Defining and Realizing Consumer Centricity in Health Care

September 28, 2021 SmartBrief Season 1 Episode 2
Defining and Realizing Consumer Centricity in Health Care
Show Notes Transcript

There's nothing more personal than health. Yet health care is notoriously consumer-unfriendly, making the industry an increasingly glaring outlier as industries like retail transform the customer experience -- and consumer expectations. Customer experience expert Ingrid Lindberg hopes to close that gap. A veteran of Cigna and Prime Therapeutics, Lindberg says great consumer experience is fundamentally about delivering on the expectations a given brand has set for its customers. Learn what Ingrid teaches companies about to build trust, how she feels about her own health insurance customer experience, why Delta (the airline, not the virus) is winning right now, and how to -- in her words -- "make health care human."

This episode is brought to you by Wellframe

Additional Resources

Making information simple, helpful and easy to use, Cigna (including the Words We Use resource)

Let’s all agree that NO JARGON is a good thing. Customers sure do, Chief Customer

Words matter, Chief Customer

Melissa Turner -- 0:03  

Hello and welcome to Touchpoints, a conversation about care connection and costs in US healthcare. I'm your host Melissa Turner. I'm content director for healthcare and life sciences at SmartBrief. SmartBrief is a publisher of digital newsletters for professionals and creator of this and other shows in our series of SmartPod podcasts. In addition to overseeing production of SmartBrief healthcare content, I'm of course also a consumer of healthcare just like those of you listening. Together in each Touchpoints episode, we'll explore the issues that make healthcare hard for all of us, and we'll discuss how health plans, healthcare providers and their partners in the healthcare ecosystem can make it easier. Thank you for joining us.


Advertisement -- 0:54  

Touchpoints is sponsored by Wellframe. Wellframe works with health plans to reimagine member relationships. Their team believes that health plans are in the best position to lead the charge into the world of digital health management. Let Wellframe be your partner and improving member engagement and outcomes. Learn more at 


Melissa Turner -- 1:15  

Today, our topic is customer centricity. That's a term that was not widely discussed in healthcare until recently, even now, some would say there are many segments of healthcare that would benefit from a good dose of customer centricity. Here to talk about this topic is the original customer experience officer herself, Ingrid Lindberg, whom I absolutely adore speaking with. Ingrid, welcome to Touchpoints.


Ingrid Lindberg -- 1:38  

Thanks, Melissa. I'm so excited to be here today. Thanks for the invitation.


Melissa Turner -- 1:42  

So excited to have you. I want to share a bit of background for our listeners, Ingrid is described as a country's first CXO. Today she leads Chief Customer, which helps companies transform their own Cx, providing soup to nuts support with customer experience, and employee experience. Chief Customer's services range from design, VOC and strategy to implementation and culture change. Find Ingrid and Chief Customer at So Ingrid for our listeners who may not be familiar with your work. Can you share a bit of your background perhaps inside and outside of healthcare?


Ingrid Lindberg -- 2:19  

Sure, Melissa, I love to say I'm an accidental CXO. I'm an accidental customer experience officer. I started my career in late 90s in financial services and had the honor of working at American Express for many years where I somehow became a user experience designer, a long sordid story. And around 2002 I ran into an old financial services colleague who asked me if I was still working in finance, to which I answered yes. And he said, hey, we're building a health care company and we're going to try to bring a lot of financial services into healthcare, and that was Definity health, so I was lucky enough to get brought into Definity Health very early, helped to build the first health savings account in the nation that really launched consumerism and healthcare. And I had zero healthcare experience at that point in time. After Definity was sold to United, I went to Cigna for a bit and then was Chief Marketing Officer at Ceridian after that. And then [David] Cordani actually brought me back to Cigna in 2007 as the apparently the country's or the world's, depending on who you ask, first customer experience officer. So I led the transformation at Cigna from 2007 to 2012, from a business to business entity to a business to consumer entity. I spent about three years after the Cigna transformation doing the same work at Prime Therapeutics on behalf of all of the Blues plans and had the opportunity to work with many Blues plans while I was at Prime and then in 2015. I said you know what, I think I'm sick of making impact inside companies, I would rather help a bunch of companies make faster change. So we started Chief Customer. We are a team that's about 70 strong now, and I've got people who are so much smarter than I am who I've had the privilege of working with throughout the course of my career, who do everything that I don't know how to do. So that's us, and that's why and what we do. But, yep, lots of years of customer experience and user experience.


