Employee satisfaction and NPS increased within 10 weeks

By News, Pensions

Daily performance dialogue on customer goals leads to unprecedented collaboration.

The IG&H ‘IMPULS’ approach has enhanced employees’ ownership and mutual collaboration. As a result, both the service provision and the working atmosphere have improved strongly in a short period of time. This development has continued autonomously after the initial 10 weeks, thus laying the foundation for a continuous improvement culture at Loyalis. The balance between the ‘Hard’ and ‘Heart’ building blocks of the IG&H ‘IMPULS’ approach distinguishes ‘IMPULS’ from other methodologies.

Challenge
Loyalis aimed to realize higher customer satisfaction (NPS). Analysis showed that internal collaboration and customer service needed to be improved to achieve this goal. Service provision to employers posed a challenge: substantial improvements had to be made in all areas. Their stalled execution resulted from the limited preliminary translation of the organizational strategy, which was due to a lack of ownership at several levels and due to insufficient operational control.

Solution
A successful transformation of the internal organization has been a crucial part of the solution. The ‘IMPULS’ method, used by and characteristic to IG&H, is based on the aforementioned ‘Hard’ and ‘Heart’ building blocks. Through our ‘Hard approach,’ we stated perspicuous overall objectives, set clear KPIs in collaboration with Loyalis, and provided a methodology that clarifies performances. The ‘Heart approach’ has allowed Loyalis to measure behavior that supports performance, encourage desired behavior, and discourage undesired behavior. As a result, the internal organization is back on track.

Way of working
The bottom-up approach used by IG&H has immediately resulted in better performances – by allowing employees to take more ownership and by contributing positive energy and inspiration, but also through better collaboration and a focus on customer service. The performance dialogue has become key to continuous improvement at Loyalis. Teams are now learning to analyze and solve challenges in an 8- to 10-week time period, in addition to acquiring and encouraging feedback (skills).

“Extremely professional and results-oriented. I am a warm and active supporter of IG&H’s working methodology.” Mario Bakker, Marketing & Sales Manager, Loyalis

Footprint
In ten weeks, an initial IMPULS wave was performed within Loyalis. Employees were provided with assistance and guidance to enter into a performance dialogue by collaborating in a different way based on sharp objectives. After these ten weeks, measurements have shown a strong increase in both customer satisfaction (NPS) and employee satisfaction (ENPS).

Bringing master data management capability and awareness to the next level

By News

Client:

Dutch food service and food retail company with revenues of  €2.7 billion (around 23% market share in the Netherlands) with an ambitious international and online growth strategy.

Challenge: 

To implement master data management as an enabler and key value driver for business

  • New online platform: close gap between the need for product data and data availability
  • Overcome data quality issues and create end-to-end control processes
  • Make ‘value of data’ a relevant topic in the commercial business lines and programmes

Solution:

To create a breakthrough by building a solid foundation
for data processes and increasing awareness of  ‘data
value’ in the business lines

  • Design and implement processes to ensure product
    data availability and quality for the online platform
  • Implement a data governance structure across the
    business lines (roles & responsibilities)
  • Push cultural change regarding importance and value
    of product data in Marketing and Procurement, and in
    other areas

Way of working:

  • Two-phase approach: building the foundation and business ownership, while delivering short-term impact at the same time
  • Programme set-up around four ‘must-win battles’ with high client involvement (~50 fte involved)
  • Encouraging business with a hands-on, supportive approach, creating a good, constructive atmosphere
  • Agile approach for delivering ICT foundation, focusing on prioritized deliverables in sprints; along with the realization of quick wins (process improvements)

Footprint: 

  • Data processes live and product data 100% ready for online platform (with revenues of around €1 billion)
  • Four key processes redesigned and implemented; yielding a uniform way of working
  • Reports and reporting governance: using both operational- and data quality KPIs to steer operations
  • Clear cultural change towards ‘data is relevant for us all’

Client’s comments: 

  • “IG&H added structure in the approach and hence increased throughput significantly”
  • “IG&H contributed significantly to the cultural change and necessary attitude towards using data and data quality”

