How to Deliver a Signature Customer Experience…and Why it Matters

Carina Edwards
Oct 29, 2014

 

Last week I was thrilled to speak at TSIA’s Technology Services World conference in Las Vegas (#TSW14). In a packed session of nearly 150 of my colleagues from across the technology industry, I shared our journey to revolutionize the Imprivata customer experience.

My talk focused on our great results, shared pitfalls to avoid and presented a repeatable framework for organizations to leverage as they tackle transformation initiatives. For healthcare organizations in particular, the Imprivata experience can be leveraged as they tackle their key transformation initiatives, spanning from patient engagement to lowering the cost of care, to transforming care delivery, all while meeting regulatory compliance requirements.

When I joined Imprivata in November 2012, our CEO told me it was my job to never lose a customer. This was a challenge I knew would not be easy, but it was one I embraced. Saying the words “never lose a customer” was the easy part, but having the executive commitment to transform the organization to achieve that goal was the secret sauce.

To begin our journey, we first had to define our vision. The result: “Deliver a signature customer experience to ensure we never lose a customer”.

Together with all of my peers on the executive team we defined what “signature” meant for us. For example, “signature” was being the first healthcare technology vendor to create a service-first culture focused on creating promoters across our customer base. To do this, we had to empower employees at all levels to do what’s right for the customer during every interaction. We had to arm our employees with the knowledge of every customer so that they had the history and ability to help them immediately. We also had to remove complexity and become easier to do business with to deliver amazing service.

If this sounds familiar, it should—healthcare organizations need to better engage with patients and bring their collective knowledge to every encounter. Without visioning their experience and tackling the obstacles in the way, this just won’t happen.

Once we defined what the “signature” customer experience should look like, we had to make some organizational changes and realign roles and responsibilities. We consolidated all customer-facing post-sales functions (including service, support, account management, and renewals) into one organization called Customer Experience. We then had to tackle what every organization is faced with – ensuring we have the right people, processes, and technology in place to achieve our goal.

Over the last two years, we have doubled the size of the organization, we have defined and redefined processes and implemented many new technology systems. During this process there were disagreements, organizational lines were blurred, and teams had to operate together cross-functionally toward the common goals of each customer.

This was not always easy, but what allowed us to achieve our goals was executive commitment to transform the organization (top down), complete transparency of results (both good and bad), and the organizational belief and empowerment to achieve the vision (bottom up). Every member of the executive had to “walk the walk” and “talk the talk”. At points where alignment was not clear, we were open and worked collaboratively to define the issue and resolve it. With these commitments and tools in place prior to tackling your initiative, the rest will fall in line. Two years later I’m proud to say we have incredible customer retention rates, we’ve transformed our organization to be easier to do business with, and we have empowered our employees to deliver amazing service.

This framework can be repeated and can help other organizations transform their customer experience. If you are interested in discussing in more detail, I can be reached at cedwards@imprivata.com.