In this episode Coach JPMD interviews his younger brother Laurent Pierre, Jr. The conversation focuses on what healthcare providers can do to encourage the best patient experience. Having empathy towards your patient’s concerns can help create a meaningful experience and boost your practice’s ratings. Laurent talks about how his team helps solve customer problems and the engagements that are necessary to keep his clients coming back and purchasing more services. This episode was a fun one for Coach JPMD and we hope that this episode will teach you things that will help improve your patients’ experience in your practice. You can follow or message Laurent on LinkedIn here. Don’t forget to share this episode with a doctor friend or colleague.
Welcome to the Practice Impossible Podcast where your host Jude A., Pierre MD, also known as Coach JPMD discusses medical practice topics that will guide you through the maze that is the business of medicine, and teach you how to increase profits, and help populations live long. Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to listen and be transformed. Now, here's your host, Coach JPMD.
Coach JPMD 0:25
Hey there, thank you for listening to the practice impossible podcast. And before we get into the episode and listen to the intro, I'd like you to do one thing, if you can just pause this episode right now, and share it with one doctor friend that you might know. Thank you for doing that. This will let me know that I have your support and continuing this podcast. Thank you for your support. And here we go. So in this episode, I'm going to be getting some brotherly advice on how to improve your patients experience with my own brother, Laurent Pierre Jr. Okay, so how many of you out there can say that you can get good advice from your younger sibling? Well, I'm blessed to say that I can. We also had a mom that always inspired us to reach for the highest level. And I think that inspired us to do what we do. And my brother who graduated from Howard University, just like myself, he couldn't stay away from me, he's two years younger than I am. And he just couldn't stay away. So he joined me at Howard, when I was in my junior year, or was it my sophomore year? And today, we're joined by him. And he's going to give us a his advice on how he manages to provide the best customer experience for his clients. Now, my brother is not a doctor, and he doesn't work in the healthcare field. But he is general manager and has your customer experience at Microsoft, and works with the US government, and provides customer experience and customer support for them. So why would I have him on a practice impossible podcast talking about patients and health care? That's because I think he brings a lot of information to the space, he's given me a lot of advice on running my practice and, and also, you know, some of his experience as a patient, as well, in the healthcare field with dealing with different issues. So I thought he would be great to interview because of his knowledge and experience. And I thought it'd be fun. And so you might wonder, what is Azure support? Well, Azure is Microsoft's version of the cloud, cloud computing. So they store a lot a lot of information and data, just like Amazon cloud and IBM Cloud. Azure is the Microsoft Cloud. And as you know, as you run a business, as you run your medical practice, as you see patients in the emergency room or in the hospitals, you have to provide the best customer experience or patient experience to your patient population. Otherwise, patients don't go back, they complain, and they don't really do what you want them to do. So our discussion is going to be centered around how to improve your patients experience from an expert in customer experience. So here we go. So today, we're talking about customer experience. And for a couple of months now, I've been trying to figure out how am I going to get my brother to be on the practice impossible podcasts? And he's not a doctor, he's not in the medical field. But he's really helped me understand customer experience and, and really what it means in terms of patient experience. So welcome Laurent Pierre, Jr, to the practice impossible podcast. So I want you to tell us a little bit about yourself.
Laurent Pierre, JR 3:30
Thank you, Coach JPMD, for having me. So you know, customer experience is one of my favorite topics to discuss. So obviously, that's going to be your your great Segway to get me here. So customer experience. I've been working with customers for quite some time when I graduated from Howard in DC a long time ago. So I won't date myself. One of the things that I was trying to figure out is, what do I want to do? Do I want to go into finance? Or do I want to go into IT. And I ended up doing both for probably the first five or six years of my career, and then just fell in love with technology and what it can do for customers, and more importantly, what it could do for your regular consumer. And so that's pretty much when I decided that I was going to go all in into the customer experience management arena. And 20 years later, I'm enjoying it. And it's still as fun as it was when I first started.
Coach JPMD 4:23
So you say customer experience, but you weren't doing.. well, I guess you were doing customer service because I remember you working on the Senate or Capitol Hill or whatever. I mean, a lot of stuff that you did, I didn't even understand So can you tell me about a little bit what you did in the early days of your career?
Laurent Pierre, JR 4:38
Sure. In the early probably mid 90s right after college, I had my first job out of college was working on Capitol Hill for a company at the time called Intelligence Solutions and now I believe Lighthouse purchased them and literally that was my first experience working for a software company. And back then, you would hear terms such as customer service, and usually dealing with billing subscriptions. Those types of things, then customer support, or technical support is dealing with technology, enterprise software helping fortune 500 customers. And so my first role out of college was literally working with our Senate customers, our congressional staffers. And we basically, were there every day on the hill, helping our Senate offices engage with their constituents with our software. And that was my first experience working not only with that type of software, but also understanding that each senate office had their own needs, each congressional office had their own needs as well. At the time, I didn't realize that customer experience was the umbrella that I was working under. But as a consultant, part of what we're doing is understanding what it was that our customers were looking to get out of our software. And so once you understood that, basically, you work backwards to deliver and make sure that they were reaching their outcomes as customers. And as the years went on every role that I had, I picked up some new skills along the way. And that's pretty much how I got into this area of the business and been loving it ever since.