Melissa Turner -- 4:21  

So first customer experience officer, but certainly not the last. How common is that role now?


Ingrid Lindberg -- 4:28  

Oh my goodness. So I use this stat often because I just find it so overwhelming, In 2007 when I was offered this title of customer experience officer because David Cordani and the Chief Marketing Officer Michael Showalter had read a Harvard Business Review article saying everyone needs a CXO but there weren't any. I get this job offer, and I go to LinkedIn. I type in customer experience officer. There are zero results. I then type in customer experience. There are three results. Three, three people on LinkedIn with customer experience in their title in November of 2007. If you were to do that search today, it's upwards of 31 million people who now have customer experience somewhere in their title, a mere 14 years later. So it's changed a little bit, it's changed a little bit. I like to think we've gotten smarter, and companies have gotten wiser. And they've understood the importance of it. But it is definitely jumped pretty significantly over a very short amount of time.


Melissa Turner -- 5:31  

Those are incredible stats, what was it like for you to kind of define that role yourself?


Ingrid Lindberg -- 5:37  

So honestly, it was, I mean, completely frightening, right? I would walk into human resources. And I remember saying, I need to hire an architect, I need to hire a designer, who can design customer experiences across multiple channels. And they will say, well, we have business architects, and we have systems architects, and so you can't use either of those titles. And we were literally literally making up titles, right? voice of customer, analyst, customer experience, architect, voice of customer designer, which are now industry standards. And as a matter of fact, I was laughing with an old friend a couple of weeks ago, the Customer Experience Professionals Association, which I helped start many, many moons ago, is still using some of those job descriptions for titles in this industry. You know, did we do everything right? No. Were we completely learning as we went? Yes. Did we learn enough that I hope I can save some people from running their heads into brick walls? Definitely.


Melissa Turner -- 6:39  

Well, I'm excited we can take advantage of that hard won experience today. And that knowledge that you've built up over the years, what a great legacy. I want to jump into kind of defining customer experience. So how do you define it? And then what would you say makes a great customer experience?


Ingrid Lindberg -- 6:57  

Sure. So let's start with the definition that I have rallied myself and our company around over the last 15 years, the definition that I believe is the best is that customer experience is the sum of all interactions a person has with a brand throughout their lifetime. And the reason that we've gone with a sum of all interactions is because if you think about it, especially in health care, right, the first time you hear about Cigna, or united or a blues plan is when you're sitting at the kitchen table with your parents, and they're talking about how hard it is to understand a bill, right, you run into an employee wearing a lanyard that clearly has a brand on it. So there's all of these interactions that humans have with healthcare brands, long before they actually enter the system, and buy and try to transact with health care brands right? To the sum of all interactions a person has with the brand throughout their lifetime, when it comes to what makes a great experience. I think that gets super, super tricky for a lot of companies inside and outside of healthcare. 


Ingrid Lindberg -- 8:05  

And what I will tell you is the most important part about creating experiences is that you set expectations and then deliver on them. So we talk an awful lot about shoppers who go to nordstroms and shoppers who go to Costco, right, the average I think the average income of a Costco shopper is like $120,000 a year, which is actually pretty close to the average income of a Nordstrom shopper. You have completely different experiences in those two places. But Costco is very clear that you are going to need a massive shopping cart, you are going to have to play bumper cars with a bunch of crazy people, you may have to climb shelves to get your you know, 42 pack of coconut water versus Nordstrom where you walk in and goodness gracious depending on the day you wander into the personal shopping area, and it's kind of like walking into a spa. Right? Both companies have done exceptional jobs of setting expectations and then delivering on them. And they both offer great experiences even though they are completely different. So that's our point of view. Really great is so subjective, right? It's about what are you trying to deliver on? And then are you actually delivering on it?


Melissa Turner -- 9:19  

That's an incredible definition. And I love how universal it is, you know, whether your healthcare whether you're financial services or retail, that kind of speaks to any industry. I actually want to go back to your background for a moment and ask you about coming into healthcare from outside of healthcare. Was that an advantage? Was that a disadvantage? How did that inform your perspective on healthcare customer experience?


