Quest Diagnostics: Empowering patients through experiences and information
Patients have more choice than ever before – in everything from their doctors to the type of lab work they get. To secure customer loyalty – and elevate the care journey – healthcare organizations must embrace the growing consumerization of healthcare and offer more personalized engagement. For Quest Diagnostics, that meant driving greater customer centricity across every touchpoint.
Achieving this goal meant focusing less on process design and more on designing experiences that positively impact moments that matter across the healthcare journey. To learn how Quest did just that, we interviewed Garry Clark, Vice President, Brand and Customer Experience.
Recognizing the individuality of each individual
Quest has four major customers: health systems, providers, insurers, and consumers. “That consumer encounters us in a few different ways,” Garry explains. “They could be a patient of a healthcare provider, a member of a health plan, an employee of a large employer, or a direct customer who orders their own tests. Any individual can encounter us across multiple paradigms at a single time, so it’s really important to understand what it means for a customer to interact with Quest.”
Realizing that each individual could represent one – or multiple – personas at any given time is crucial to putting the customer at the center. Garry adds, “People are radically different, with different motivations and needs. You do your best to understand what the common path is for most people and then recognize that you want to allow customization or personalization of a journey based on how any given individual wants to engage with a company.”
That’s why customer journeys play a key role in Quest’s efforts. They inform roadmaps and are embedded into the operating plan. Through CX councils, teams are brought together to understand what needs to be done and how they can prioritize the customer. Garry emphasizes, “We spend a lot of time ensuring that our customers’ needs are the key driving factor in the decisions we make collectively.”
Creating harmonized, seamless experiences
Quest is built upon a strong foundation of passion and commitment to patient care. A large part of the employee base has that patient mindset, and by helping people understand the roles they play in customers’ journeys, it becomes easier to reduce customers’ anxiety and deliver a better patient experience.
“We are one of the rare instances of a business that can’t go fully digital because we have to physically touch people,” Garry mentions. “There’s a lot of power to still having that personal connection and personal touch. We need to ensure that we make the whole process as easy as possible, but preserve the importance of that personal moment when someone is having a blood draw.”
And these moments truly matter. Through customer feedback, Quest hears daily about the team members who go above and beyond to deliver personalized experiences – whether that be celebrating a patient’s birthday or filling the room with pictures of their favorite things. “I’m constantly in awe of the passion, empathy, and professionalism that our frontline phlebotomists bring each and every day by treating every patient as a special person and recognizing them as an individual,” Garry conveys. “That’s why it’s so important for us to focus on making the rest of the experience really great for the patient, so phlebotomists can really focus on that patient care.”
Because customer perception is what really matters
Moving from an inside-out to an outside-in perspective was challenging because it required a big mindset shift. “The things we had valued as an organization and thought were important to customers didn’t necessarily reflect the reality of what they were seeking,” he remarks. “But we recognized that we have a lot to offer customers, we just have to frame it around why it matters to them. We have to understand the key drivers of choice for the customer are not what they’ve been in the past and now have to differentiate ourselves around the areas that do matter.”
“The perception or the true experience of the customer dictates ultimately how successful you’re going to be as a brand.”
And Qualtrics plays an important role in delivering that insight. Garry explains, “When we looked at our ability to understand customer needs, we had a lot of mature instruments, but they were broken up across different parts of the value chain.” Qualtrics enables Quest to understand the interplay between different parts of the journey and how people feel emotionally and rationally across that journey. “The unexpected insight is what’s powerful – when you start to uncover different patterns or interrelationships between various variables or attributes that wouldn’t be immediately obvious and might contradict some of the established norms or heuristics.”
Garry credits the partnership with Qualtrics for giving them “insight into the day-to-day experience of our customers and helping connect the dots across those journeys.” Now Quest can understand how customers feel throughout their entire journey, not just a point in time. “With a holistic view of those customer journeys, we can start to uncover those expected and unexpected insights to where we can make the experience better.”
Advice for driving a culture shift
People who interact with healthcare companies have expectations based on the experiences they have with other brands. “Healthcare is typically a laggard in the adoption of technology,” he notes. “But that’s also an opportunity. We can learn from others… regulated industries like banking, airlines, and their booking systems, retailers that have driven seamless experiences. What elements can we bring to healthcare to make it easier?”
Garry firmly believes there’s an incredible amount of value that can be unlocked by optimizing the customer experience. “But you never really know where to start until you have the tools in place to help uncover what matters most.” He recommends quantifying how the experience impacts customer attrition, retention, and loyalty, and then looking at how these translate to business value. He emphasizes, “Connecting the concepts of brand and customer experience to business value enables leaders to understand the opportunities and why we should want to invest in experience.”
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