Coach JPMD 6:09
And this is exactly what you studied at Howard, right? This is, you know, you had an IT degree there and...
Unknown Speaker 6:17
Not at all actually. So so I went in with the idea that I was going to go around the world and travel and be an international business person. And life had...
Coach JPMD 6:29
And that was your major?
Laurent Pierre, JR 6:29
That was in my undergrad and subsequent to that I went and earned my MBA in finance and management as you remember. And that also wasn't a path that I followed. But it's been instrumental in helping me and being able to marry my technology experience with my business experience. And that's helped me engaging with customers all over the country around the globe. But more importantly, that inextricable link between finance, IT, and customer experience, that helped me tremendously as I've been working with different companies over the years.
Coach JPMD 7:05
And so one of those companies, I think, was a small company. Had some people on the podcast might have heard of and that's IBM. I think you worked for IBM at one point, right? What'd you do there?
Laurent Pierre, JR 7:15
I did. So IBM. So I spent 14 years at IBM interesting story on IBM. So my entire career, I've actually avoided working for IBM until IBM acquired the company that I was working for. So at that time, it was a strange entry period into the company. But it was the best decision to stay that I've ever made. Because at IBM, I learned all types of things around revenue recognition, understanding different industries. At the time, IBM had a great vertical experience and expertise. And so I was able to service customers literally in retail, manufacturing, healthcare, automotive, energy, all types of customers. And that really deepened my knowledge for not only the industry challenges, but also the different types of things that we had to do to support the variety of customers that we came across over the years.
Coach JPMD 8:09
And so can you kind of help us to, help the audience understand your transition from IBM to another small company, Microsoft. How'd you end up doing that? Because I still can't figure out how he went and did that jump. And I think, I know from what I've, you've told me, you're doing pretty well there. So what are you doing at Microsoft that can relate to some of the things that we talk about, and you help me with in terms of understanding customer experience, or patient experience?
Laurent Pierre, JR 8:36
Fair enough. So Microsoft, the journey to Microsoft was, was also an interesting one, where Microsoft reached out via LinkedIn. And we started having some conversations and one conversation led to another. And I ended up being the general manager for the US government support delivery. And what's interesting about my role currently, is although I'm working with the US government, I'm around a lot of my colleagues who are working with literally 95% of all fortune 500 companies are using Azure, the Azure services, the cloud technology, etc. And so I've been able to really leverage if you take a look at my entire career, it's a combination of all of the things that I've been learning, acquiring, experiencing throughout each of my each of the companies I work for, to be able to deliver the work that I do today. So I have an amazing team of folks spread across the country that are delivering the highest level of support, engaging with our customers and helping them with the nation's most critical issues from COVID delivery, to helping our national security to helping the department all the departments that you can imagine across the US government. So very proud of the team that I have. But more importantly, the work that I'm doing is what I would consider extremely meaningful in terms of what we're delivering for our customers.
Coach JPMD 9:55
Yeah. And so you know, as we kind of try to figure out how this all connects to practicing medicine, you know, physicians, you know, we're not taught how to, you know, engage in, in customer experience or patient experience, we know how to treat heart attacks and strokes. But there's a level of business acumen that we need to as physicians understand. So how does customer experience and your experience with, you know, what you've done over the past 20 years translate or is related to patient experience? I know that you're not medical, but go ahead.
Laurent Pierre, JR 10:30
It's a great question. So if you take a look, for example, and then a shameless plug for Microsoft Cloud for healthcare, we're transforming the healthcare journey for patients. And for doctors. Think about how you want to, as a physician, want to enhance a patient engagement, from the time they call your office for scheduling, to when they come in to the care and advice and guidance that you're giving them, how you access their information, people want to know that their data is secure, they want to know that it's accessible only to those that need to have it, they want to make sure that their last visit was captured. So they're not having to repeat themselves over again. And they also want to know that from a delivery and experience perspective, a patient experience, they want to know that they can trust their doctor. And so all of that is related in the sense that when you're providing a patient experience, it's the N 10 journey, a lot of people look at, for example, the patient experience as a transactional, you go to the ATM machine, you put in your card, and you take money out, and you're done. But if you're really caring for your patient, it's about the whole patient. Sometimes patients come in, they're in a healthy state. And sometimes they're just coming to do a wellness check. It's how the the bedside manner that you provide to your patients, is the equivalent of how my team is engaging with customers to solve their technical problems, right. And so what we try to do is create that experience that customers not only will remember that XYZ person treated them well, but solve their problem. But also they showed a level of empathy, around the problems that they came with, how they're engaging with them, and making sure that that you, as their physician understand the challenges that they're facing. And sometimes it may not even be medical, maybe something at home, but during the time that you spend, and I know physicians have to allocate a certain amount of time because they have a full stack of patients or to go through during the day. But all of those things matter at every, what we like to call, "touch points" in the customer experience journey, you have to be able to, from the time they walk into your practice, they need to feel that your team your staff cares, but more importantly, when they see you as their physician, that you care about what they are coming to you for as well.