Part 4: Blue Ocean Medical Center

By News

Introduction

The mirrored-windowed facade of Blue Ocean Medical Center (or Blue Ocean Med) only just catches the watery October sun as it sinks below the city skyline. Situated between the edge of a mid-size city and the Atlantic Ocean, Blue Ocean Med is a hub for regional healthcare. Like most hospitals it is also among the biggest employers of the region. In the particular case of Blue Ocean Med, they are only outmatched by the local tinning plant. As an organization, however Blue Ocean Med has no match for complexity. The hospital aims to serve the regional community on all relevant aspects of specialist care. They offer all regular diagnostics and surgical interventions, but also prevention programs, radiotherapy, e-health and research and development. For anyone familiar with hospitals: a truly wonderful organization and a wholly unremarkable general hospital. It is actually almost identical in organization, size and offering to both of the two nearest general hospitals. These also deliver (in about equal measure):

  1. Extensive high-tech facilities
  2. A comprehensive care offering
  3. Fee-for-service
  4. E-health
  5. Qualified and caring personnel
  6. R&D and cutting edge medicine

Blue Ocean Med, like all general hospitals, is struggling with issues of quality, cost and profile. Focused clinics are taking more of their market, insurers are tearing down tariffs, real-estate cost is through the roof and the media are just waiting for anyone to slip up. In order to stand up to all this while delivering ready access to high quality yet affordable care, they know they must make some fundamental changes.
They need to move from marginal improvement to far better ways of doing things. But how? What can they do differently with real impact? Can they afford to? And how can they do this without doing the exact same things everybody else is doing?

Follow Blue Ocean Medical in a series of blogs as it tries on alternatives on the above characteristics. Each article will feature one characteristic, yielding one alternative Blue Ocean Medical. There are three reasons for following these thought experiments. First; the dramatic changes Blue Ocean Med goes through may inspire those of you in healthcare to start doing things a little differently too. Second; I hope you will challenge and build on the presented ideas, working toward a greater truth and having fun while at it. Third I hope that some of you may one day join me in actually building Blue Ocean Med.

BOM Four: When Prediction meets Precision

Many people will agree that E-health is doing wonderful things for healthcare. Mostly through the application of distance monitoring, wearables, PHRs and other internet-connected devices and applications. We are talking about information gathered by a huge number of people over long periods of time, combined with all the available knowledge and empirical expertise of medicine, applied to people personally. But isn’t that exactly what doctors have been doing to the day?  In this perspective, current E-Health practices and development do no more and no less than boost current abilities of doctors and patients. And for a good part the applications are long overdue repairs, like digitized health records and sharing crucial information.

As he wanders the grey-green corridors of the (still fictional) Blue Ocean Medical Center this cold November morning, Blue Med’s CEO sees patients in wards and waiting rooms and the regular bustle of doctors and nurses going about their business of comforting, caring, co-operating and curing <insert appropriate verb beginning with ‘c’>. To him the ‘E’s’ in E-Health should stand for efficacy, efficiency, expertise, empathy < insert appropriate noun beginning with ‘E’>.  What he realizes is that healthcare actually has little to do with mobiles, wearables, sites, records and apps. These are just things. Soon to be outdated and rather cold stuff. By definition of dr. Clay Christensen, these are sustaining innovations. Novelty boosting current offerings and existing business models. Disruption will come when two other developments in healthcare connect: advanced analytics and precision medicine.

Advanced Analytics

The local tinning plant near Blue Ocean Med is using advanced analytics. Not only do they monitor production and evaluate performance. They are actually combining all kinds of data to predict both the demand for tinned fish as the supply of fresh product. And these predictions are over 90% accurate to the day. They even linked data from social media to their production schedule to predict absenteeism and break downs in the production line. In most cases they are in time to prevent a break down and if not, they are always in time to take effective countermeasures. This always seemed as something which could impossibly be applicable to such a complex world as healthcare. But it is not. There are apps on the market that combine all kinds of data, including GPS positioning and local weather conditions to accurately predict an asthmatic seizure. This year market leaders in Health-Tech launch analyzers that use big data to accurately predict performance loss and even break downs in time for labs to do the necessary maintenance.  Using massive cohorts and the data trail we all leave behind have become far more important than scrutinizing small experimental set-ups and control groups.

