Jeff Tobe, dubbed “The Guru of Creativity” by Insider Magazine, will be the keynote speaker at the 9th Annual HEDIS® & Quality Improvement Summit, Oct. 23-25, in Miami. His topic: How to create a new customer experience in health care.

Want to improve your members experience and earn their loyalty? The key, Tobe says, is to disrupt the status quo.

Tobe, author of the books, “Coloring Outside the Lines,” and “ANTICIPATE: Knowing What Customers Need Before They Do!,” says the trap that many organizations fall into is never making meaningful change because “that’s the way we’ve always done things.” That type of thinking will no longer suffice in a competitive marketplace.

The secret to member engagement is to shatter their expectations, says Tobe, a featured speaker at The 9th annual HEDIS® & Quality Improvement Summit, which will be held Oct. 23-25 at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel.

“It’s almost a difference in mindset. You need to think about the end-to-end member experience and aim to shatter the experience your customer expects to have,” he says.

To start, he suggests that health plan leaders identify all the touch points the organization has with their members. “Think about how you connect with the members during those touchpoints and who owns each touchpoint,” he says.

For example, think about a typical experience that patients have when they call their doctors’ office. If a human being doesn’t immediately answer, they may receive an “on hold” message or they hear a series of prompts on the phone. “Someone has to own this touch point and can have an opportunity to influence the customer experience . . . You have to get the team together to figure out how to tweak that little touch point, that on hold message to change the end-to-end experience,” he says.

Another successful strategy: think about ways to improve the experience of your internal customers–your employees.  “My entire theory is the more engaged your internal customers are, the better the experience externally,” he says, noting that the key is for internal engagement to take place at the grassroots level and not from management down.

Tobe used the example of one of his clients, an insurance company in Florida, that wanted to improve customer engagement. It's first step was to establish a task force. Each department in the organization had a representative and the task force met monthly, but instead of the external customer, the group talked about employee engagement. One of their ideas had a great impact. The group arranged to have a different food truck arrive outside the office building every Thursday. Even though employees had to pay for the food themselves, everyone was excited to see what type of food was available.

“The results were incredible, they redid their net promoter score a year later and it had gone up almost 10 percent,” he says. “There was no other thing they could attribute to it, other than employees were more engaged and it was contagious, and they engaged their external customer as a result.”

The net performer score, he says, is an essential measurement because the survey asks how likely the customer would be to recommend the organization to a friend, neighbor, or a family member. All organizations must know where they stand with this measure, according to Tobe.

“Even if your average is 8.5, you can work to raise the bar so next year you’ll get a 9 when you do the survey again,” he says.

Editor’s note: Tobe’s keynote presentation, “Coloring Outside the Lines: Creating a New Customer Experience in Health Care,” will be held on the first day of the main conference, Thursday, Oct. 24, at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. Click here for the complete agenda and registration information.