In the list of excuses that senior executives of Healthcare companies give for why they choose not to implement a Customer Success strategy and enable it with technology, number one is the age-old excuse: “But I don’t have any access to my patient’s data!”
Unfortunately for that way of thinking, innovation in the Healthcare IT space has increased customer expectations—and customers, more than ever before, demand that their vendors align their service model and approach not only with the customer’s immediate success, but also with their customers’ customers: patients. As a result, many executives are facing an interesting dilemma: Do they implement Customer Success now, or wait until the market forces them into a cloud offering and everything that goes along with it? Do they push to have patient data integrated into a Customer Success Solution and face a compliance headache around the HIPAA regulations? Or do they give up on the dream of fully tracking patient data and aligning their service accordingly? And if they do introduce data, how do they explain it to their customers, who are rightfully concerned about their own data?
At Pulse 2017 we held for the first time a mini-summit for Healthcare IT, as well as numerous sessions for On-Premise companies facing this challenge exactly: how to roll out a Customer Success strategy that is effective without getting into compliance headaches and introducing patient data to the system. This question, by the way, applies not only to Healthcare companies but also to B2B companies in other highly-regulated industries like Financial Services, for example.
If there’s one thing everyone learned from these sessions, it’s this: You don’t need the data you think you need in order to achieve the results you want to achieve. Many Gainsight customers in the space figured out other interesting metrics to track, estimate, monitor, and act based on end-customer engagement—without the need to bring sensitive data in.
“The need for granular, patient-level data is often an excuse,” said one of the participants. “In reality, what drives action is the trend that can be identified across the patients. In order to measure SLA between scans, we don’t need private patient data, we can aggregate averages across segments and only extract that number—and still get all the info that we need. Very little creativity can save a whole lot of trouble”.
So what are these “creative” indicators one can track? Here are a few examples that were presented at Pulse:
Just ask them - Surveys have been one of the top-ranked KPIs for On-Prem and Healthcare companies. If you’re a vendor to Healthcare institutions, you know they are at least as concerned as you are about their data, and at least as interested as you are about understanding their own customers. As a result, their willingness to self-report and fill out surveys is higher. You can ask your customers about their own product adoption, ask about their feedback from customers, and ask about any key metric that you only have limited visibility to.
Maintenance Schedule - Some customers choose to create—based on segment and product line or customer type—an estimated schedule for maintenance/service activity. Especially in the field of Medical Devices, this schedule is used to determine when the product will need to be serviced if it’s used in full capacity. Missed service can then indicate lower utilization. Plus, this schedule can also serve to power an upsell playbook for additional services sales.
Clicks/Operations - Some companies have the ability to track the numbers of “clicks” (the number of activities or operations that a product runs) without actually having to track the data of the operation itself. A count for clicks/operations is a highly efficient way to have an extremely accurate measure for adoption and utilization without any need to introduce sensitive data sets.
Support Cases - While Customer Success is all about proactive outreach, sometimes the reactive response to support cases can indicate a lot about the customer health. We all know that many support cases indicate risk, but have you considered that zero support cases over a long period of time is a risk as well? Market-leaders often run an analysis to figure out what is the right “middle ground” around the expected number of support tickets and alert their CS team to any significant deviation from this number.
One-to-Many Engagement - Engaging with customers over email is usually a good way to tell how your brand and product are being received by them. Are they opening the emails you send them? Do they forward? Respond? Reopen? In addition, are they attending webinars? Are they active in your customer community? Tracking engagement with your outreach and your content requires no private or sensitive information, but it can be a useful leading indicator of how healthy your customers are.
High-touch (1-to-1) Engagement - Similarly, for your existing accounts, engagement on a personal basis means a lot—that’s also where subjective health scoring comes into play. Is the executive team attending the EBR you organized? Are they willing to serve as a reference or participate in your events?
Time to Value - Lastly, we all know that onboarding is the root of the Customer Experience. Quick time-to-value and a good onboarding experience typically solve the biggest problems before they start and encourage high-quality adoption throughout the customer’s lifetime. Creating a thoughtful, consistent onboarding playbook (potentially by segment) and tracking the process based on agreed milestones as part of a predetermined cadence will help surface any adoption issues early and provide visibility across the organization for any issues requiring response. As a result, any gaps can be addressed even before there’s a pressing need to discover them by analyzing more granular data.
These tactics aren’t just hypothetical. Healthcare companies including McKesson and Illumina are already using these in the real world with impressive results. Do you have other ideas for metrics and methods? I’d love to read them in the comments section below!