Knowledge unused is useless knowledge

The importance to Blue Ocean Med, or any general hospital for that matter, for such monitoring and prediction is self-evident. Sure: through the advanced analysis of multiple ‘big data’-sources, capacity use and efficiency of the hospital’s facilities can be optimized.  But the real gain is in applying the power of prediction to the primary processes. Unfortunately that also means that Blue Ocean needs more than significant statistical results. They need clinically relevant questions and accurately interpreted results. John Halama, information officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: “To me, the bigness of data is not its (..) size, but the task of transforming it into wisdom.” Blue Ocean Meds CEO couldn’t agree more. People generate and own data. But that’s just numbers. Information is produced when numbers are combined in a meaningful (and significant) way. When this information is analyzed in context by knowledgeable people, we are creating knowledge. Wisdom comes when that knowledge is actually used to enhance health. Because what is the use of accurate prediction if you can do nothing about the predicted outcome? What hospitals need are both wisdom and science to turn knowledge into effective action. That requires the artificial intelligence and accuracy of IBM’s Watson but also a new breed of medical specialists and new healthcare professions. How can the stereotypical TV- Dr. House stand to be outwitted and outperformed by artificial intelligence like IBM’s Watson? He cannot. And patients rather have an emphatic and knowledgeable specialist wielding a very accurate Watson than Dr. House wielding educated guesses, sarcasm and a massive God syndrome. Blue Ocean Med therefore offers educational programs and degrees for Bioinformatics, Medical AI Design and Healthcare Navigators. What Blue Ocean Med needs next are the tools to effectively intervene on predicted outcomes or complications.

Making it personal

That’s where precision medicine comes in. Diagnosis and treatments are now becoming available which are custom-tailored to the uniqueness of a person’s body, maximizing outcomes and minimizing side-effects. These treatments range from tailored biomarkers to personalized medication to 3D-printed bone and tissue. This level of precision is also needed to keep healthcare affordable. Doing the right things right first time, every time is the most cost effective way of doing things. Than this is what we need. And as with analytics Blue Ocean Med needs both the technology as the specialists to wield it. Patients are extremely diverse in nature, yet unbelievably similar in symptoms. Same goes for diagnoses and treatments. We need people who can connect the dots between the expressed and observed symptoms and complaints, diagnosis and proposed treatment (boosted by AI), and the precision medicine on a genetic level. Not making the mistake of adding to the tasks of already stretched medical professionals, Blue Ocean Med has started offering programs and positions for Custom Implant Design (3D printing) and invests in pharmacogenetics to minimize side effects of clinical genetics and maximize treatment outcomes.

Conservative innovators

The question is how long it will take the ever conservative healthcare community to really dive into all of this. Well; Blue Ocean’s CEO has a feeling that it will not take long at all. As soon as technology becomes available that actually lifts medical expertise and the efficacy of healthcare professionals, it will take off like nothing. He bets that anyone in healthcare who can envision what being able to accurately predict or prevent, precision medicine and having more time for patients will do to healthcare, will want to start right away. Whether they are healthcare professionals, boardmembers, patients, insurers or working in government.

‘De Veranderformule’ Over een boek dat écht aanzet tot veranderen

By News

Collega Jorien Weerdenburg heeft het gewoon gedaan! Ze heeft een verfrissend boek geschreven over hoe organisaties succesvol kunnen veranderen. Blij voor haar – met deze mijlpaal in haar leven – maar vooral ook trots dat vanaf nu een preview van haar boek op managementboek.nl wordt gepubliceerd. Best bijzonder, omdat dit maar bij een beperkt aantal boeken gebeurd. In het kader van de uitgave daarom drie vragen aan Jorien:

Gefeliciteerd met je boek, Jorien! Maar… alweer een boek over organisatieverandering?

‘Dankjewel! Ik snap je vraag, maar mijn boek gaat niet over de inhoud van de organisatieverandering zelf, maar juist over wat je moet doen om deze blijvend te maken. Dus niet een nieuw model of een nieuwe methodiek, maar heel concreet mijn (negen) inzichten over wat wel en niet werkt als je je organisatieverbetering duurzaam wilt maken.’

