In the Forbes article This 15-Year-Old Absolutely Nails What ‘Patient Centered’ Is – And Isn’t, the author addresses patient satisfaction (or a lack thereof) in today’s hospitals. He shows the video of a 15 year old patient who discusses her complaints about her current inpatient stay and her suggestions to make it a better experience.
She talks about the need for sleep, the need to be a part of discussions about her care, and the desire to feel cared about as a person. A key quote is “I am a patient – and I need to be heard!”
Whether we’re working with our healthcare clients or those clients in other industries, this desire of customers to be heard can be overwhelming at times. The desire is often so strong because too many organizations are too deaf to the voice of the customer. Too many organizations strategize on what customers want instead of asking the customer. Too many leaders are focused on the product, service, or technical aspect of what they do that they lose sight of the people for whom they provide those services.
Too many hospitals preach customer care but haven’t taken the cultural approach to trying to embed the customer service mindset into every fabric of the organization – from hiring to training to processes to the facility to leadership modeling and internal communications.
They react to the complaints, they review the quarterly patient satisfaction survey results, but they don’t work to create a culture that encourages the ongoing engagement of the customer.
When you think of how to deliver a great customer experience, start with creating a culture of individuals and teams whose collective heart is focused on caring for its customers, and conveying that care for its customers.
Patient Satisfaction…from a Child’s Mouth to Our Ears.
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Isn’t Student Success, in the end, about getting a degree? If so, then why are some Universities and Community Colleges focused on relationship management? Account representatives are for professional sports organizations. But higher ed? Nah…
Well in the article TTU recommits to student success, Tennessee Tech University is noting the link between Student Success and relationship management. According to TTU’s Retention Services director, “The university is adding as many as a dozen professional advisers this spring. When the class of 2018 attends summer orientation, those advisers will help them register for their first semester and on, throughout their academic careers. One of the keys to retention is that students are going to feel more confident if they build a relationship with someone and have a clear path to their goal early in their college experience. That builds security and it shows that Tech really cares that you succeed here.”
This is about a University that has asked itself what drives Student Retention and Success? Part of the answer was having dedicated resources that are focused on getting to know students and develop relationships over time with those students so that needs are met, issues are addressed, goals are achieved, and progress toward success is made.
Educational organizations cannot create Student Success with a speech or by wishing that it happen. There must be a relationship development process designed that is an integral part of the strategy and includes dedicated resources. Relationship Management strategies in any organization typically include four key phases:
- Getting to Know the Student – Preferences, retention drivers, satisfaction, involvement levels, etc.
- Communicating with the Student – Setting up year-round Touch Point Plans to develop and nurture relationships with clients.
- Retaining the Student – Applying your knowledge of their retention drivers to address what would make them remain and succeed…or leave.
- Growing with the Student – Identifying and acting on ways to grow your relationship with them and continue it post-graduation.
Create a Student Success strategy that incorporates dedicated resources and relationship management.
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Many times when we address key customer retention strategies and customer retention success stories, the crux of what we’re saying is that you have to get to know the customer on more of a personal level. You need to build a relationship and not relegate yourself to viewing a customer as a prospect and selling to them as if you don’t even know them.
But this blog post is different. This time, I want you to envision yourself in a meeting at your business, and the meeting is all about customer retention and growth. Before you can develop a strategy, you have to ask yourself some key questions about your current state:
- Do you know why existing customers initially bought?
- Do you know why they would not return?
- Do you know who your customers view as your competitors?
- Do you know what differentiates you from your competitors in your customer’s mind?
- Do you know the differences in demographics, purchasing patterns, participation rates of clients who return every year v. those that don’t return?
- Do you know what internal operational factors impact those customer retention drivers?
- Do you know how you’re performing in those internal operational areas?
- Do you stay in contact (proactively) with customers, even when they’re not in your store, on your website, or contacting you directly?
- If so, are your proactive communications about you or personalized about them?
- In other words, do your proactive communications seek to learn more about them and educate them, or are they primarily pushing your products and services?
Before you embark on the next big strategy, do a self-scan. Find out what you know…or need to know first.
Ask yourself and those in your organization these 10 Key Customer Retention Evaluation Questions.
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