McKesson is the largest and oldest healthcare services company in the U.S. and offers software, distribution, and business services. April O’Neal manages a vast amount of information to help customers help themselves at the number one rated health IT company in the nation. Her content career path spans roles as a medical editor, in regulatory affairs, a technical writer, and a web content analyst.
O’Neal shares her insight with Content Science Review on effective content for a customer support extranet.
As a Business Process Manager, I’m responsible for managing the content on our customer portal. The site made its debut in 2008 and we have approximately 15,000 registered users. We are one of the first destinations for customers as they transition from implementation to support. Customers rely on our content for access to education, thought leadership on regulatory issues, peer to peer forums, and best practices to name a few.
Our Customer Portal is an authenticated site and is only available to McKesson customers. We are focused on post-sales activity e.g., services and support, educational and training assets, ICD-10 and Meaningful Use information to help customers comply with regulatory standards. Customers enjoy online tools to submit service orders, an extensive knowledge base to troubleshoot issues, and the ability to download software.
More than ever, customers want and expect the ability to find solutions online when feasible. Our strategy revolves around the creation and delivery of content that supports and encourages self service. We analyze the effectiveness of content through mediums like Google Analytics, constantly honing in on the content that customers want – and what they don’t find to be useful. When we can proactively respond to our customers’ content needs, it creates a craving to visit the site more, which is a winning combination for both sides.
It is indeed expansive and certainly cannot always be measured monetarily. Technical support centers in general are not profit-generating operations. Our success really hinges on customer satisfaction. We use the common measure of NPS (Net Promoter Score). We’re actively involved with our customers through Client Advisory groups, where we discuss enhancements for the next generation portals that meet today’s expectations and anticipate future needs.
Cross-pollination, as I like to call it, is in our corporate DNA. With such an expansive network of teams, we rely heavily on internal partnerships. I liaise with information architects, marketing, and our technical accounting (legal) team to ensure that our content is timely, relevant, and compelling. I find its important to trust that our partners will provide me with technical solutions or other expertise that contributes to our common goal. Engaging in regular dialogue to build relationships and an understanding of their other priorities is also critical.
Our content strategy is tied to our business objectives, one component of which is always centered on customer success. The healthcare industry is facing seismic shifts in the way providers are reimbursed, moving away from the traditional model of fee for service to value based care. Our goal is to help customers achieve success by providing access to content that enables them to make better business decisions and solve problems quickly. I would describe our content process as primarily fixed. We have a very good idea of upcoming marketing events that we need to promote, slated product enhancements, or proposed system functionality changes. We are flexible and welcome opportunities to retool the strategy when necessary.
Seeing the metrics is instant gratification of course, but the most exciting confirmation is when I hear from customers at our industry conference or speak with them during our Advisory Panel. Typically the conferences will include an evening of fun where we mingle with customers. I shared a table with one of our hospital clients and they took a picture to commemorate the evening. The following year, they came to the conference and were having a conversation with my Senior Director. They said to me, “Hey, we remember you. We use the Customer Portal all the time. And, we have a picture of you!” Thank goodness the photo was a tame one.
Editor’s Note: Ms. O’Neal’s interview contains her own original thoughts and ideas. She is not speaking on McKesson’s behalf.
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