Wat heeft je gedreven tot het schrijven van dit boek?

‘Ik lees heel erg graag. Toen ik bij mijn terugkeer bij IG&H geïnterviewd werd door het NRC Handelsblad heb ik me dan ook laten ontvallen dat ik ooit zelf nog eens een boek wilde schrijven, maar dan over mijn werk in en ervaringen met organisatieverbetering. Marcel en Maarten van Futuro uitgevers namen vervolgens contact op en zo is het balletje gaan rollen. ‘

Je gouden tip na het lezen ervan…

‘Je kunt morgen al beginnen met je eerste stap in de veranderformule. Gewoon een blok in je agenda plannen om aan de slag te gaan met het eerste inzicht, rondom het belang van het ‘waarom’. Daarna elke dag een stap zetten in een van de negen inzichten en deze succesvol afronden. Zo kan je snel blijvende resultaten realiseren!’

Ben je enthousiast na het lezen van de preview, of nieuwsgierig naar aanleiding van dit interview? ‘De Veranderformule’ is vanaf 28 oktober verkrijgbaar en kan vanaf nu al wel worden besteld bij o.a. managementboek.nl en Bol.com.

Part 2: Blue Ocean Medical Center

By News

Blue Ocean Medical Center

Part three in the series of our famed fictional hospital as it tries on alternatives to the status quo in healthcare. Let it continue to inspire you to think and act a bit differently and engage with me to find a greater truth. For the extended introduction and parts one and two (‘Hospital without a Home’ and ‘Cells instead of Structures’), please follow this link. Still to come in the weeks ahead: When Prediction meets Precision, Evidence Based Only Please and the Ultimate Medical Mall.

Introduction

The mirrored-window facade of Blue Ocean Medical Center, or Blue Ocean Med, only just catches the watery October sun as it sinks below the city skyline. Situated between the edge of a mid-size city and the Atlantic Ocean, Blue Ocean Med is a hub for regional healthcare. The hospital aims to serve the regional community on all relevant aspects of specialist care, offering all regular diagnostics and surgical interventions as well as prevention programs, radiotherapy, e-health and research and development. A truly wonderful organization and a wholly unremarkable general hospital. It is actually almost identical in organization, size and offering to both of the two nearest general hospitals. These also deliver, in about equal measure:

blue-ocean-medical-center-intro

  1. Extensive high-tech facilities
  2. A comprehensive care offering
  3. Fee-for-service
  4. E-health
  5. Qualified and caring personnel
  6. R&D and cutting edge medicine

Blue Ocean Med, like all general hospitals, is struggling with issues of quality, cost and profile. In order to stand out, they know they must make some fundamental changes. But how? What can they do differently with real impact? Can they afford to? And how can they do this without doing the exact same things everybody else is doing?

BOM Two: Cells instead of Structures

Another rainy day on the coast with a sky as uniformly grey as the strategic promise of a general hospital. Blue Ocean Medical Center is  painfully aware that they, like all general hospitals the world over, basically promise that no matter what the ailment or complaint; they’ll soon find out what it is, treat it quickly and effectively with the latest in medicine and technology wielded by caring and competent staff. This concept gets in the way of delivering the promised ready-access to high quality and affordable care.  You see; in order to deliver ‘anything for anyone’ Blue Ocean Med must combine a vast array of capabilities. These include many different medical specialists, facilities and technologies. All these capabilities come with different processes, schedules, operating margins, regulations and even business models. All of this needs to work seamlessly together in a slightly different way each time someone comes through the shiny double revolving doors. Not only is this extremely ambitious and fault-prone (the organization, not the revolving doors), it also diverts attention from professionals and patients to figuring it all out and somehow making it work.

