In a digital world, customer empathy is the best medicine

The last 6 months have shown us all, not least those in the healthcare industry, just how quickly the best laid plans can be swept asideWith the world moving faster than evermany companies had to pause to catch their breath, re-evaluate what is important, and decide how to do business in the future. 

Digital Experience

Charlie Boon

Strategist at Omobono with an interest in behavioural science and effectiveness.

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Emerging from the first wave of the pandemic with a healthy bottom line is one thing, but the changes businesses need to make to tackle the next wave will be crucial.  

Now is the time to take a look at the ways in which your customers’ world has changed, to re-evaluate your customer experience and ask: ‘What do they expect of healthcare now?’  

According to Bridget van Kranlingen, IBM’s GBS leader, “The last best experience that anyone has anywhere, becomes the minimum expectation for the experience they want everywhere.” And, just as lockdown proved companies could rapidly adopt new technologies, scaling up their remote working capabilities, improving their delivery times, adding better, faster online systems and access to their traditional modes of contact, consumers and customers came to expect this, across the board. 

As companies meet these needs, customer expectations rise to match, and surpass their latest offerings. We go back time and again to our favourite café or restaurant because they remember our name, and know what we like to eat. We demand next day delivery, and are frustrated if we have to wait longer than 72 hours for a parcel being shipped from another continent. Why? Because we’re all used to the convenience of a guaranteed next-day service from Amazon prime.  

A company’s digital customer experience is just as important. A bad online experience has real-world consequences, especially in the healthcare sector. Take the recent Covid testing roll-out. The expectation of a quick, easy process accessible to all was quickly replaced with frustrated users declaring the service a failure, only adding to the problem by clogging the system with unnecessary calls to NHS hotlines, and ultimately hampering the delivery of an essential service to those most in need – real patients, with real symptoms. 

Not only does this highlight the need to know what your customers really want from their digital experience, it also shows how having the right tools, processes and back-ups in place can help meet and maintain those expectations. Just imagine how frustrating a square rolling pin or cutlery made out of rope would be. The same can be said of your digital experience. Staying relevant is as important as being up to speed.  

Finally, think of your own personal brand favourites. Why are they your favourites? Maybe it’s the quality of the product or the service, maybe it’s simply the most convenient option. But most likely, underneath these reasons, it is because you feel like they ‘understand you’. You feel like you are ‘part of the family’. You feel ‘good’ about those companies, and their offerings. This highlights another important consideration: empathy. 

Being able to understand and share in your customers experiences is an invaluable tool to unlocking insights and opportunity for businesses, especially within the healthcare space, where trust and reliability are always top of mind. 

From setting expectations, to staying relevant and being empathetic, healthcare companies can take a number of small steps to help ride out this next wave, with a clearly defined digital experience in place.  

Our philosophy is all about taking those first small steps towards big results. Make the first move towards creating an outstanding digital customer experience.  

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