2009 Healthcare Benchmark
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2009 Healthcare Benchmark

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2009 Healthcare BenchmarkOnline Customer Satisfaction: Key Driver of Success and Future Use of Healthcare Websites
December 1, 2009
by Larry Freed
President and CEO, ForeSee Results
© 2009 ForeSee Results Online Customer Satisfaction: Key Driver of Success and Future Use of Healthcare Websites
ForeSee Results 2009 Healthcare BenchmarkThe nation is galvanized by the healthcare debate. As armies on both sides of the dispute line up to do battle, those in the trenches at all kinds of private and public healthcare organizations struggle to simply carry on with what must be done to deliver the best care and information possible. After all, no matter what is decided about the future of healthcare in this country, the online channel represents a chance to increase efficiency and decrease costs in a manner that can have an immediate bottom-line impact. ForeSee Results uses the patented methodology of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) to measure customer satisfaction with dozens of online healthcare services, including four specific types of healthcare institutions: • Hospital websites • Health insurance websites • Government health information websites • Pharmaceutical websitesWhen measured using the ACSI methodology, online customer satisfaction is a proven predictor of fu-ture financial success, loyalty, recommendations, and even stock prices. The ForeSee Results Health-care Benchmark predicts the following specific future behaviors and attitudes: • Likelihood ...

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2009 Healthcare Benchmark Online Customer Satisfaction: Key Driver of Success and Future Use of Healthcare Websites
December 1, 2009
by Larry Freed President and CEO, ForeSee Results
© 2009 ForeSee Results
Online Customer Satisfaction: Key Driver of Success and Future Use of Healthcare Websites
ForeSee Results 2009 Healthcare Benchmark
The nation is galvanized by the healthcare debate. As armies on both sides of the dispute line up to do battle, those in the trenches at all kinds of private and public healthcare organizations struggle to simply carry on with what must be done to deliver the best care and information possible. After all, no matter what is decided about the future of healthcare in this country, the online channel represents a chance to increase eficiency and decrease costs in a manner that can have an immediate bottom-line impact.
ForeSee Results uses the patented methodology of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) to measure customer satisfaction with dozens of online healthcare services, including four speciic types of healthcare institutions:
• Hospital websites • Health insurance websites • Government health information websites • Pharmaceutical websites
When measured using the ACSI methodology, online customer satisfaction is a proven predictor of fu-ture inancial success, loyalty, recommendations, and even stock prices. The ForeSee Results Health-care Benchmark predicts the following speciic future behaviors and attitudes:
• Likelihood to Return:Relects customers’ propensity to return to the site, which provides an opportunity for companies to further engage customers online.
• Likelihood to Recommend:Shows how likely online visitors are to engage in positive word-of-mouth marketing by recommending the website to a friend, family member, or colleague.
• Likelihood to Use as a Primary Resource:Measures the degree to which customers turn to the website to answer questions rather than to more costly channels such as telephone call centers, staffed brick-and-mortar locations, mailed, and printed materials.
In spite of the daunting challenges and well-publicized national dissatisfaction with healthcare over-all, surely part of the solution can and should be using the web to provide customers with better qual-ity information and lower costs without compromising the quality of service. The web is represents a decisive opportunity for private- and public-sector healthcare organizations to address these critical public health issues with or without major legislation and reform. In this report, we’ll explore which healthcare industries are having the most success and impact online, which have the furthest to go, and which have the most to win from creating customer-centric website improvements. Online im-provements always have a reciprocal effect, saving costs, building brand, increasing loyalty, drawing new clientele, and amplifying proitability, which are even more critical and ultimately rewarding in a tough economy and in the midst of a very vigorous public debate.
www.ForeSeeResults.com
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Online Customer Satisfaction: Key Driver of Success and Future Use of Healthcare Websites
Key Findings
 • Government healthcare sites outperform all measured private-sector industries.In ag-gregate, government healthcare sites (79 on the benchmark’s 100-point scale) are performing better than any other category of healthcare site measured in the ForeSee Results benchmark. Pharmaceutical websites come in at a close second with an aggregate score of 78. Hospital web-sites score 73 in aggregate, and health insurance websites trail substantially, with an aggregate score of 64.
 • A satisFied online customer is a valuable, proFitable customer for healthcare organizations. Public image is only one reason why healthcare companies should be concerned with online cus-tomer satisfaction. Highly satisied online customers are signiicantly more likely to become repeat customers, purchase more services, use the website as a primary resource, and recommend both the company and the website. Because customers purchase additional services and recommend that their friends and colleagues do the same, improving the online experience leads to increased revenue and cost savings.
Survey Methodology
The ForeSee Results benchmark was conducted among nearly 40,000 respondents in October of 2009. The ForeSee Results healthcare benchmark includes dozens of organizations such as Bausch and Lomb, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Department of Health and Human Services,GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, the NIH, the National Cancer Institute, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,. The ForeSee Results Healthcare Benchmark specifically measures customer satisfaction with these organizations’ websites.