Damned complexity

Organizational complexity is a major factor in things going wrong, resilience to change and burn-out of (healthcare) professionals. It seems very efficient to have all this expert knowledge, departments and facilities organized in a single body. Unfortunately this concentration of capabilities also exponentially increases organizational complexity, outstripping the capability to effectively manage it all. As the law of requisite variety states: in order to deal properly with the diversity of problems the world throws at you, you need to have a repertoire of responses which is (at least) as nuanced as the problems you face. This repertoire of responses is not only pretty limited considering the number of states to control, it also costs tons of coordination, task division, reporting, registrations, accounting, ict, coffee machines and parking lots.  The CEO also realized that none of these are on his shopping list should a congenital heart failure catch up with him.

Why focus is not the answer

The best known alternative to the general hospital is a focused clinic. These clinics are far less complex and regularly outperform general hospitals on both quality and costs. But they also have a downside. Human beings are not a set of organs held up by bone and skin. A body works as an integrated organic whole. Therefore patients are likely to need more than a single specialism when seriously ill. And with the increase of chronic disease and comorbidity through the ageing of the population, we need more professionals to be working together in more multidisciplinary teams. Are such things not easiest organized within a single healthcare system? Besides, the complexity and interconnectedness of general hospitals are the main reasons why general hospitals cannot and will not make meaningful portfolio choices. They cannot fully foresee the consequences to the plate of spaghetti if they start pulling strings out. They are more or less cemented to their comprehensive care offering.

Organism instead of organization

blue-medical-center-01

Blue Ocean Med’s CEO realized he was long past the point where he could effectively manage the complexity of Blue Ocean Med when yet another improvement programme failed. It all started out brilliantly, but trouble started when the words ‘budget’, ‘governance’ or ‘ownership’ came to the table. They always do. He was painfully reminded that he actually does not run a single organization. He heads a federalized union of semi-independent sub-organizations, like most general hospitals. He also realized that because these units are relatively small and focused, they reduce some of the complexity and overhead for their members, but not for the whole. But more focus means better results. Lower overhead and interference means greater sense of entrepreneurship. That is why performance and change within the boundaries of a unit is usually good. Things go south when two or more units/departments/divisions need to work together. Even when working in those multidisciplinary teams we need so badly.  He remembered reading a book called ‘Eckart’s Notes’. In it, Eckart Wintzen, founder and CEO of BSO/Origin, describes how he used to split-up any organizational unit exceeding 30 members. Eckart goes on to describe how each unit was expected to function independently from a central organization. These small units did almost everything themselves, within company boundaries. Personnel, office-equipment, leasing cars. These small units act like cells in a living organism. Each cell interconnected to form a whole, but seemingly functioning independently. Governed only by the company’s DNA, not some totalitarian central organ.

Within BSO/Origin this set-up maximized agility and entrepreneurship of each unit, while reducing central HQ to a bare minimum. So why could this not work in his hospital? Never afraid to take a different tack, Blue Ocean Med started to de-compose itself into these very small independent units or cells. These are preferably not organized around medical specializations, rather on client-centred propositions. They started out with units focusing on organ specific care, disease specific diagnosis, patient-group research, technology development: you name it. As long as there is a clear value proposition, target group and a viable business model, it is a go. Because of their focus and very small size, everyone soon found that they absolutely needed other cells in order to function. That helped things move along nicely on the cooperation front. They also found they could not decentralize everything of the central HQ. The Blue Ocean Med central organization needs to offer some support in matters of compliance, knowledge transfer, ICT and finance. It also supports initiative and cooperation by providing a safe internal environment for budding initiatives and innovation.

Small rules Big

Without centralizing structures getting in the way or to hide behind, each cell needs to actively work together and show vitality. Entrepreneurship, ownership and local responsibility also makes cells look for superior offerings both inside as outside the organization. That meant that Blue Ocean Med lost some non-viable units and functions to the market. They did not choose to, but things sorted themselves out. The end-result is a focused general hospital based on healthy cells, interconnected both inside and outside the organization, with minimal central rule. The market and network doing the pruning of unviable functions, combinations and cells. A truly vital organism. Most general hospitals however are turning to growth through mergers, geographical expansion, broadening of portfolios and innovation. All of these adding complexity, increasing cost and further outstretching the already limited grasp on running things smoothly. Blue Ocean Med’s energy is aimed at actually improving health the way they know best instead of managing ever increasing and redundant complexity.