Coach JPMD 10:42
Yeah, and you know, brings me to or you remind me of a patient of I actually spoke to last night at 5:30, after, after hours, she had left a message for me to call her back. And it was a question that she had. And I have a system in place where we use the computer system to leave messages, and one of the things I try to do is return my patient messages. And it could be four or five patients who want to a call back. And then I totally understand exactly what you're saying, because it's not just the treating the patient in the office, but it's answering a question after hours, because one of the first things she said was, "oh my god, you're calling me back in the same day. That is awesome. Thank you for doing that." And she was appreciative of that, that experience that we created for her. So you know, I know that you've you know, had a you know, have gone through your experiences sometimes with medical and so what what are some of the good and bad experiences that you've faced and that has made you think, Man, I wish we had a different customer experience when I went to this doctor or I went or had this experience.
Laurent Pierre, JR 13:43
So I will share one that happened literally this week. So I went for my lab work and I won't say which facility I went to. But the person that was drawing doing the drawing my blood, the phlebotomist just had the worst bedside manner. From the time she opened the door to greet me to the time she sat down. It was just just a poor experience all together. As I was explaining to her kind of the difficulties of drawing on my arm, etc. She could care less about what it was that I had to say. She didn't want to know which areas to poke nothing of the nature of that nature. And I was sitting there thinking to myself, how is this person interfacing with customers all day? And and I always wonder what if because it comes natural when I encounter a poor customer experience, whether I'm at Publix or at the store, and someone who's just just not happy engaging with customers. And to me, I just kept thinking to myself, I hope this is gonna I hope she gets it right on the first time. Which guess what? Two pokes later? Oh, we we finished that transaction, I would say and literally she was 100% transactional in her engagement. And I'll be honest, if if I go back, I will definitely request someone different just because of the experience that I had there. And that's just what what should be a what's usually a anxiety high situation finding the right phlebotomist to draw blood. But in this case, when you add poor experience to that, it just makes it a memorable experience for the wrong reasons.
Coach JPMD 15:17
Yeah. And so what are, can you give me an example of a great customer experience in healthcare and that you can share with and maybe a physician looking at listening out there might be really kind of emulate?
Laurent Pierre, JR 15:28
Sure. I mean, if you take a look at COVID, a lot of physicians have had to step up their game with telemedicine, some physicians that never done it before. And some interactions may be awkward, some didn't have the technology, some just decided they're not going to do it at all. And so when I engage with my physicians, one of the things is that it's important, some people sort of devalued the small talk that happens around family, "How are things? Work? etc", and just dive into it in some of the physicians that I have. What I appreciate the most is that they remember the last conversation, they actually remember the notes that they took, they actually are asking about the story that I shared about my family, because I'm always talking about my kids, my wife, daughter, except my daughter, my sons. And those are the kind of things that, that keep me with a particular physician. But when you have an experience where a physician is transactional, I'm going to keep using that word, because the word transactional is synonymous with someone who's not really interested in building that relationship. And that's what's the most important piece between a patient and a doctor, a customer and a Technical Support Centre, it's building that relationship, knowing that that person not only cares, but also is interested in your well being.
Coach JPMD 16:47
You hit it right on the nose. You know, many, many of the episodes in the interview the guests that I've had, have mentioned relationships, and, and even some, many of the books that we read the emotional intelligence, we talked about relationship management, and understanding how to manage relationships is key and connecting with people. And so how do you measure that good customer experience on your side? And so in the IT world, you're dealing with, you know, the federal government, you're dealing with fortune 500 companies? How do you measure the customer experience?
