Healthcare Customers and the Journeys They Take

While there may be up to 10 different personas when developing customer journeys, we should focus on no more than four at a time. If we build out all of the customer journeys at the same time, we may find that our initial hypotheses were incomplete or led to misdirected focus.

That’s why we prefer an iterative approach. By looking at no more than four personas, we are able to:

  1. zero in on what each person wants or needs to do on the website (conversions);
  2. current engagement and/or touchpoint with the customers
  3. identify content (e.g., images, text, etc.) and functionality that would help move the persona along the journey;
  4. test;
  5. refine; and
  6. repeat.

This seemingly simple list minimizes the “heavy lifting” that is required at every step. We addressed the importance of conversions when we wrote about personas in the past, but it’s important that everything is brought back to those conversions. If it doesn’t move someone faster or more direct to a conversion, it’s not working.

With some clients, they may think they have a good handle or understanding of how they engage with their customers. But they may only know their departments or some of the interactions that are actually done. In the healthcare industry, the more customers are engaged with their care, know about their conditions, and are involved in their treatment, the better the outcomes and the lower the costs. The more customers are engaged with their care, know about their conditions, and are involved in their treatment, the better the outcomes and the lower the costs.

Yet there’s a fine line between helpful and annoying.

For example, a health insurance company has a lot of engagement and outreach opportunities. Consider the basic process, which could span over days or months that a potential customer goes through when s/he is trying to get a quote for insurance:

  • Online searching for companies and/or doctors and/or procedures;

  • Reviewing social media channels for family, friends and other online reviews;

  • Discussing/narrowing options down with an agent/broker;

  • Calling the call center for further information; and

  • Buying policy online or phone.

If you know that this person is interested, how do you help move them faster along the process so s/he decided to buy the “right” and “best” policy? Would showing more third-party reviews in the social media feed help? Or would that be off-putting to the patient, but welcomed by the caregiver? What about those potential customers who are looking at your competition, but you know your policy is more comprehensive or better than theirs?

When we look at this persona’s customer journey, the purchase of health insurance could be one component. Another could be the various touchpoints after s/he buys insurance and the departments that can now reach out to the person - from marketing to social media networks to physicians to billing to customer service - about a plethora of topics. There could be thousands of touchpoints, such as in-person, calls or texts, mailings, brochures, emails and advertising.

These are only a couple of the kinds of questions that a customer journey would answer and analyze. Others may include if there’s overlap between or among the personas and where customers get frustrated in the process and stop (i.e., pain points/friction).  

Are the frustrations occurring because the content isn’t clear about the process? Is the content verbose and full of jargon? Does it explicitly explain the process or are there important steps (or papers needed) that aren’t mentioned? Does the functionality work on mobile devices? What about ADA compliance? How does the page rank from an SEO perspective?

This process typically takes 1-2 weeks to develop no more than four customer journeys at a time. There’s a lot of information gathering and processing to go through to provide clients with our recommendations.

After we develop the customer journeys, clients are usually surprised by:

  1. the numerous touch points between the company and its potential or current customers;
  2. how much overlap occurs between and among personas; and
  3. the available opportunities to improve relationships.

While some clients may not have the time apply the recommendations, others choose to engage with to execute on some of these tactics. Since we’ve been working with clients throughout the process, there’s a very short (or non-existent) timeframe for us to start implementing and seeing results.

Next, we’ll focus on the process of optimizing and testing of the customer journeys.

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