Ingrid Lindberg -- 9:49  

So such an interesting question, and it was a long time ago that I went and made that transition, and I have been lucky enough in the last six years to spend an enormous amount of time back in finserv, because we have a lot of financial services clients as well. But I'll never forget walking into Definity Health, and sitting in my first meeting and you know, Definity was started by a group of men that had all been consulting in healthcare for years. And there weren't that many of us there, right? And we're sitting in this meeting. And I think that I'm relatively smart. You know, I've just come out a big job at Amex, pulling Ameriprise out of American Express, you know. My career's doing pretty well. And I had never felt so stupid in my life. And I just sat there. And I was like, I have no idea what these people are talking about. I have no idea what this means. I have no idea how this works. And I think the role that I took at Definity, like most of us because it was a startup, was just business analyst, right. So I'd been like an SVP at Amex and get a business analyst title. ... But I think that inability to understand and that lack of knowledge that I had about how it's supposed to work has only helped me to represent consumers, and people within healthcare design, because I can look at things and say, I don't care why you made that decision. It makes no sense. And that I think, is super, super powerful. So an outside perspective has been helpful. It also gave me a really, really steep learning curve. And frankly, a need to prove myself again and again and again to a lot of these kind of lifetime health care people who would say what on earth do you know? you've spent your career in retail and financial services. So interesting, right? Interesting path. interesting journey.


Melissa Turner -- 11:39  

Yeah, absolutely. And yet, you know, hearing that you really set the standard for a lot of the terminology and definitions and things like that is pretty compelling stuff. Clearly, it worked for you. It worked. Right?


Ingrid Lindberg -- 11:50  

It worked. And hopefully it's working for others. That's the goal. We want to make this industry better for people.


Melissa Turner -- 11:56  

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I want to talk now about the healthcare industry. Obviously, this is not a space that has always been known for its stellar customer experience. Of course, there are reasons for that. But there has been a lot of talk about change in the last decade or so. I want to know how you'd characterize the healthcare cx status quo today. And if you feel like you've seen progress. 


Ingrid Lindberg -- 12:19  

It's such a hard thing to watch, I think, as someone who really has tried to drive change in the industry, so I would say kind of macro level. And we work within pharma and distribution and payer and provider. So we touch kind of everybody in the ecosystem, right? So there are some super, super bright spots where people are doing some cool work within organizations. But there's not an organization that I can say is just knocking it out of the park, and has really changed how they operate for the long term to do the right thing. I think that the industry has made some really good investments. I think that, you know, I go back to even, you know, 2007, 2008, when we were still requiring everyone to fax everything in, and you couldn't find a price anywhere, right? I mean, there was no such thing as transparency. We've made some progress. I think back to you know, back in 2008, we launched something at Cigna that we had branded The Words We Use, which was plain language definitions for healthcare. And Cordani, again, was incredibly kind and just allowed us to talk publicly about all of the market research we did, and share, share, share. And, you know, we saw a number of institutions, everything from, you know, the Affordable Care Act through tons of different insurers adopting the language guidelines we'd created in 2008. And then I think what happens is, you know, you start doing well, again, the economy recovers, people are feeling good, and you start to slip. And I think that that is I think that's where we're seeing right now, right, there's kind of this fall back again, to what has always been done, and what has always worked with really interesting investments around, you know, I feel like we have to build this one shiny, fancy thing. But we don't make it easy for someone to actually get to a human to ask a question. So I think we're in a spot where we're actually going to have to do some pretty hardcore thinking about, do we really mean it? Right? Do we really mean it as an industry? And if we do, when are we actually going to implement systemic change? And do things like stop asking people to fill out a permission slip to use a product they've paid for? Right? I mean, there's some stuff that we just have to get rid of. So you know, inflection point yet again.


Melissa Turner -- 14:40  

Yeah, absolutely. I want to go back to the plain language definitions for a moment. If you're able to speak about that in detail, can you maybe just give an example or to what you're talking about there? 


