‘Carrot & Stick’ Incentives to drive CX innovation

The Aged Care sector in Australia appears to be set for a sustained period of CX focus and innovation with a “perfect storm” of incentives to lift standards of care, advocacy and ultimately competitiveness.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was established 31st October 2019 (final report due 30th April 2020). From July 2019, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission will begin assessment and monitoring against the new Aged Care Quality Standards. And since February 2017, the days of block funding and a guaranteed revenue stream are over and providers are having to compete in an open market.

Put all of this into the context of a growing market (estimated at $22B – IBIS Report 2019) and the accelerating demands of the “baby boomer” generation and you have an inflammatory mix of incentives – positive and negative – that should guarantee improved customer focus.

And the evidence is that we are starting from a pretty low base. Quite apart from the extreme examples we see on current affairs media there is broader research highlighting fundamental problems with customer service – starting with prospects. A KPMG Report in 2017 found for example that “80 per cent of providers fail to return phone calls to prospective customers.”

From a CX implementation viewpoint, there are a number of unique challenges/opportunities that present themselves.

  • The limited capacity (e.g. dementia) of some residents to provide feedback can be a major challenge. There may be a role for facial analytics, resident tracking and specialised feedback channels in these instances. Or indeed, it may be justified to actually talk to residents’ face to face – recording feedback via iPad for example. Heaven forbid!
  • An Aged Care environment is – let’s face it – and intensely emotional environment. Its 24×7, it’s your loved one’s daily living and it can stir extreme emotions amongst family members. This is an opportunity in the sense that feedback rates should be high and constant across significant experiences. The risk of course lies in the skill and capacity to handle the feedback process.
  • A well-designed Aged Care feedback is also intensely multi-party – typically Resident, Family (or Representative) and Team Members (frontline teams). Indeed feedback on incidents are likely to require a number of “angles” and participants to understand and resolve. The role of culture (& leadership) generally will of course play a major part in the success of these programs.
  • The shear cost of service means that getting the balance right (improving experience in the areas that matter most; and not increasing operating costs unnecessarily) is critical for sustained competitive advantage

The upshot is that the Aged Care industry in Australia should be on the verge of some dramatic improvements in customer experience and provide some genuine innovation for all of us interested in CX.

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