Could Healthcare Assemble a Twelpforce?

Customer service in healthcare is challenging. The difficulty comes from hospitals in general being a complex system. There are a lot of disconnected entities that need to work together in order to get something accomplished. But when there are problems, it’s often tough to determine where the actual issue is hiding, let alone find someone who can sort it out and make it right.

Look at a typical surgery, for example. In addition to the surgeons, who are likely not employed by the hospital at which the surgery is performed, you have nurses (who are employed by the hospital), anesthesiologists (who aren’t) and during recovery, you may be monitored by a hospitalist (who is). Add to that the surgical suite itself, ambulance company (if used), and let’s not forget your insurance company… yeah, it’s getting a little crowded.

So when you get a stack of unintelligible bills, none of which quite align with the others, where do you even begin?

There simply isn’t enough customer service staff within healthcare to cover the range of services and entities involved.  Even if there was enough staff, chances are they aren’t empowered to do much of anything to help a confused patient.

Many companies outside of healthcare, like Best Buy for example, provide excellent customer service.  So their recent announcement that they are creating a new customer service arm, Twelpforce to operate through Twitter, makes me wonder what the potential is for healthcare to catch up.

Best Buy’s CMO, Barry Judge, writes about Twelpforce in a recent blog post.

There are a few interesting ideas that he shares which lead them to take this new approach:

  • The service will be staffed by employees from across all operations, not by cross-functional customer service staff
  • Customer service is now part of everyone’s jobs, not its own department
  • Twelpforce will allow Best Buy to be proactive with customer service, seeking out issues rather than waiting for unhappy customers to come to them
  • This highly personalized customer service approach plays a clear role in marketing and sales as well. This has often been part of the Best Buy brand, but Twitter allows them to reach outside of the walls of their stores and do the same thing that they do in their stores.

So, could healthcare create a Twelpforce? Can we reach across organizational boundaries and create a place where we help health consumers make better decisions?

Can we afford not to?

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This entry was posted in Best Practices, eHealth, Social Media by Ben Dillon. Bookmark the permalink.
Ben Dillon

About Ben Dillon

Ben’s a big picture type of guy. He loves sharing new ideas in digital marketing, keeping a watchful eye on healthcare industry trends and seeing how it all intersects. A sought-after speaker, writer, blogger and current SHSMD board member, Ben’s an influential voice in healthcare marketing, helping organizations across the country embrace online strategies to engage health consumers. Combine his industry savvy with his background in software development and you can see why he’s also an important member of Geonetric’s software team, ensuring our content management system stays a step ahead of market needs. Ben holds a master’s degree in eBusiness and strategic management from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Michigan. When he’s not traveling and evangelizing, Ben enjoys cooking with his family and playing the Big House with the University of Michigan Alumni marching band.

3 thoughts on “Could Healthcare Assemble a Twelpforce?

  1. I will shy away from self promotion here, but, there is a far better and less chaotic/risky solution, particularly, when it comes to health care.

    You need “AI conversational agents” that actually engage and drill-down messging via User’s tweets or SMS messages and provide consistent and guaranteed replies.

    We’re moving into that space and tests are looking remarkable, particularly with User satisfaction and engagement.

    You can “add the human touch” via behind the scenes contributions from health care professionals, but vet the information before it is live.

  2. Pingback: Digital Media – Reshaping the Marketing Department of the Future – GeoVoices

  3. Pingback: Tweets that mention Could Healthcare Assemble a Twelpforce? – GeoVoices -- Topsy.com

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