Part 1: Blue Ocean Medical Center

By News

Introduction

The mirrored-windowed facade of Blue Ocean Medical Center (or Blue Ocean Med) only just catches the watery October sun as it sinks below the city skyline. Situated between the edge of a mid-size city and the Atlantic Ocean, Blue Ocean Med is a hub for regional healthcare. Like most hospitals it is also among the biggest employers of the region. In the particular case of Blue Ocean Med, they are only outmatched by the local tinning plant. As an organization, however Blue Ocean Med has no match for complexity. The hospital aims to serve the regional community on all relevant aspects of specialist care. They offer all regular diagnostics and surgical interventions, but also prevention programs, radiotherapy, e-health and research and development. For anyone familiar with hospitals: a truly wonderful organization and a wholly unremarkable general hospital. It is actually almost identical in organization, size and offering to both of the two nearest general hospitals. These also deliver (in about equal measure):

  1. Extensive high-tech facilities
  2. A comprehensive care offering
  3. Fee-for-service
  4. E-health
  5. Qualified and caring personnel
  6. R&D and cutting edge medicine

Blue Ocean Med, like all general hospitals, is struggling with issues of quality, cost and profile. Focused clinics are taking more of their market, insurers are tearing down tariffs, real-estate cost is through the roof and the media are just waiting for anyone to slip up. In order to stand up to all this while delivering ready access to high quality yet affordable care, they know they must make some fundamental changes. They need to move from marginal improvement to far better ways of doing things. But how? What can they do differently with real impact? Can they afford to? And how can they do this without doing the exact same things everybody else is doing?

Follow Blue Ocean Medical in a series of blogs as it tries on alternatives on the above characteristics. Each article will feature one characteristic, yielding one alternative Blue Ocean Medical. There are three reasons for following these thought experiments. First; the dramatic changes Blue Ocean Med goes through may inspire those of you in healthcare to start doing things a little differently too. Second; I hope you will challenge and build on the presented ideas, working toward a greater truth and having fun while at it. Third I hope that some of you may one day join me in actually building Blue Ocean Med.

BOM One: Hospital without a home

It is hard to imagine Blue Ocean Med without its mirrored-windowed facade, the hum of the analyzers, MRI’s and the air conditioning. We are all familiar with the single-bed rooms, the professional men and women in white hurrying along grey-green corridors and the understated waiting rooms. Most of us are also familiar with limited access to physicians and their high-tech equipment and facilities. Here’s a fun fact: most of those facilities stand idle most of the time (except for the air conditioning). A large amount of Blue Ocean Med’s real-estate is also actually quite general. It comprises of thousands of square meters of office space, bedrooms (low-complexity care wards), bathrooms, kitchens and parking lots. And facilities only seem to grow.  All these facilities need management, scheduling, servicing and regulating. But surely this is a prerequisite for high quality care? Well; it’s not. Many aspects of hospital care do not need specialized facilities or high-tech equipment on site at all. Then there are the really expensive specialized facilities like high-field MRI’s and radiology bunkers. Almost all general hospitals have these things nowadays. But…why? Is it not far more efficient to share such expensive resources?

In typical style, Blue Ocean Med’s CEO started wondering what would happen if he’d sell the real-estate on the edge of town and go nomad. First of all he figured he would make a killing by transforming it into luxury ocean-view condos. Second he would be out of business. There is just no organizing the complexity of hospital care without some physical and managerial structures. Instead of selling off everything, he did three things.

First he determined which facilities were generic and which were specialized medical facilities. He also analyzed the utilization of all facilities and asked himself: ‘Do I really need to own and operate this facility myself? Are there better or more cost effective options outside our organization?’ and ‘Can we optimize utilization and the cultivation of skill and knowledge that comes with focus and volume?’. The generic facilities proved to be little more than very expensive office space. They soon found out that the city had thousands of square meters of vacant office-space. They rented half the building across the street at half the cost of their own facilities. That building now houses management, support, e-health and knowledge transfer workers. Most of the outpatient care is also organized there. They also found the utilization of their labs to be just as poor as that of the nearest other hospital. They downsized the lab to a stat-lab only, subcontracting bulk testing from the other hospital. Next the kitchen and facility management were outsourced completely. In one move freeing up space, saving money and maximizing service to patients. Negotiations with two other hospitals have started on swapping specialized functions (like high sensitive imaging and radiotherapy) in order to maximize utilization and specialization in the wider region. These are always tough processes and will take some more time to complete.

