Understanding Customer Experience at Diameter Health
Vice President of Customer Experience, Diameter Health
My 11-year old daughter is quick to tell people that my husband “creates the brand for a company that puts internet on airplanes.”
Fully knowing where this is going, I ask, “And what does Mom do?”
“I don’t know,” she responds. “Something with sick people?” she adds hopefully.
Eleven years living with me working full-time in healthcare IT and I am still explaining to my daughter what I do. Come to think of it, I’ve been trying to explain what I do to my college roommate for the past twenty years … and she’s a dermatologist.
Here’s how that conversation usually goes: “I work in healthcare IT, remember?” I tell her. Followed by, “Do you know what IT stands for?”
“Computers,” she shrugs.
“Yes, computers. Information technology to be exact, but yes, computers. Although in my case, I work with information that’s in the computers. It’s called data. My company cleans data. Patient data. For doctors and nurses and other people who take care of patients.
By now, her eyes have glassed over and I’ve lost her – again. And I hadn’t even begun to explain what I do in my job.
My Job: The Happy Interaction Between People and Product
As you can tell by my title, I’m responsible for Customer Experience for a company in a healthcare industry niche – data refinement. That’s the easy part to explain. The harder part, is explaining in detail what I do and why it matters.
Generally, I just tell people that I address the customer’s experience after they become a customer, or everything after the sale; but the shrewd inquisitor frequently wants to hear more.
Parsing the term, “customer experience,” may be helpful. The customer part is easy; a customer is a “person or organization that buys goods or services from a store or business,” while experience is defined as “practical contact with and observation of facts or events.” Combined, customer experience encompasses the totality of customer interactions with the product and the services that a company offers. One important characteristic to note is that a successful customer experience is generally not a one-sided endeavor but a series of dyadic touches consisting of need, request, validation of need, payment, trust, instruction, delivery, acceptance, communication and evolution.
I also think pictures help:
Customer experience is the practice of designing products/interactions with a focus on the quality and thoughtfulness of the user experience. Every touchpoint of the customer’s interaction with products/services is designed to deliver experiences based on the brand’s promise. My goal is to implement transparent, efficient, repeatable and owned processes so employees are productive, customers come to know “what to expect,” and Diameter Health continually measures and improves. I also want to ensure we are engaging our customers both at the frontlines and with the C-Level through relevant dialogue to minimize unwelcome surprises, develop strong relationships across the organizations, and identify opportunities for mutual growth.
The fact that I deliver customer experience in healthcare requires that I am invested in and aware of the end product: care delivery. From there, I need insight and sensitivity to work upstream to understand care givers, their workflow, and what they need to make clinical and ethical decisions. I am not a clinician myself, so I do not have a full grasp of the ways clinicians’ minds work to filter, pull and transform data into the information necessary to best care for their patients. But I can be driven to give them what they ask for: refined and relevant data.
In healthcare, the use of data impacts patients from the quality of care they receive to the fees they are charged. As Rakesh Mathews, Program Manager at Healthshare Exchange (HSX) of Southeastern Pennsylvania explains, “It is a very critical place to be in, when you have customers to take care of, the vendors you use to ‘keep the customer satisfied’ need to deliver all the time. There is a very small margin for error or poor performance.”
Eating an Elephant: A Commitment to Our Customers
Driving customer experience in technology, specifically via innovative software, is rife with idiosyncrasies. Software development, installation, testing and maintenance requires transparency, coordination and change management which in turn necessitates relationship development and collaborative growth as customer and vendor environments evolve. Unlike the sale of off-the-shelf software, working with Diameter Health involves preparation, education, implementation, testing, support and, eventually, upgrades. Ideally there is also feedback and partnership dialogue around new features and business or research study opportunities.
Addressing the customer experience is a strategic, whole company commitment similar to eating an elephant when you’re on Weight Watchers. Measure. Eat one bite at a time. Track points for the day. Ensure you are within your points for the week. Measure again. If you see improvement, keep it up. If you see decline, identify, thoughtfully research and adjust.
Well, I’m not sure my 11-year-old would find this an easy-to-understand explanation of my job, but I hope you did. I welcome your feedback and look forward to starting a conversation about my role, roles like mine, or, better yet, how our roles – yours and mine – may best work together. Reach out to me at Bonny Roberts.