Ingrid Lindberg -- 14:51  

Oh my goodness. Sure. So once again, we did the research at Cigna in 2007. And then we launched it in 2008. At chief customer, we've continued to do the research on an annual basis to make sure that we're kind of keeping up and making sure that you know, we haven't missed anything. So what we continue to find and found as far back as 2007 were things like insurers love to use the word "provider" to talk about health care professionals. And we know that over 80% of people, when they hear the word provider, think about the ensure not about the physician, or the LPN, or the RN, or the dermatologist. So simple things like this term that we use. Another favorite one that I had was coinsurance. And we've seen this one vary a little bit, right? I think the original stat was like 51% of people. And now we're to like 48. So not really, statistically significant. People in America believe that coinsurance is the insurance that their spouse has. So there's just these terms that we made up in this industry. And frankly, people, consumers, your customers feel like you're purposely trying to confuse them with your language, in order to deny things or in order to, you know, make it harder for you to get a service or a product or whatever it may be. Provider side, healthcare professional side, insurance side or pharma side. So there's just, there's a ton of work that we've done around that. And frankly, even to this day, you can google "The Words We Use" and my name, and you can still find all of that original work out there. It's a beautiful piece of work, and it still holds true. 


Melissa Turner -- 16:30  

That's incredible. So back to that coinsurance point, what's, what's a better term?


Unknown Speaker -- 16:35  

Your share, the percentage you must pay, right? You think about what we've done to truncate information, because we were dealing with limited amount of text fields. I mean, the only reason that provider became a term was because we ran out of space, as we were listing all of the different types of people we covered. Come on, right?


Melissa Turner -- 17:01  

Yeah, so is this what you're talking about, when you talk about inflection points? We have the standard, there was a reason for insurers doing things the way that they did for as long as they did, we don't need to do it that way anymore. Is that the inflection point? 


Ingrid Lindberg -- 17:15  

We don't need to do it that way anymore. Why are we doing it that way anymore? Why have we chosen to continue to do that even when we have the data that shows us (not to)? It's a huge dissatisfier for people, there are so many things that we just know, really upset the people that we serve, right? We just know, we've learned it. We see it in the data, we hear it in calls, we you know, hear it on social media. I mean, there's just so much stuff that we can just point to, and say, yeah, we know that really ticked someone off, yet we continue to do it. And I think each of those become their own inflection point.


Melissa Turner -- 17:51  

Well, I want to zero in a little bit more closely now on health insurance. We want to squeeze as much advice as we can for our listeners today. So we talked about what makes a great customer experience being delivering on expectations. If you think about health insurance, what are those expectations? And then how do those feed into a great health insurance customer experience?


Ingrid Lindberg -- 18:16  

So I love talking about what actually makes a great health insurance customer experience. Because it's not that different from what makes a great shopping experience, or what makes a great financial services experience. As we have studied in business to business and business to consumer over you know, goodness, I mean, I can go back to I will say the late 90s. Again, right? So 25 years of studying this, my team and I, there is a model that we built that we have found we can apply to every single interaction, b2b, b2c b2b to see, regardless of industry. And it's just a simple hierarchy of needs, right? So I'll walk you through that. And then let's talk a little bit about just a couple examples in each because I'm all about go do this, this will have an impact. But what we've learned is the first thing is that companies have to focus on being easy and helpful, easy and helpful. That is your entry point to anything. The second thing that consumers expect is that you are repeatable and reliable. So first rung easy and helpful. Second, rung, repeatable and reliable. What we have learned studying people over the last 25 years, regardless of what buyer type you are, that's at the point where you're going to start asking questions of a company, you're actually gonna start asking questions. How do I do this? How can I do this? Because you started to establish trust, right? If you're easy and helpful, your service is repeatable and reliable. I feel like I can ask you some questions. It's like any relationship we have with anyone, right? 