 

 

Second, he de-concentrated low-complexity specialist care. The idea of transforming these practices into ambulatory care units actually came from a Dutch entrepreneur. Meet Ivo Knotnerus (www.Beterinjebuurt.nl). He offers and organizes low-complexity specialist care in GP’s offices and local care centers in the Netherlands. A hospital without a home! This organization not only halves (!) the cost of care, it also literally brings physicians and patients closer together. It works a charm for Blue Ocean Med increasing trust, lowering barriers and greatly improving efficiency.

But the bricks were still there eating up space, money and time. Blue Ocean Med started to sublet space to private partners. The hospital now features a pretty comprehensive medical mall, guesthouses for families of patients and they actually did put in some condos, gratefully occupied by staff members and their families. The rest of the facilities are to be written off and torn down in time. If CEO’s are measuring success in the number of cranes going up, this Blue Ocean Med measures it by the number of wrecking balls going in.

 

Radical customer focus: Afternoon Seminar led by Steven van Belleghem

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We are entering a new era: one that will be dominated by a radical customer focus. Stepping into the customer’s shoes – thinking from the customer’s perspective – this is the only certainty the future holds.

It is clear that we are becoming increasingly digital in our interactions with one another. In Steven van Belleghem’s view, it could even be described as a sixth sense. During the IG&H Afternoon Seminar on 2 June 2016, on the subject of Radical Customer Focus, Steven van Belleghem showed us what we can expect from now on: from virtual reality glasses to smartwatches, and from smart chips to nanobots in our bloodstream.

The pace of change is fast. It is already no longer ‘digital first’ but ‘mobile first’. Take Zalando, for example, where 56% of the turnover comes from orders placed on mobile devices. The figures for Netflix also show that 40% of users are using mobile streaming. The impact of mobile is huge and growing! Over the next year, said Steven, the offline world will become completely digital. As we speak, we are already in the final phase of the digital cycle and entering a new cycle: artificial intelligence. Because computers can learn very quickly! He briefly showed examples from Amazon Echo and DeepMind. But how can you apply this now in your day-to-day operations? What’s the best way to retain customers in this cyber world and how can you structure your business accordingly? By having a radical customer focus!

To be able to operate with a radical customer focus, the entire organisation needs to be designed around the customer. To do this it is essential that the relationship with both customers and staff is based on trust rather than control. It requires a different way of managing and operating and – in many cases – a new culture. But you can also start small, a radical customer focus often lies in the details. For example, a window cleaning firm in America had its cleaners dress up as superheroes to wash the windows of a large children’s hospital. A small investment in itself, but one which had a huge impact on the customer, and certainly on the patients and visitors.

Steven van Belleghem has identified four ‘building blocks’ which hold the key to ensuring that your future radical customer focus is successful. They are easy to understand and apply, even in your organisation:

1) Angry Bird: which means that the intervention must work quickly, be easy to do and fun. People are no longer attached to ‘brands’ but look for ‘interfaces’.

2) Back office: In reality, it no longer exists. These people also work for the end customer and therefore, in essence, have become front office. Make every member of staff responsible for a radical customer focus and soon you will be hearing great new ideas!

3) Autonomous front office: Give the people working in customer service the freedom to make their own decisions. On average, satisfied customers will become very satisfied customers (and promoters), while employee satisfaction will also grow because staff can make their own decisions.

4) Pay policy: Link it to customer satisfaction. When you reward your staff on the basis of an NPS or customer satisfaction score, they start thinking from the point of view of the customer’s needs and act accordingly. When you concentrate only on rewarding short-term sales results, said Van Belleghem, then you are not really serious about being customer-focused.

With all this fresh in our minds, the group took part in an interactive session. We were generally in agreement with one another on most of Van Belleghem’s points, but the discussion was no less animated for that. The statement that ‘Customer retention is the holy grail of the future’ prompted varying