By Damien Edmonds.

As a strategic marketing consultancy, Edmonds Marketing regularly conducts market research with CEOs and thought-leaders.

Recently we spoke to a selection of health, aged care and community care organisations preparing for the difficult transition to a customer-orientated culture [following the legislated changes towards Consumer-Directed Care (CDC) including NDIS].

The discussions we had revealed threats and opportunities inherent in the cultural shift that face so many. In this blog we have combined the feedback gathered regarding customer-concerns, with findings from the PWC Annual CEO Survey to make recommendations about how to reorientate an organisation around the customer.

Maintaining trust

A key issue facing all organisations in the sector is the challenge of translating their services from government language over to customer speak without over-promising or under-delivering on those services. The leaders we spoke to recognised that communication was all-important to building and maintaining trust with customers.

Restricted business growth

Mission-based organisations are now facing competition from other organisations who want to deliver the same services. Previously they may have been the only organisations in the market place delivering those services but now they need to develop new sources of revenue and find sources of funding that can increase their organisational capacity.

Limited transition planning

Not for Profit (NfP) organisations are identifying a need to adapt their skill sets and their culture for the future.  As they move from government funding to CDC, all members of staff need to clearly communicate the business USP and business leaders need to work harder at building relationship networks.

Organisations not capturing or utilising data

Organisations are yet to fully grasp the power of metrics and data. However, most leaders acknowledge that determining what customer data to collect, and how, will inform their development. As a strategic marketing consultancy who bases communications recommendations on insights, we know just how critical this information can be to determining an organisation’s direction.

Assess service quality

Organisations are often focusing on ‘what they can do internally to meet compliance’ rather than focusing on customer service. They are attempting to move customers into new market models but are not yet overcoming historic expectations. They may also be over-servicing customers by matching revenues to certain service level agreements. Finally, they are relying on an idea of customer loyalty which will evaporate in the era of CDC when customers start to conduct their own market research.

On the whole, organisations are yet to grasp the importance of gathering customer feedback as a forward indicator of organisational success – and the marketing opportunity this represents.

Understanding lead generation

Our market research revealed that often organisations need to work harder at understanding their niche segments their organisation’s point of difference, their segments’ typical journey and how their customers might benefit from their services.

Savvy workforce

Getting the right people on the bus i.e. executives who are confident, mature and passionate is a key goal for leaders in this sector. Employees need to understand their organisation’s value and to articulate this under fire, as well as constantly scanning the organisation’s horizon to keep ahead of opportunities.

Avoiding negative media coverage

For all of the reasons above, organisations need to be clear about their core messaging and ensure their messages are consistent across all touchpoints – online and offline. Communicating internally and externally (including media training) is considered good governance. It is also important for organisations to assess and manage the risks they face on a regular basis.

In summary, these threats and opportunities are important considerations for organisations facing a cultural shift over to consumer directed care.

If you are interested to discuss customer concerns further, please contact damien@edmondsmarketing.com.au at Edmonds Marketing.