Ingrid Lindberg -- 19:50  

The next thing that starts to happen now that we're asking questions, and we've established some trust, is a company earns the right to give advice or earns the right to as We love to talk about in health insurance engage. And it's just this very simple ladder up that far too often in our industry, we try to go ladder down. So we love to tell you what you need to do without actually being easy to do business with or helpful in our answers. We are never reliable, right? There's different answers every time you look at a different channel, there are different answers every time you look at a different document. So when I talk to large and small health insurance companies about ease and helpfulness, there are three things that we tell them to really focus on. The first is always around that language. That's understandable. If you aren't using language that is understandable to the people you serve. You can't get past easy and helpful, you just cannot. The second thing we tell people to focus on are your actual contact points. Right? Is it easy to find a phone number? Is it easy to log on to a website, I happened to have insurance through Blues plan, and I will tell you every single time I have to log on to that blues plans website, it is a mess. It doesn't understand who I am, it recognizes cookies, it's just -- I dread it so much. And I've continued to choose this Blues plan year over year, but I'm becoming more and more vocal about it and more and more annoyed by it as each passing year they don't fix something as simple as logging in, right? So are your contact points, easy to access for me? I shouldn't have to dig for things. I shouldn't have to find member IDs, you should know who I am, make it easy for me to get to you. And then the last thing under ease and helpfulness that we really talk about is about clear expectation setting. So we tend to hide things like formulary changes, we tend to kind of brush those underneath the rug and say, well, you're gonna find out when you show up on you know, January 2, and oh, it's gonna be messy, instead of doing things like calling someone and saying or sending them an email and saying, hey, I see that you take X drug, that's no longer going to be covered. Because internally, we think that's going to cost too much. And I just always go back to, how can you expect someone to ever want to take advice from you, if you're not helpful in the information that you share with them that will impact their lives, right? So those are three things that are really easy to start to tackle, just because you have to find them and go after them one after another. And then it just becomes part of how you do business. When you're talking about repeatability and reliability. That one's harder, right? There's we've undertaken audits at companies to make sure that every single answer set matches, and then you have to spin up teams, frankly, that ensure that it continues to match. Because repeatability and reliability are so key to trust. Right, they're so key to trust. And the last thing that I always tell people, it's just such an important thing to instill in your organization. When people do start asking you questions, tell them the truth, even when it's really hard. We tend in this industry to do a lot of blaming, right? Well, your employer doesn't allow for that, or the plan doesn't allow for that, right? There's a lot of kind of crosswalk and pointing instead of just saying that's not something that's covered. But let me problem-solve with you to find something that is or that means that medicine will no longer be on formulary, let me find you something and get your prescription transferred to our mail-order pharmacy so that we can do that for you. We just always kind of stop short of that. Take it across the finish line. So it's a lot of a lot of kind of basic blocking and tackling. But we're not doing it and building the new app or updating the new app or having a great social media campaign is actually not going to solve for those if you're just too hard to do business with and you're not reliable. That's what consumers are after again and again.


Advertisement -- 24:07  

Touchpoints is sponsored by Wellframe. Wellframe works with health plans to reimagine member relationships. They believe health plans have the knowledge and resources to support more people across more touch points in their healthcare journey. Wellframe solutions for care management and advocacy empower members in health plan staff to achieve their best in the most wonderfully human way possible. Make sure your members feel confident, cared for and supported by their health plan. Don't miss this moment. See how a digital health management strategy would benefit your plan at 


Melissa Turner -- 24:44  

Well, that's powerful stuff. Ingrid listening to you. You know, on some levels, it sounds not simple, but straightforward. And it sort of makes me wonder why has it taken so long for these ideas to be adopted across the health insurance industry. At the same time, you know, some of these, these organizations have been around for a long time, and health insurance is not straightforward. It's not like ordering shoes online, which, you know, kind of gets cited a lot when we talk about customer experience and health care. What do you say to that argument that health insurance is hard, and so CX is, CX is hard in the health insurance space.


