Client Centric Part I: What Does “Client Centric” Really Mean?

It is very common for vendors to make claims on collateral or in ads about being client centric. Most HIT vendors are sincere about that and openly express their intentions in their meetings with KLAS. But what does it really mean to be client centric?

The CEO of a large healthcare technology firm asked my opinion on client-centric thinking and execution, and this challenge helped me crystalize my thinking. Pondering the discussions we have had with thousands of providers and many vendor executives over the years has helped me formulate six key points as my answer to the question. I’d like to share them with you in a sequence of blogs. The first point seems obvious:

Thinking and acting in a client-centric way is not natural. There is a natural conflict between serving the client and maximizing profits.

The point is, becoming client centric is not easy. It doesn’t happen overnight—not even with a decree from the CEO. Quotes from today’s marketing verbiage like “our customer community is very excited,” “empower all stakeholders,” and “help healthcare businesses run better” might lead one to conclude that there is “joy in Mudville” (from “Casey at the Bat”). While vendors haven’t necessarily struck out, providers report that there is definitely room for improvement in helping them be successful with the products and services they are buying. This translates into, “Vendors are not fully client centric.” Client centric distills down, in my mind, to a simple formula. If I am client centric, my goal is to help my clients successfully achieve their goal. Client centric = client success!

If you’re a vendor, you have probably already asked yourself whether you are focused on your clients’ success or whether you find yourself just talking about it.

If you’re a provider, are you allowing your vendors to step up and help you be successful?

I’ll explore the five remaining interwoven points of being client centric in my next posts.

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