Delighting Customers Starts With Knowing Them
The advice for creating better customer experience seems endless these days, but there’s one thing everyone agrees on:
If you really want to please your customers, you have to know them.
Surprisingly, 90% of businesses have no idea what their customers want, which can make CX strategy a little like throwing a dart in the dark. Exceptional experiences, both digital and offline, are rooted in a comprehensive understanding of customers. The businesses that are able to turn customer experience into a differentiator are the ones who take the time to learn about the people buying their products.
One of Liferay’s partners, Dunn Solutions, recently sent us an incredible example of how much you can do when you know the audience you’re selling your products to. It’s an anonymous healthcare case study from a diagnostic lab, but there are still plenty of lessons to be gleaned about how to tailor experiences for a specific audience.
Customer Experience Is About Keeping Promises
One way to think of quality customer experience is delivering on a promise you made to a customer. In other words, a customer is willing to give up time or money to a business that offers something they want, and then actually delivers it.
In the case of this anonymous diagnostic lab, the team decided that it wanted to make the testing process easier for its patients with chronic gastrointestinal (GI) issues. The lab team already knew that this particular group of patients had to go through multiple rounds of tests, requiring repeated trips to doctors’ offices over long periods of time. The promise they made was simple: they would create a new testing process that would be easier and more comfortable for patients.
As it turned out, implementing this promise took much more than one solution.
Customer Experience Doesn’t Stop at Product Design
The lab started by creating a new kind of GI Diagnostic Testing Kit. This allowed patients to take the test at home and mail in the results. In addition, it combined multiple tests into one, saving time and effort for patients.
Their goal was to make testing easier, so problem solved, right? Not exactly.
When the team at the lab started figuring out the details of distributing this product, they realized something. Even after patients received their kits, they would need more information. Where were they supposed to drop off the kits? How long would it be until they received their results? How could they be sure their tests weren’t mixed up with someone else’s or lost in the mail?
Their GI patients would need a portal that let them track their test results and gave them other important information, like drop-off locations. Doctors and lab technicians would also need to access the portal to input all of this information, as well as review the test results for their own use.
Instead of settling for a minimal customer portal, the lab team decided to launch a one-stop site that everyone could access. This meant that they had to research the needs of three separate user groups and design a solution that balanced them all.
The lab team got the project done by doing three key things differently, things that every business has heard before, but may need to look at in a new way.
#1: They Solved a Real Problem
When you start with something that people are struggling with, you have the opportunity to really make their lives better. The new product and site experience significantly improve patients' lives and health. By focusing on eliminating struggles, businesses can ensure they’re creating valuable, positive experiences.
In this case, the lab gained an advantage by narrowing its focus to patients who were going through GI diagnostic testing. This group of patients has a specific set of needs, such as avoiding travel, that might not resonate with other groups. That’s okay. This is the point of tailoring experiences — you get to create something unique for one kind of person, something they’ll never get from a more general service.
#2: They Looked Past the Purchase Point
The lab didn’t stop at creating a product, or even at creating a portal for patients. A crucial part of the experience was ensuring that test results could be tracked and released to patients as quickly as possible. This meant giving access to doctors and lab technicians, in a way that encouraged them to use it.
Instead of making doctors create a new login, for instance, the team allowed them to sign in with their National Provider Identification number. This eliminated a potential barrier (doctors forgetting their login information) to delivering on the customer promise of improving the testing process for patients.
#3: They Considered Every Angle
Since doctors and lab staff had to access the site anyway, the lab team also looked for ways the site could improve their workload. They added a feature that allows doctors to send the tests to their patients without filling out any paper forms, and they created a way to tag every test with patient data so that lab technicians didn’t need to worry about mixing up results (which often happened with the old system). Not only were processes made faster, they were now more accurate, leading to improved performance all around.
By easing the experience for everyone, the new portal boosts business agility, as well as creates loyalty from all users. This is crucial for the success of the project, because if doctors or lab staff refused to use the new site, the diagnostic lab would be unable to follow through on the promise it made to its customers.
We often hear the same advice repeated for improving customer experience, but sometimes you need to look at it in a new way. When viewed from the perspective of keeping a promise, businesses can step away from focusing on a product or site, and think about what needs to change throughout the entire organization. There’s no point in marketing your great new product if you can’t consistently back it up with solid performance. For this project, the lab was able to focus intently on one key type of customer and turn that into a true competitive advantage.