“Welcome to America’s customer service war”

Ed Cotton:

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to America’s customer service war. 

This is a war that’s been going on for years and there are various root causes.

1. Companies have cut service down to the bone.

2. They don’t pay good salaries for front line service positions

3. For many, benefits and pensions have been cut or don’t exist, especially in airlines

4. Consumers have gotten used to self-service technology that provides rapid response

5. Outsourcing has ended up being a huge cost saver, but has ended up frustrating consumers

6. Service level employees don’t get the respect they deserve from the top and they have no pride in their job

7. Customers have no rules to go by and therefore go for the lowest common denominator- rage…

While genius brand communicators try hard to create breakthrough ideas in an attention challenged world, if their work and vision can’t be supported on the front line, what’s the point?

Exactly. No further comment necessary.

Experience trumps content

Jon Goldman writes a post at Mashable about why social experience trumps content on the web. It has nothing to do with healthcare but it started me thinking about experience vs content; specifically why patients choose a lesser-quality provider for a healthcare service. The Cleveland Clinic isn’t the only hospital in Cleveland.

That’s an extreme example. Not every city has such a prominent, nationally recognized healthcare provider. But decisions like the ones Clevelanders make when they choose a non-Cleveland Clinic facility play out all around the country. Patients routinely choose the number two or three best provider for their healthcare needs.

Why?

Maybe they don’t have a choice; their insurance plan decides for them. Or a patient leaves the decision to a doctor. Or: patients choose experience over content.

The experience of the visit (location of the facility, decor, pleasantness of support staff and physicians, familiarity, etc.) trumps content (published quality metrics and rankings).

Goldman writes, “user experience becomes the key to locking onto and growing a real, loyal audience.” That’s the case in healthcare, too.

While it is true that more patients are beginning to care about finding the best provider as defined by published, comparable data, the reality is that the overall dominating quality metric in the mind of most patients is how the experience makes them feel. 

PSFK’s Future of Health Report

PSFK’s Future of Health Report details 15 trends that will impact health and wellness around the world. Simple advances such as off-the-grid energy and the introduction of gaming into healthcare service offerings sit alongside more future-forward developments such as bio-medical printing. It is our hope that this report will inspire your thinking and lead to services, applications and technologies that will allow for more available, quality healthcare.

PSFK’s Future of Health Report

This nugget in a WSJ Health Blog post on wellness programs caught my eye:

Programs to help workers stop smoking or lose weight aren’t likely to produce lasting results unless there are broader changes to the work environment– such as an end to the plate of muffins at meetings and remodeled, more appealing stairwells.

More appealing stairwells. I love that.

I’ve been in very few stairwells at hospitals (or anywhere for that matter) that I would consider “appealing.” It’s one of those “throw away” design elements.

I’m not going to argue that beautiful stairwells are going to make the workforce healthy, though as part of an entire wellness campaign (like getting rid of the muffins at meetings) it would contribute.

Maybe use the stairwells as a gallery to display art? Or a hidden place to give out coffee gift cards to those who pass by? Or make a piano?

This is my favorite kind of design–that “it’s right in front me, why didn’t I think of that?” element.