I think it’s fair to say that the world around us changes at a rapid pace.  Across Ageing and Disability, the last few years have seen tremendous change that is starting to challenge even the most prepared groups.  Couple this with advancing technology, increased ethnic diversity and changing consumer expectations, the road ahead looks anything but stagnant.

At the core of all if this is the need to meet and exceed client expectations within a financially challenging environment. So essentially, do more, with less, faster, cheaper and better than everyone else.

An emerging topic amongst leaders is the focus on customer engagement and experience.  In every vertical, an engaged client is more likely to be satisfied, and has a higher propensity to refer someone else (the source of a significant portion of new clients).  So, is it possible to reach and engage existing and potential clients in other ways? When is it worth investing in client engagement programs?

The time is now… Taking a quick look at the provider landscape today reveals something that would not have been possible 10 years ago.  Smaller, leaner and consumer centric focused organisations are rising, leveraging an ongoing investment in technology coupled with the understanding that clients are increasingly more connected.  Something I hear a lot in response to the effectiveness of investing in digital client facing channels are: “Our clients are not online”.

While that may be true now (at large), behind every client are connected family members and advocates who, given the chance, are more than capable and have a desire interact with their provider digitally.  What we have seen, is that clients who are not online, interact with digital services, by proxy, through a family member or even support person.  This is happening today and is a lens that requires our focus.  Consider the frequent calls from family members, searching for updates.

A few things to ensure when considering a customer experience interface:

  • Simple yet powerful – any client facing tool must be intelligent, elegant, intuitive and powerful.  Offer something that will simplify your complex world for your clients and families.
  • Choose the right features – remember, it’s the client / family who are the primary target for this channel.  The initial features must be on your clients wish list of problems to solve.
  • Beautiful – there is nothing worse than showing “spreadsheet” views to users. Opt for summarised, yet powerful in context information that changes as their world changes. User adoption is heavily linked to the overall experience.
  • The right platform – invest in consumption based platforms, that grow and shrink as you do. Find an AGILE and flexible partner who will stay relevant as technology and consumer expectations change.
  • Remember your people – your staff champion your brand every day.  Ensure they are cornerstone to your engagement strategy.

Thinking about digital client engagement in a community support setting, goes far beyond a “portal” and “email marketing” approach.  Rich and intelligent experiences will leave your potential and existing clients / families with a vivid and positive memory of their interaction with you. One of the most valuable assets are your people in the field.  Empower them with simple yet intelligent tools that will curate a consistent and high calibre customer experience each time you interact and watch as that cascades throughout your operating communities.

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