Ingrid Lindberg -- 25:24  

If I had $1, for every time, I've been told that, you know, healthcare is really hard. Really hard. So I would say, first of all, I think that the industry hides behind the complexity that it's created. And it has created the complexity for bureaucracy, right? I mean, it's just for bureaucratic purposes. In most cases, I will tell you that financial services was also really hard, it was really hard. We would send you phone books of prospectuses and make you choose really complex things as a human who didn't understand financial services. And we solved that by building products like lifestyle management funds, and target retirement funds, where now instead of having to read 1000s of pages of documents to figure out what your best personal investment strategy would be, you could simply click on something that says I want to retire in 2040. It's just as complex as healthcare. And we figured out how to simplify it, and make it really easy and helpful for consumers. So I would say I think that as an industry, we have continued to hide behind the complexity we've created in health insurance. And one of the examples that I really love to talk about is we did some work with a large firm, and we went after prior authorizations, right, the proverbial, yes, you have to have your permission slip. And what we did was we went through and we audited every single prior auth they were doing, and then we figured out what the cost of the denial was on that prior auth. So how many times do people have to call us back, and how many people were upset? How many people left the plan after that, right, within 12 months, did you leave the plan, not because you were forced by an employer, but because over 80% of Americans have another choice now. And what we found, when we actually did the cost benefit analysis for these prior auths was that 49% of them could be turned off, because the amount of work and cost to actually run those prior auths was more significant than the savings. And all we had done as an industry as a company was just continue to add prior auth on top of prior auth, on top of prior auth. So hiding behind the complexity of the industry that we've created. Because of bureaucracy, there's another great one that we saw that I just absolutely love to share with people, we were doing some work with a pretty major financial services institution in their banking and their underserved banking area. And one of the decisions that we got to was that we were no longer going to bounce the first check. So if you ran out of funds in your checking account, we would not allow that first check to bounce, we would cover it, we would not give you an egregious fee, we would just cover it. Now, we would then contact you have a conversation with you, we would say Melissa, you bounced check, your funds are down, we're going to have to bounce the next one that comes. We'll have to deny it, that transaction check, use whatever word you want, right, we're going to have to deny that transaction. And what we found was that the vast majority of people were simply just a day or two away from being able to bridge that and simply not bouncing that first check that first transaction was such a difference maker for them that we were able to actually change people's wealth patterns by that decision. Didn't cost the bank any more money, didn't harm them financially, they were actually able to get long term loyal customers who change their financial profile over the course of years, simply by saying it's not worth the pain that we were causing for doing that first transaction doubts. And that's bureaucracy at its best, right?


Melissa Turner -- 29:12  

That's incredible, really powerful example in financial services. I want to ask, we're gonna go back to prior auth because I think a lot of our listeners will be interested and that their ears probably perked up when you talked about turning off 49% of prior auths, maybe a difficult pill to swallow? When you do that, what is the impact? So you've talked about, you know, you're going to you're not losing money by turning off that 49%? What is the impact for consumers? Is there a retention metric? What happens? 


Ingrid Lindberg -- 29:46  

So what we saw in that specific situation, we had built a model where we were attributing different pieces of the experience to an overall experience score that we had created. And the reason Isn't that we had made the decision to go after prior auths was that we saw that prior auths were one of the biggest derailleurs to long term loyalty in that customer experience score for this company. Okay, so we've done the work, we figured out where the pain points were, we said, goodness, prior auths are really bad. This is a big pain point for this, these millions of people, right. And so what we were able to do over the course of time, was to see prior authorizations shrink as a derailer, to my overall customer experience for so it went from 10% of that total score, down to 2% of that total score over the course of the following three years. Meaning there were other things that impacted the score positively and negatively. But we were then able to prioritize where we needed to go next. So at the end of the day, right, we've got a lot of movement in plans, whether it's employer choice, whether it's consumer choice, whether it's government choice, but when you can actually see, so I struggle with kind of long term models and a lot of cases, you know, we see people staying for three, three and a half years on average, you know, if you're in Medicare, Medicaid, that's lower sometimes, you know, state by state. So it gets really convoluted when you're looking at that long term, often, but being able to see the impact, an aggregate of what's taking people off, and watching that drop that significantly is just a good thing. It's just good business.


Melissa Turner -- 31:28  

Yeah, absolutely. So I want to kind of try to boil this down to some takeaways for our listeners. So say I am a health plan leader, I love everything you've said, I want to do what you're talking about, I want to make healthcare easy. I want to be helpful to my customers. Obviously, we can't cram years long consulting engagement with you into this episode. But kind of at a high level, where do I start? And what is my strategy?


