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Healthcare Customer Service and Retention Concepts and Relevant Data Don’t Have to be Specific to Healthcare

By Clive Riddle, December 6, 2012

There can be a mindset within the healthcare industry that management of most core business functions need to be very healthcare specific in order to be relevant. Of course there is truth to that, but sometimes, those within the industry can use healthcare specificity as an excuse for performance levels that might not otherwise be acceptable in other service industries, or as blinders to ignore relevant knowledge and benchmarks that would undoubtedly prove beneficial to the healthcare organization. 

With this in mind, we call your attention to a study just conducted by Accenture, addressing customer service and marketing across ten service industries (including wireless phone, internet service, life insurance and retailers, but not including healthcare). The annual Accenture Global Consumer Survey  pulled together results from 12,000 consumers from 32 countries including the U.S. 

Here are some findings that should have applicability to healthcare, even if the data wasn’t healthcare specific:

  • One in five consumers switched companies they buy from; 85% of consumers say the companies could have done something differently to prevent them from switching
  • 67% pointed to having their customer service issue resolved during their first contact as a factor in switching
  • 54% might have remained loyal if they had been rewarded for doing more business with their provider
  • Broken promises are a top area of frustration for consumers, according to the survey: 63% indicate it’s extremely frustrating when a company delivers a different customer service experience from what it promised upfront
  • 78% of consumers say they are likely to switch providers when they encounter such broken promises
  • 65% are likely to switch when having to contact customer service multiple times for the same reason
  • 65% are likely to switch when dealing with unfriendly customer service agents
  • 61% are likely to switch when on hold for a long time when contacting customer service
  • 48% say that, compared to 12 months ago, they have higher expectations of getting specialized treatment for being a “good” customer
  • 50% say it is extremely important for customer service people to know their history so they don’t have to repeat themselves each time they call
  • 31%  prefer companies that use information about them to make their experience more efficient from one step to the next; but only 24% said their service providers deliver tailored experiences 

Accenture found that, on average, consumers use various channels to learn about and select service providers, including:

  1. Word of mouth, relied upon by 79% of consumers
  2. Corporate websites, used by  71%
  3. Online sources such as expert review sites, news sites and product comparison sites, used by 63% 

Robert Wollan, global managing director of Accenture Sales & Customer Services tells us “the sobering reality is that ‘tried and true’ strategies for customer acquisition, loyalty and retention are struggling to keep pace with consumers who are perpetually in motion, more technologically savvy than ever, and increasingly unpredictable. The news this year is that customers want to be loyal but customer service often fails to meet their expectations. In the digital marketplace, companies must improve social listening capabilities and apply predictive analytics designed to quickly identify and respond to potential customer issues before problems arise.”

Reader Comments (1)

Thanks for sharing this info. Absolutely helpful! Cheers!

TMJ pennsylvania

October 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTMJ pennsylvania

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