The data was analyzed using the proven online methodology of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which was developed at the University of Michigan by Professor Claes Fornell. For more than 15 years, the ACSI has been the only uniform, national, cross-industry measure of satisfaction with the quality of goods and services available in the United States.
A key feature of the ACSI methodology is its patented scientific approach to customer satisfaction measurement. ForeSee Results applies the ACSI methodology to the web to measure certain key elements of online satisfaction (such as site performance, navigation, etc.) and determines how these elements impact overall satisfaction and behavior.
Customer satisfaction, as measured using the proven ACSI methodology, is proven to have a direct impact on certain industry-specific future behaviors, such as likelihood to continue to use a company’s services, purchase more services online and offline, and to use the website as a primary channel for interaction with the organization.
The ACSI methodology is able to determine which website elements will have the greatest impact on satisfaction and result in desirable future behaviors — a critical distinction from other customer satisfaction ratings. This additional level of insight allows financial institutions to make website improvements that will have the greatest return on investment.
www.ForeSeeResults.com
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Online Customer Satisfaction: Key Driver of Success and Future Use of Healthcare Websites
Overall Satisfaction
In ForeSee Results survey of more than 40,000 consumers of health information and services at dozens of healthcare websites, satisfaction is an impressive 75 (a score of 80 or higher is generally considered excellent) on the benchmark’s 100-point scale. The healthcare benchmark is four percent higher than the ForeSee Results companywide benchmark (a measurement of nearly 600 websites across all major industries including retail, inancial services, business-to-business, e-commerce, and others) and rep-resents a strong standing for the healthcare industry overall.
Within the healthcare benchmark, government-based health websites are doing the best job satisfy-ing their website visitors.
80 78 76 74 72 70 68 66 64 62 60
75
Aggregate
2009 Healthcare Satisfaction Benchmark
79
Governm ent
78
Pharm aceuticals
73
Hos pitals
64
Ins urance
* Scores for health insurance websites are not included in the calculation for the overall healthcare aggregate satisfaction score.
Government
Government websites (with an aggregate score of 79 on the benchmark’s 100-point scale) were in-cluded as a subcategory of the ForeSee Results Healthcare Benchmark for the irst time this year, and scored the highest overall satisfaction of all four subcategories measured. Of the government agen-cies studied, scores ranged from 68 to 86, an eighteen point range from the lowest-scoring govern-ment health site to the highest.
The government healthcare benchmark includes websites like Health and Human Services, the Na-tional Cancer Institute, the National Library of Medicine, the Ofice of Women’s Health, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the White House Ofice of National Drug Policy.
www.ForeSeeResults.com
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Online Customer Satisfaction: Key Driver of Success and Future Use of Healthcare Websites
Pharmaceuticals
Pharmaceutical websites (with an aggregate score of 78) achieved the second highest score in the benchmark. The pharmaceutical category was also included for the irst time this year. Scores for pharmaceutical websites included in the benchmark ranged from 68 to 83, information useful to the individual companies included so that they can measure their performance against industry peers and competitors. The ForeSee Results pharmaceutical benchmark includes websites for companies like GlaxoSmithKline and Merck.
Hospitals
Hospital websites (with an aggregate score of 73) came in third out of the four measured healthcare subindustries, down a point from its aggregate score of 74 last year. Hospital websites included in the benchmark ranged from 65 to 78, a fairly narrow range of scores, indicating a more mature industry.The ForeSee Results hospital benchmark includes organizations such as Allina Hospitals and Clinics, the Cleveland Clinic, Intermountain Healthcare, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, St. John Health, and UVA Health System.
Health Insurance
Health insurance websites (with an aggregate score of 64) came in last, down a point from the previ-ous year’s aggregate score of 65. The health insurance websites studied ranged from 42 to 86, a huge 44-point gap indicating an industry without a clear set of best online practices and a lot of matur-ing to do. Many health insurance websites are doing very well, but the lower scoring websites bring the aggregate down. The ForeSee Results health insurance benchmark (part of the overall insurance benchmark but not the healthcare benchmark) includes companies like Anthem and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan.
There is certainly room for improvement and a high potential reward: health insurance companies could manage much, if not all, of their communications with customers in an online environment. Hospitals, which have always outscored the insurance industry, will never be able to conduct all of their business online, given the need for face-to-face interactions as part of their care.
While these health insurance numbers are indeed low, they represent the greatest room for improve-ment. Of the four industries represented here, the health insurance industry has the most to win from improving their customers’ online experience and may ind the road to that goal the easiest to climb.
