March 28, 2019 | Layne Levine

The Common Denominator in the Digital Age: Customer Experience

Summary: The healthcare industry is taking a page from retail and prioritizing the needs and preferences of consumers. In healthcare, the consumer is the patient and the competition is getting fierce.

While digital transformation may increase efficiency and save money, it’s really about investing in the most critical area of your business—customer experience (CX). CX is much more than a buzz word—it has become a key point of differentiation among businesses across industries—and rightfully so.

Having the privilege of working closely with brands in a variety of industries—Windstream Enterprise has become intimately familiar with their specific challenges. We recently had the opportunity to attend two of the largest events in the retail and healthcare industries:

  • NRF “Retail’s Big Show,” hosted by the National Retail Federation
  • HIMSS19 Global Conference & Exhibition, hosted by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society

Digital technology’s transforming each industry’s approach to the CX and customer journey

Prioritizing the customer journey

What’s most fascinating is how digital technology is transforming each industry’s approach to the customer journey. The retail industry is something most of us have seen and experienced first-hand with the domination of e-commerce giants like Amazon and the rise of mobile retail trends.

The healthcare industry is taking a page from retail, making a concerted effort to prioritize the needs and preferences of consumers. In healthcare, the consumer is the patient and the competition is getting fierce in this market. The patient experience (PX) is now a primary focus for healthcare providers of all sizes.

We’re seeing parallels between these two key markets, with the common denominator being an intense focus on what the CX in the digital age should look like. Below are three CX areas we can expect to see amplified in 2019.

  1. Omnichannel. A deep focus will be devoted to catering to the needs of customers and that means having the information they need and want available in the ways that are most convenient to them. Digital and physical touchpoints will need to work together flawlessly. The in-person experience must align with the online experience. Whether customer interactions are via phone, web, chat, social media or mobile app—to access support, appointment scheduling, records and purchase/payment history—everything needs to be fully integrated. According to the Aberdeen Group, companies with the strongest omni-channel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, so the value of investments in this area cannot be overstated.
  1. AI and Machine Learning. Artificial intelligence (AI) is setting the stage to take CX to the next level by automating the analysis of disparate data points to create more meaningful and actionable information. AI enables progressive organizations of all kinds to automate and personalize CX in creative new ways. Companies willing to leverage machine learning also have the potential to gain a greater understanding of customer behavior and patterns—which can give them a leg up against competition. With such an enormous amount of data available, it will come down to each organization’s ability to efficiently collect, process, and analyze that data to maximize the value that can be derived from it—for customers and all those who serve them.
  1. Personalization. There is a clear trend towards personalization. Not only do retailers and healthcare providers have access to more personal information—customers and patients now expect a personalized experience. Despite the fact that some consumers may be wary about the amount of personally identifiable information (PII) stored in systems beyond their direct control, they still expect to have promotions, discounts, rewards and products tailored to their specific needs—not to mention, personalized service and interactions.

It doesn’t matter what kind of business you’re in—improving CX is the key to increasing retention, satisfaction and revenue growth in the digital age. To that end, maintaining security, resiliency and connectivity are also musts. The future of digital transformation looks bright but will require investments in the right digital systems and initiatives to continuously enhance the full lifecycle of the customer journey.

Key takeaway: No matter what business you’re in—improving CX is the key to increasing retention, satisfaction and revenue growth in the digital age.
President of Enterprise

Layne Levine

Layne is responsible for sales, financial performance, marketing for the company’s enterprise, mid-market, and commercial markets. He also oversees the company’s Channel Program.