Ingrid Lindberg -- 31:55  

Sure. So I think the first thing that I'll say when we're talking, you know, when we walk in, and we talk to health plan leadership is and I'm horribly biased in this, Melissa, so I'll preface with this, I believe that we have such an opportunity for some humanity in health insurance, right? We started cannon-balling out t shirts at events that have you know, hashtag "make healthcare human" on the back of them, again, that make healthcare human, because it was just such a, it was just so obvious that we have really disassociated from the people that we served, right? We'd really disassociated as an industry, from the people that we served. So what I tell people is, you have a great opportunity in this environment where humanity is so key, because these are such big decisions for people to really focus around humanity. Now, that's my bias. But the thing that you have to actually decide first is Who are you as an insurer? Are you a transactional superpower? Are you high-touch service? Are you going to be the company that is going to make sure that you are available all the time, and you are solving things for people? If you can't decide that as an entity first, you're not going to get off the starting blocks. So once you've really figured out with the leadership team, what bucket are you going to fit into? Are you going to be Costco? Or are you going to be Nordstrom? Because they're two very different things, both incredibly successful, with very different expectation and delivery sets, right? So once you've made that decision as an organization, then you actually have to go through and define what your services and products will look like. Because you have to match who you are. That's that promise, right? If we say we are Costco, get your big cart, be prepared for war every time you come in, especially if you're in Florida, and it Snowbird season, watch out. We are setting an expectation, and you have to set that expectation. So stop pretending like you're going to be this high-touch high-service entity when you're not going to make it easy for people to get to you. Just say, we're going to be transaction centric, we're going to be the cheapest, we're not going to be the best experience. But you have to define that. And then you have to actually match your services and products to that. And the last kind of just 1-2-3 punch on this one, right? Is you ask your employees where you're going wrong. So we've told you what we want to be like, we're changing our products and services to match what we're telling the market we want to be like. And then frankly, you just have to ask your team, what are we doing that doesn't match those statements? And it gives you such a clear level of prioritization in a quick and dirty way, right? Where should we focus? What do we need to change? And that generally is you know, if we're, if we're looking for the five cent advice moment, right? What do I do now? How do I start now, ask your employees where you're going wrong. They will tell you every time and that list will be long and fierce and you can tackle it, because they know, they know.


Melissa Turner -- 34:56  

That's a great piece of advice and raises another question I want to ask which is I know that you obviously work in CX, but you also consult around employee experience. What's the relationship between the two?


Unknown Speaker -- 35:08  

Oh, goodness. So I love that one. I love that one. I, it's how once again, it sounds so basic, right? But we're just not good at it. So it was I was at Cigna, it was 2010. So I was three years into this big massive transformation of a 200-year-old company. And I was I'm sure, you know, barking at someone for not having done something I'm sure, I'm sure, and I felt the weight of the world on my head, right? And I got pulled aside by a man by the name of Jeff Capelle. And Jeff was like a program manager and it at the time, and he pulled me aside and he said, Hey, can we have drinks tonight? Because I want to tell you some stuff. And I was like, yeah, sure, great. And so we went out for drinks. And he said, look, here's what you need to understand. There are thousands of us here who have been here for 20 or 25 years. And everything that you're saying you need to change are the things that were built on our backs with blood, sweat, and tears. We will help you change this company. Because we love this company. We used to talk about bleeding teal at Cigna back before we rebranded it, right? You bled teal, and he said, but the thing is, you actually have to ask us to help you. And it once again, right, it sounds so basic. But Melissa, we didn't talk about bringing employees into customer experience, or, frankly, even into large scale companies, strategies until recently, right? So I did, I was very clear, I sat down, I gathered this group of employees who had been there who were all, you know, kind of director, senior director level, and I asked them for help. And that was the moment where we started speeding up our delivery. And it was just incredible. I mean, the changes were catastrophic in such a good way. And we're just so rapid paced, and it was because that group of people stood up behind the change, and said, What's in it for me is that my pension will be funded. And that was the moment where I went, Okay, so there's something to this belief structure. At that time, I just talked about employee engagement, right? We've turned it now to be Ex drives Cx. Employee experience drives customer experience, because if you don't have employees who are being treated well, who are a part of active decision making, who get to design solutions with you, you're never going to have a great Cx. And we're seeing it all over America right now in all sorts of industries that are just struggling to get people in the door. Dining out is a whole new world right now. They're understaffed, it's hard, a perfect example of Ex drives Cx. And I will argue that in health care, I don't care how much you automate. I don't care how much we bring online. Everything that we do is touched by a human somewhere. We build things, we make decisions, we create that automation, we design things, and the better your employees feel about why we're doing what we're doing, and feel a part of why we're doing what we're doing, your outcome is just going to be better and you'll actually see it in your Cx scores. So we've now been able to correlate employee experience scores rising to customer experience scores rising.


Melissa Turner -- 36:58  

Incredible stuff. I sense an episode in the future perhaps on employee experience, maybe you can come back to talk about that.


Ingrid Lindberg -- 38:38  

Let's talk about employee experience. We know that's a fabulous topic and so important especially during this war for talent, right? 