Why Satisfaction Matters for Healthcare Organizations
What good is high satisfaction unless it has a proven impact on customers’ loyalty, likelihood to rec-ommend the website or likelihood to use the website instead of other, more costly channels? After all, why should a company put resources into increasing online customer satisfaction unless there is a measurable payoff ? The ACSI methodology used to calculate this benchmark recognizes that satisfac-tion is a means to an end, not the desired goal itself. The numbers produced by the ACSI methodology are more than just satisfaction scores for each of these companies. They can be used to predict, and even modify, speciic future behaviors of site visitors.
www.ForeSeeResults.com
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Online Customer Satisfaction: Key Driver of Success and Future Use of Healthcare Websites
On average, when compared to less satisied site visitors (satisfaction of 69 and lower) highly satis-ied website visitors (80 and higher) are:
• 139% more likely to return to a website • 169% more likely to recommend the website • 153% more likely to use the website as their primary resource for interacting with a healthcare organization, instead of using more costly channels like call centers or ofice locations. .
Each individual healthcare website can measure these future behaviors related to its own visitors, and there are differences from website to website and from industry to industry.
Just as the ACSI methodology provides satisfaction scores on a 100-point scale, it also produces future behavior scores on a 100-point scale, allowing us to see which industries are using their websites most effectively to elicit and encourage loyalty, positive word of mouth, and “right channeling.” Higher satisfaction generally leads to higher future behaviors, and since government healthcare sites have the highest satisfaction, they also lead all three of the measured future behaviors included in this bench-mark (individual companies have the ability to measure more industry-speciic future behaviors, such as likelihood to purchase additional policies, sign up for a newsletter, visit an afiliated doctor, etc.).
Likelihood to Return
Likelihood to return to a website is an important measure of loyalty. When comparing scores for the four measured healthcare industries, we see that visitors to government websites are the most likely to return. In fact, the likelihood to return scores mimic the satisfaction scores, with government com-ing in irst, pharmaceuticals second, hospitals third, and health insurance fourth.
Return customers represent the core of consistent revenue and online self-service and indicates that, while there is certainly room for improvement, customers are likely to return to healthcare industry websites more often than not.
85 83 81 79 77 75 73 71 69 67 65
www.ForeSeeResults.com
82
Aggregate
2009 Healthcare Likelihood to Return
85
Governm ent
82
Pharm aceuticals
80
Hos pitals
75
Ins urance
6
Online Customer Satisfaction: Key Driver of Success and Future Use of Healthcare Websites
Likelihood to Recommend
The likelihood of a customer recommending a health organization’s website to a friend or family member is inexorably tied to if they would return to the resource themselves.
85
80
75
70
65
60
55
77
Aggregate
2009 Healthcare Likelihood to Recommend
83
Governm ent
78
Pharm aceuticals
74
Hos pitals
Likelihood to Use the Website as a Primary Resource
60
Ins urance
There are numerous ways for a customer to make contact with the organization of their choice, from websites to call centers to direct mail. The problem, for companies, is that other than online, each of these options cost money. The ability to induce costumers to go irst to a website to ind the answers they seek translates into a substantial cost savings later.
79
77
75
73
71
69
67
65
www.ForeSeeResults.com
2009 Healthcare Likelihood to Use as Primary Resource
73
Aggregate
77
Governm ent
73
Pharm aceuticals
72
Hos pitals
66
Ins urance
7
Online Customer Satisfaction: Key Driver of Success and Future Use of Healthcare Websites
Conclusion
The stakes have never been higher. As the healthcare debate only continues to escalate, it becomes imperative that companies are able to address the needs of their customers rapidly and simply. In-deed, companies need to be able to anticipate their customers’ needs and questions even before they have them, and the only medium that allows a company to get out in front of their customers in this manner is the web. A comprehensive website goes a long way to increasing overall customer satisfac-tion and retaining future customer value.
It is critical that healthcare organizations in the public and private sectors understand how satisfac-tion drives future behaviors. Since the ACSI methodology shows how overall satisfaction determines future behaviors, visitors to government healthcare sites, who are the most satisied, are also the most likely to return to the website, recommend it, and use it as the primary channel for interaction with the organization.
As more and more U.S. consumers increasingly turn to the web as a irst point of contact and research, healthcare companies will need to ensure they are providing the most satisfying online experience pos-sible. Online customer satisfaction leaders will reap the beneits of enhanced loyalty, while those that are unable to deliver on the web will lose both their competitive advantage and their customers to com-petitors. Measuring customer satisfaction using a credible cause-and-effect technology is the irst step toward measuring the voice of customer and doing a better job of managing customer satisfaction.
About the Author
Larry Freed is an expert on web effectiveness and web customer satisfaction. He is also president and CEO of ForeSee Results, a market leader in customer satisfaction measurement on the web, which utilizes the methodology of the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
About ForeSee Results
As the leader in online customer satisfaction measurement, ForeSee Results uses online voice of customer data to help organizations around the globe increase sales, loyalty, recommendations, and website value. Using the proven, patented technology of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), ForeSee Results identiies the improvements to websites and other online initiatives with the greatest ROI (return on investment). With more than 40 million survey responses collected to date and benchmarks across dozens of industries, ForeSee Results offers our clients unparalleled exper-tise in customer satisfaction measurement and management. ForeSee Results works with dozens of healthcare websites.
ForeSee Results, a privately held company, is headquartered in Michigan and can be found on the web at www.ForeSeeResults.com.
www.ForeSeeResults.com
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