For those people who have a tough time knowing whether an experience was good or bad, may I share an example with you?
Flying. Bad experience. ‘Nuff’ said. The blog could end here. Healthcare reform could end here. Neither one will happen.
Most airlines offer two types of seats; first class and no first class – steerage.
First class exists for only one reason—to let the rest of us know that we are not in it. Airlines hang a shower curtain between first class and coach. They do this to make it clear to those of us in the bleacher seats that everything beyond the curtain is off limits. But they do make passengers flying coach walk through first class to get to their seats. Now each coach passenger has a barometer to measure just how bad their experience is.
“Don’t even think about storing your bag there,” she notifies me. “This bin is reserved for our first-class passengers!” Blocking me with her body, the flight attendant turns to the person in seat 2A and asks “May I hang your jacket, sir? Would you mind if I refill your Crown Royal? Be sure to leave room for dinner—we’re serving steak and lobster tonight.” I wished I had purchased the thirty-dollar bag of Gummy Bears.
The bad experiences of coach class are particularly bad simply because first-class exists. If there were no first class, flying coach would not be so a bad because we all suffer together. Southwest Airlines figured that out. They do not offer first class. And despite that, they are always among the highest rated airlines for customer experience.
Healthcare patient and customer experience. How good was yours? The scoring is binary —a 1 or a 0. You either sat in first class or you sat behind the shower curtain. Did your healthcare experience compare to having surf-and-turf, or did it make you wish you had bought the Gummy Bears?
Bad customer experiences are not insoluble. Very little is. For most companies, bad customer experiences are simply a failure of imagination. For providers, their failure of imagination comes at a high price: poor care management, lost patient acquisition, and poor patient retention. And if that is not a real mess, it will do until the real mess comes along.
Just so you know, none of us likes flying coach.