Melissa Turner -- 38:45  

Well I want to ask you -- your Costco and Nordstrom examples made me chuckle a little bit -- you know, as somebody who lives and breathes this stuff, what is it like for you in your regular life you know, you go to the grocery store the gas station? Are you just noticing Cx everywhere you go?


Ingrid Lindberg -- 39:02  

I am the most horrific person to be in public with ever you know, that horrible old movie with the "I see dead people?" I see bad customer experiences everywhere, right? So I tend to because I spent so many years in design right? Back in those Amex days doing product design and website design and then into Definity doing multi-channel design, I just see how things can be better often. Generally always. What my friends and family have forced for me is that I have to talk to three people about good design or good experiences before I'm allowed to talk and give feedback about bad. And I am a feedback giver, right? So I am the queen of, uh you know, hey manager, this staff person was incredible because of blank or, Hey, you know, I happen to know you because you're the VP at insert telepharmacy here, and I've known you for 20 years, let me tell you about this incredible experience I had at your pharmacy, I have learned to balance the super good with the opportunity. So I'm on a three to one ratio. But I know enough people in this industry that if you see my name, pop into your inbox know that you're probably getting some feedback.


Melissa Turner -- 40:19  

Good to know, but three to one ratio. So it'll be hopefully, yeah balances out, right? Well, I want to end with a little inspiration, perhaps from back outside of healthcare. I just wanted to ask if you want to share a great experience you've seen that listeners inside the industry can learn from 


Ingrid Lindberg -- 40:40  

Oh, you know, I think it's interesting because I wrote about this a lot over the last 18 months, you can find all sorts of stuff about just really amazing small businesses and large businesses out on our blog at chief customer calm. But I think the company that has just done incredible work specifically over you know, the, from the beginning of COVID debacle to today is Delta Air Lines. And the reason I talk about Delta -- and I rag on Delta all the time, I am a multimillion miler with Delta, I've got the fancy status -- I tweeted once that you're tweeting me like a geode, not a diamond, you know, I've been horrible to Delta over the years. But Delta has gone so far above and beyond in how they're thinking about recovery. And whether it was, you know, they kept middle seats blocked longest, they were the first airline to say, you can cancel anything, right, you'll get a credit, we're not going to ding you for canceling a trip in the middle of COVID, to how they treated their staff. They asked their pilots who would like early retirement so that we don't have to lay people off, the way that they have approached the way that they have run through this, the first airline to do you know, the full defogging between every flight and changing all of their schedules to match it, all the way through the announcement that they made last week that they're extending your loyal status through 2023. Now, but if you were someone who actually traveled during this time, that you're going to go higher in the queue, because they appreciated you all the way to, I know that I don't have enough staff to answer your calls. And you have our long waits. That humility from a CEO, and the connectivity to the staff. And I'm very lucky to know an enormous number of Delta AirLine employees, both in corporate and executive roles, and in the planes right and in the planes. And people really do believe in what they're doing. And I think it's showing up perfect Ex drives Cx in the service they're delivering on these planes right now and have been throughout everything we've experienced with COVID. Delta has just been amazing to watch on so many different levels.


Melissa Turner -- 43:04  

You talk about making healthcare human again, that sounds like an awful lot of humanity going on at Delta that we can all see and it's clearly having an impact.


Ingrid Lindberg -- 43:14  

It is, look at their stock, they're kicking butt. It all comes back right? it all comes back to, do the right thing and generally you will be rewarded. So Delta is one to give a high five to the next time you see a Delta employee.


Melissa Turner -- 43:28  

Well, that's a great note to close on. Thank you so much, Ingrid Lindberg. You can find Ingrid and her team at Ingrid. It is always a pleasure talking with you.


Ingrid Lindberg -- 43:38  

Thanks so much for the time today, Melissa, lovely to catch up.


Melissa Turner -- 43:43  

Thank you for listening. I hope you enjoyed today's conversation and learned something too. You can check out SmartBrief's healthcare newsletters by going to and hitting the blue subscribe button. Be sure to spread the word and subscribe to the Touchpoints podcast. Finally, a huge shout out to our friends at the Shift.Health content network.


Advertisement -- 44:08  

Touchpoints is sponsored by Wellframe. Wellframe works with health plans to reimagine member relationships. Their digital health management platform empowers members and health plans to achieve their best. Let Wellframe be your strategic partner in providing innovative solutions that improve the member experience. Learn more at