Enabling professional services through customer portals

Nick Caffentzis

As a leader in today’s healthcare industry you are under greater pressure than ever to be productive. You are faced with challenges to improve quality, access to care, and reduce cost in the process.  Basically, to deliver more with less.  And this applies not just to the way you work, but to the tools and systems you use to do your work – as well as the people you interact with to keep your systems running.

As the marketing leader for our professional services teams, I’m constantly looking for insights into what you look for from your service providers.  And what I hear most often can be summarized as follows.
Effective professional services must meet a number of key requirements:

  • Improve my business processes, rather than continue business as usual
  • Demonstrate measurable benefits and ROI for new solutions
  • Enable my organization to deliver better care
  • Facilitate ease of use, understanding and adoption

While all these are areas where we can and do focus, the last requirement is one where I think changes in the digital world create challenges, but also offers us all great opportunity.   Customer touch points continue to proliferate, making it difficult for both your organization and ours to maintain consistency and interconnection across channels. According to a Forrester blog, 67% of consumers use Web self-service to find the answers to their issues or questions.1

So with these changes occurring and with an opportunity to help you more, our company invested in a unified customer portal. As we designed it, we did a lot of research (hey, I’m a marketing guy!) to find out what was working in the marketplace.

Some best practices for customer portals:

  • Make it easy to find and accessible to all: If you can’t locate it easily, then functionally, it does not exist. And accessible means support for a variety of browsers and for people with disabilities.
  • Make it easy to use: Keep the design simple and make sure key content is most prominent
  • Design for a personalized experience: Remember that “one size does not fit all” and minimize the need for users to re-enter information. Use personalized greetings where possible
  • Optimize continuously based on measureable feedback: Actively solicit input, pilot and test enhancements and monitor changes
  • Enable interactive communities: People want to interact with others to share their knowledge and learn from others to solve their problems

We are constantly striving to improve our service organization and you tell us it is improving.  Our priority remains enhancing relationships with you, our customer, and it starts with training our employees and giving them tools to ensure every one of your interactions is a positive experience.

How are we doing? I’d love to hear what you think.


1 Kate Leggett, “Forrester’s Top Trends for Customer Service in 2014,” Forrester Research, Inc., Jan. 13, 2014, http://blogs.forrester.com/kate_leggett/14-01-13-forresters_top_trends_for_customer_ service_in_2014.


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