11 Jan delivering wow! – part 2
Delivering WOW – Part 2.
I have been on the industry side of medicine for a decade. In that time I have observed diagnostic and therapeutic businesses from the inside out, and the outside in.
From my perspective, many of the businesses say the focus on customer service, but oftentimes the organization isn’t committed to investing the people, process, and technology to actually deliver on that goal.
In early 2018 I was about 45 days into a new role when the CEO of the company approached me during a trade show later in the evening. I was amongst our peers. The CEO asked me point blank,“You are the new guy. What do you think is our companies biggest challenge?”
Like most employees, you know the best way to respond is to recite what you heard from leadership. It is the best way to stay employed. So I did. The CEO smiled and responded with,“No. I don’t want you to tell me what I think, I want to know your honest perspective.”
My mind quickly went to that moment in the movie Jerry McGuire. This was my moment. I can either speak my truth or I can be safe and ensure I still collect a paycheck.
I took a deep breath. I paused. I looked him straight in the eyes. I responded. This is what I said,“The company has shit the bed with its customers. We haven’t done the work to ensure we have met the needs of our customers to enable their wants. We haven’t loved them. We visit when something breaks, but we don’t visit them when everything works.”
As you can imagine, there was a long pause. I could feel the tension in the air as my peers’ jaws dropped with what just came out of my mouth. Thankfully he responded by reaching out for my hand, shaking it, and thanking me for telling him the truth. He told me my role from that point forward was to always be that frank with him.
And to solve this problem.
This is a significant problem with most medical companies. There is a laser focus on opportunities, deals, sales, and winning. Metrics that are defined in the here and now, not over the course of the relationship with the customer. Often it is a challenge delegated for the service organization to try and manage.
My GM saw the opportunity and was willing to invest in the strategy to try and focus on our current customers.
To deliver WOW!
He knew that it is easier to keep a customer than to try and gain new customers. He was brilliant in understanding that our organization needed to retain our customers, keep our market position, and if we were successful, that WOW’d customers would help us amplify the company, our technology, and our ability to grow our share within the market.
We set out on a journey to create an organization that was focused on meeting the needs of the customers to enable their wants. To deliver WOW!
Introducing customer experience directors.
An organization that was built by customers for customers.
What does that mean?
We were able to recruit and hire talent that came from our customers.
Individuals that understand how customers defined success within their business. How customers thought about their patients, their physicians, their technology, and how customers managed the balancing act of having one foot in fee for service while the other foot was in a fee for value world.
As with any change, it takes a lot of time and effort to manage the cross-functional alignment, establish a new process, and to ensure that everyone understands their roles. It was challenging.
Yet it was beautiful.
To have a team that came from customers, that spent their time living with customers, and that had a direct link back to our commercial organization to deliver insights on how we could best serve our customers.
Our customer experience directors became linchpins.
They didn’t have to know everything, they just needed to understand the challenge from the customer perspective, know who to speak to within the organization, and could then put a plan in place to deliver that WOW to the customer.
WOW to customers change over time.
In the beginning, it is about implementation, getting the team up to speed, and caring for patients as quickly and safely as possible.
In the middle, it is about ensuring that the equipment is continuing to be used as it was intended. Does everyone know how to use all of the software, the shortcuts, the special functionality? Have there been changes within the organization and do people need a refresh due to new employees? Is there an optimal way to become more efficient? Are they able to connect with others using the technology and able to share their experiences?
Towards the later years, has their shared experience been one of WOW, so now we can enable their wants in acquiring the next generation of technology?
While it seems like a herculean endeavor, it truly comes down to a few simple tasks. Tasks that any company can perform:
- See your customers – have them define their ‘why’ to you
- Listen to your customers – understand how they define their success
- Communicate early and often with your customers
- Own your actions – a high say/do ratio
- Connect – enable customers to speak to other customers as well as company resources that align with their own success metrics
- Choice – your customers determine the speed at which the world moves
All companies, large or small, have the ability to deliver WOW.
The words we use, build our world.
A world defined by our customers.
Their words need to become ours.
We deliver WOW one customer at a time.
WOW! at the N of 1.