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Unpacking Forrester's 5 CX Predictions for 2024 and Their Implications for Healthcare Payers

By John Zimmerer, VP of Healthcare Marketing at Smart Communications

Forrester Research analysts Judy Weader, Christina McAllister, Su Doyle, and Senem Biyikli recently hosted a webinar where they presented their five customer experience (CX) predictions for 2024. As I watched, I couldn’t help but think about the degree to which each applies to healthcare. I won’t give away too much, as you should really watch the webinar and download the related presentation to get Forrester’s full perspectives. But below, I’ll go through each headline and offer some color commentary. 

Prediction 1: Global Average CX Will Improve for the First Time in Three Years

Well, that would be nice. If you’ve been following Forrester’s CX Index reports, you know that healthcare has one of the lowest industry average scores. In the webinar, Weader made the point that the trendline for CX says we’re due to see improvements. For healthcare, we’re long overdue. Weader also noted that Forrester expects APAC and EMEA to make outsized gains in CX. I would have to agree when it comes to healthcare. From my experience, payers and providers outside of North America are further up the CX maturity curve, on balance. 

Prediction 2: 50% of Large Global Firms Will Experiment with Customer-Facing Generative AI

That might be high for healthcare. For the most part, the firms I’ve spoken with are very reluctant to put generative AI (GenAI) out front. Only those that are playing with their own large language models (LLMs) or a hybrid public/private model are thinking of being that bold. Most are looking to use GenAI for creating initial drafts, suggesting edits to existing content, or for first-pass language translation. That’s all behind the firewall. The recent negative headlines about how some payers have been using AI will only slow the adoption of GenAI in healthcare. 

Prediction 3: 50% of Large Global Firms Will Report CX Metrics; Only 5% Will Link to Financials

Both are probably high for healthcare. I’ve only seen a handful of firms publicly disclose their CX metrics. That’s partly because only a few have good metrics to report, but mostly because their CX practices are relatively immature. I have only seen one payer sophisticated enough to link CX through operations to their income statement. I’m sure there are others; the point is, they’re rare. 

Prediction 4: One-Third of Brands Will Launch Experiences That Are Biased, Inaccessible or Harmful

Here’s where healthcare might shine. That’s because we’ve been subject to accessibility regulations for decades. That created a certain disposition towards empathy and formalized processes and procedures. I’ve seen user experience (UX) and CX teams with their own accessibility manuals and style guides. I’ll be very surprised if a single healthcare organization shows up on the offender list. 

Prediction 5: Two out of Five CX Teams Will Turn Away Work Because Their Remit Exceeds Resources

This one is a mixed bag for healthcare organizations. I doubt their CX teams will be flooded with requests; however, I’m sure they are under-resourced. It is a rare payer or provider that fully funds a CX team. That has more to do with company culture than cost structure. The customer just isn’t at the center of many healthcare organizations in the way you’d hope they would be. 

How to Link Forms and Communications to CX and Financial Metrics

I applaud the Forrester analysts for putting these predictions – and themselves – out there. I know they’re basing these prognostications on the past year’s inquiries and briefings they’ve been involved in, so they’re well founded. The one I think that matters most to healthcare payers is the inability to demonstrate the link between CX metrics and business outcomes. 

CX impacts the bottom lines of healthcare organizations. Period. And yes, it is possible to connect CX improvements to financial outcomes. In an upcoming webinar with Judy Weader, I’ll show you:

  • Examples of how forms drive call volume;
  • How communications are linked to appeals; and 
  • Ways to improve CX and business metrics tied to forms and communications. 

If you’re ready to discover how to accelerate the healthcare customer experience at your organization, click the link to register for the webinar: Register Now! 

About the Author
John Zimmerer is the Vice President of Vertical Marketing, Healthcare at Smart Communications, where he acts as a subject matter expert on the digital transformation of customer communications and data-centric, often form-based workflows. Most recently, John has been researching and writing about improving customer experience in healthcare and is regarded as a thought leader in this area. John has over 20 years of software product marketing experience. His areas of expertise include market research, analyst relations, public relations and digital marketing.