Make the patient the priority and offer options via responsive mobile, text, email, online and mail capture feedback from beginning to end along the patient journey.

  • Employee Experience (EX) and Patient Experience (PX) Linkage

MaritzCX is the only firm that focuses on true EX-PX linkage and transparency of patient experience data across the organization, coupling it with employee awareness, training, management and recognition/reward programs. This linkage helps PX teams get to the root of organizational change (employees) to positively impact patient experiences.

 

Customer Experience Experts that Know Patient Experience Too

Experts in customer experience, MaritzCX is the only CX platform company to earn CMS certification. Our Patient Experience Platform is built, supported and implemented by MaritzCX, ensuring complete HIPAA compliance.

Click here to start improving your patient experience today.

Automakers Focusing More Attention to “Retention/loyalty”…But Can Dealers Deliver at the Customer Facing Level?

There’s a change going on with automakers! For the first time, automotive OEMs are creating and implementing proprietary customer loyalty programs for their dealer network.

Those programs are anchored by redeemable rewards points and aimed at keeping customers in the dealership “loyalty loop.” And car makers are even funding entire programs…one has even deposited $210 worth of points for each new car buyer so that new sold customers can use their points immediately.

It’s a first for the automakers, who, until recently, have ridden the wave of robust car sales following the great recession of 2008. The past hot market for sales placed retention on the back burner. But that wave is now ending, prompting dealers to search for other means of profits…mainly from used cars and the service center.

Loyalty programs, driven by redeemable points, are not new. Those programs offered by vendors have been around for decades. What makes them more attractive today is the new awareness on the part of retail auto leaders of the true value of a retained customer.

Loyalty programs can send a clear message to the customer that “we care about a relationship with the customer for the future”.

In addition to creating loyalty rewards program, car makers are also focusing more and more on retention rate benchmarks of their dealers…even rewarding them with bonus cash for meeting manufacturer preset goals.

And there is an increasingly strong feeling among retail auto leaders that “retention” will eventually replace “CSI” as the key measurement for the customer’s experience at the dealership.

In one case, a major automaker has already replaced the traditional service CSI score with an expected retention number.

These changes are also prompting a subtle but significant shift in dealership strategy. Traditionally, dealer leadership has always focused on the showroom, but now, with the plateauing of sales, that same leadership is now gaining a more intimate awareness of how the service center is the key to retaining customers for service revenue and repeat sales.

Dealer Service Centers are Ground Zero for Customer Retention

There is little doubt that what happens in the dealer service center has the most profound effect on customer retention. I spoke about this in two previous posts in the Maritz CXCafe Your Other Showroom, The Service Center and Client Loyalty Is Not Dead…But Client Follow-Up is!…but some of that information bears repeating in this latest post.

Success with ramping up acts of retention will require a dramatic cultural change that dealers will not adapt to easily.

Ever since the dawn of auto retailing, budgets for bringing traffic to the showroom have far exceeded those allocated for the service center. That will have to change with the new focus on loyalty.

Consider these NADA stats from 2017:

  • Dealers spent an average of $7.00 on retaining their already sold customers (2017)
  • Luxury dealers spent an average of $762.00 on each vehicle sold, non-luxury spent $670.00 (2017)
  • Average gross on referral vehicle sales was $1,200.00 vs $817.00 for fresh “ups”
  • Referrals have a 51% service usage vs 29% for fresh ups
  • Referrals have a 96% CSI score vs 73% for fresh ups

Clearly, increasing budgets for the service center have had a hard time gaining traction with store General Managers, a group dominated by those whose pedigree was developed in the showroom. That will have to change.

Greatest Deterrent to Focusing on Retention is the Existing “Transactional” Culture

Dealer service advisers don’t instinctively view the value of customer retention. I know this after observing it for 3 years as customer experience manager/retention (the service center exclusively) for one of the largest Buick dealers in the country.

As I stated in a past MaritzCX Cafe post, the number one enemy of customer retention is what I call transactionalism…the preoccupation with an all-consuming focus by dealers on the sales “deal” or the service “RO”, to the detriment of creating a “memorable” experience for the customer with follow up to match.

That proverbial focus on the transaction pushes a “memorable experience” and “customer follow up” to the back burner.

Customer Rewards Programs: A Platform for Delivering a Memorable Experience

We already have established that the service center is ground zero for retention success/failure for dealerships. We also know that service advisers are the primary brand ambassadors for that retention.

Sure, the CX delivered by the sales unit is important, but not as critical to retaining customers as the service lane experience and customer follow up. And while the customer experience during their visit to service is important to retaining them for future loyalty, the follow up of that same customer is even more critical.

That’s why loyalty programs, featuring redeemable points for future service discounts are so critical to repeat visits to service…and eventually to that next vehicle purchase.

Those programs not only offer the customer future discounts on products and services; they also convey a perception that the dealership cares about a future relationship with the customer.

Change Region

Selecting a different region will change the language and content of inmoment.com

North America
United States/Canada (English)
Europe
DACH (Deutsch) United Kingdom (English)
Asia Pacific
Australia (English) New Zealand (English) Singapore (English)