Connected Strategy – Pathways that Lead to Improved Customer Connections

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In their recent book titled, “Connected Strategy: Building Continuous Customer Relationships for Competitive Advantage”, authors Nicolaj Siggelkow and Christian Terwiesch describe four pathways that lead to improved customer connections; respond-to-desire, curated offering, coach behavior, and automatic execution—all of which, according to “Connected Strategytransform episodic customer interactions into long-term customer relationships. 

Turning episodic interactions into long-term relationships is exactly what happens at successful physician practices across the country.   Success has everything to do with building relationships – it always has been, and it always will be — it’s about the relationship between the care team and the patient.  Please know, when I refer to the care TEAM, I’m referring to everybody within the office; from the appointment scheduler, to the back-office billing clerk, to the LPNs/MAs/RNs to the receptionist and to the cleaning crew — everybody.  In their own unique way, through their unique contributions, every member of the team ultimately supports the physician and other clinical decision makers in taking care of the patient.

In “Connected Strategy” there is much written about using technology to stay connected to the customer/patient.  Not that most physician practices couldn’t do a better job of deploying effective technology to stay better connected with their patients, such as; easy to navigate patient portals, smart phone apps, chronic disease management wearablesand the like, we’ll explore more of those technology opportunities in upcoming Thinking Thursdays TIPs.  For today,  I wanted to look at the importance of having your team strategically connected.  What do I mean by strategically connected?  Having each member of your team interact with every patient, exhibiting behavior and displaying a demeanor that absolutely reflects the core values of the organization.  When that happens, patients feel compassion and actually experience a different, very special type of connection.

As I read about taking episodic customer interactions and transforming them into long-term customer relationships in Connected Strategy“, it occurred to me physician practices have been doing exactly that for decades, if not centuries, without technology.   At MedicalGPS we regularly examine the key touch points of the patient experience and we consistently find that there is NOT an unimportant touch point within the patient experience.  Everybody’s contribution is important, and any given member of your team can make or break the patient experience.

If you’re reading this article chances are you’ve been in healthcare long enough to know that the patient-provider encounter has the highest correlation to patient loyalty.  Check out the other touch points in the graphic below, notice all the touch points have at least a moderate correlation to overall patient advocacy loyalty, which means, EVERY touch point is important.  Patients, in today’s world are indeed consumers, and consumers in today’s world expect a lot from your team members and demand excellence at every turn.  Physician practices that demonstrate a customer-centered approach, fully understanding that every team member plays an important role, increase their chances of thriving in this rapidly changing healthcare environment.

If you’re ever interested in looking at the relationship of a particular key touch point and how that key touch point correlates to patient loyalty for YOUR practice, below is the how-to, using M3-Patient Experience® and Excel.
  1. Login to M3-Patient Experience
  2. Click “Reporting”
  3. Click “Detailed Results”
  4. Select “Year-to-Date” as the date range
  5. Click the button toward the top of the page that reads, “Export Numeric to Excel”
When the excel spreadsheet downloads, save it to your desktop or wherever you normally save a downloaded file.  Please know that  “Detailed Results” will contain patient names, patient email addresses and other PHI, so please take the necessary precautions just as you would with any other PHI sensitive document or file.
After you have the excel spreadsheet saved and opened, use the excel function named, CORREL to calculate the correlation between two questions from your practice’s M3 questionnaire.
In the screen print below the correlation between the Receptionist Helpful question (column X) and the Recommend to Family & Friends question (column AD) is shown in cell AG 2.  For the particular client used in this example the correlation between Receptionist Helpful and Recommend comes in at .32, a moderate correlation.    The Recommend to Family and Friends question is a very good indicator of patient loyalty, so, use any other key touch point question to see how it relates to the Recommend question. 
While the statistical term of “moderate” is indeed how this relationship is described in statistical terms, please know a “moderate” relationship matters, and in this instance, the receptionists at this practice can have a huge impact on how patients view the practice and ultimately on the overall level of patient loyalty. 
Use the correlation technique described above to show your team members just how very important they are to the overall health of the practice, and how they personally impact the patient experience.  



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