Laurent Pierre, JR 17:19
Sure. So customer experience starts from the time the customer goes to our website to try download experience, Azure experience our products and services, it starts with a customer chatting with a sales representative to find out how much XYZ service or product is going to cost. And so from that point, that end to end journey, that's, that's part of the things that we need to be measuring. So in the customer service support space, we have something called Net Promoter Score, also known NPS. And that's a scale of one to 10. If you've ever gone shopping online, or if you've ever gone to a store, you get an email that says, Dr. Pierre, how would you recommend our company or product or services to your friend or or family? That and Net Promoter Score is one element of that. A lot of companies use something called C-Set. Customer satisfaction, it's a scale from one to five. Rate us on how well we did with this particular thing that you came to us for. Another metric is how did you solve the problem on the first time? Or did the customer have to come multiple times to get the problem solved? Time to resolution is another metric as well, what was the length of time from the time the customer called us to when the issue was resolved. And so there's a variety of other things as well, that we use, but those are the key ones that that we look at, because these are the things that make a memorable experience for our customers. But I would say one more thing that can you really measure it, it's consistent quality delivery, right? So you can't have an experience where on Monday you come to the company, and you experience great service. And on Wednesday, you experience not so great service, the service has to be consistent throughout the interaction. But more importantly, once the interaction is done, you also have to have a close feedback loop that makes sure that feedback good or bad that the customer provides is responded to, actions are taken, especially when the feedbacks not great, and that you follow up with the customer and say, we heard what you said about your recent experience, here are the things that we did to fix it. Here's my personal information to engage with me, should you have any problems in the future. And that's something that that close feedback loop. A lot of companies miss that because they're focused on too much metrics and not enough experience.
Coach JPMD 19:34
Yeah, and physicians tend to not do that. Because of the I think the fear, at least in my realm or my, my practice, sometimes you fear what's going to happen on the other side. You know, if the patient does not have an improved customer experience, and you're fearful that they're going to come back at you or say something that's negative, but I see that as a positive because if we haven't fixed a problem, then we haven't fixed the problem. So we need to keep working on it. And so what we do is we have weekly meetings, weekly staff meetings to kind of go over stuff. But I have to say that I'm not, I'm definitely not as good as as getting feedback from patients who have had issues that we've resolved. So that's, that's definitely something I would think about doing. And so that answers my that was one of my other questions. How do you how do you improve it? And I think you've answered that. So what would be one thing that you could tell a doctor, such by telling them this one thing that would help everything else? What would you say that one thing would be to telling a physician.
Laurent Pierre, JR 20:35
Definitely it has to be you have to manage your practice with empathy. You have to keep the customers at the center of every decision that you make, from scheduling, the way you have your seating, your processes for intake, your engagement with the customer, it starts with empathy. So if you cannot empathize with your customer situation, if you don't focus your energies, on what the customer experience is, remember, it comes from the time they call your office to schedule an appointment, that's when it starts. And so for that, the one thing I would say is that if you put the customer at the center of every decision that you're making, you will have customers for life, we have a, there's a financial term around customer lifetime value, right, and it's a revenue metric. But from a medical practice perspective, you pretty much want to have a customer for life. And how you get that is by creating those memorable experiences, making sure your customers, your patients have an emotional connection to your practice that says I moved 20 miles away, but I'm going to drive 20 miles to go see Dr. Pierre, because of the way his staff treated me, because of the way he showed empathy, because of the way he shows that he cares. And he helped me even when it was an issue that was outside of his practice, he found me a specialist for XYZ situation for my daughter. Those that are kind of above and beyond types of things that I would recommend every doctor in America that does.
Coach JPMD 22:08
You just described how to Practice Impossible, my brother, so...
Laurent Pierre, JR 22:13
Coach JPMD 22:14
I truly appreciate this conversation and you've gone beyond the expectations of a younger brother.
Laurent Pierre, JR 22:22
Wow, coming from you. That's a big deal right there. Is this recorded?
Coach JPMD 22:27
It is recorded. Yes, it will be recorded and online.
Laurent Pierre, JR 22:30
I'll be sure to share it throughout the family.
Coach JPMD 22:33
I appreciate the conversation. And I know you're busy. And you know, it's it's been a pleasure having you share your experiences on how to improve customer experiences and patient experiences. So thank you. So if you could let us know, how can we find you? So if someone is interested in hearing more about what you've done, what you're doing at Microsoft, and in other places? How do we find you?
Laurent Pierre, JR 22:54
So another shameless plug, you're going to find me if I'm not with customers dealing with the crisis and challenges. You'll find me on LinkedIn sharing content engaging with folks, I what started out as a hobby, I'm on there every day. So if you go to if you just Google the Laurent Pierre, Jr. You'll find me on LinkedIn or on Twitter. Feel free to connect, feel free to engage. I'm always up for some good conversations around customer experience and looks like I've I've added a new thread of patient experience. So happy to engage in that way as well.
Coach JPMD 23:24
Thank you so much. And I'll definitely leave some show notes for our audience to where to find you. And again, thank you for the excellent conversation.
Laurent Pierre, JR 23:35
Coach JPMD that means a lot coming from you. So be safe, be well and talk to you soon. All right. Bye bye.
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