Man avoiding pitfalls

Vendor Success during COVID-19

The current pandemic clearly took us all by surprise. It is humbling to see so many weaknesses in healthcare exposed and to see how very unprepared we all were for a global catastrophe. However, in many ways, it is encouraging to see how healthcare has changed to meet this crisis head on. 

In particular, many vendors have pivoted quickly to meet the needs of their providers. From the perspective of many providers, healthcare vendors in general have been really good to work with during this time. Their impressive responses speak to the strength of the people within the healthcare industry.

To aid in this transition, KLAS just recently published the first half of a two-part white paper: Delivering Customer Success in a Time of Crisis. This first half focuses on three pitfalls that vendors need to avoid in order to achieve both short-term and long-term success.

Making Change Management Essential

In 20 years of gathering data, KLAS has noticed that change management really is the linchpin that holds everything together and affects whether vendors and providers can drive systemic change.

I am not necessarily surprised to see that change management is often the last area that vendors look at; it is a difficult area to address. But we are seeing right now that when providers do have some sort of criticism or when they read between the lines, they often wish they had a change management piece in some form. Vendors are good at rolling things out and obtaining new insights, but they are not leveraging the structure or sharing insights about the industry to give meaning and context to the data. 

Talking about how providers can properly use technology, looking at other views or slices of the data, or holding best practice webinars are valuable processes, especially during this pandemic in which everyone is doing at least some things for the first time.

The most enthusiastic customers talk about their vendors partnering with them on education and change management. Change management is what separates the vendors that respond well and those that fall flat. Technology without context is the biggest long-term danger.

Even when vendors are crushing it through their responses and pivoting, that change management piece still needs to be there regardless of pandemics.

Balancing C-Suite Involvement

Communication from the C-suite is obviously a good thing, but too much communication from top-level executives can quickly become a giant miss as account managers and others are not utilized. There just aren’t enough CEOs in a single company to deal with every challenge, especially if the company wants to provide essential change management. Check out the white paper to read more about this pitfall.

Making Your Future More Certain

Despite current success, many vendors are likely concerned about what the future looks like for them, in both the long term and the short term. What if there is a second wave in just a few months? Some vendors feel that they have been put on hold, knowing that they may soon be in the exact same scenario. 

The second half of the white paper will talk about how vendors are actually dealing with those questions. For example, some vendors have really put a lot of thought into their sales methodology during this time.

Some vendors are charging excessive amounts, and some are giving things for free. If there aren’t guidelines, providers might ask for free things in the future and get a no. That might create a perception of inconsistency. Providers want to perceive pricing structures as reliable and predictable. At some point, vendors might decide that a free thing shouldn’t be free anymore, but what is the methodology? Vendors need to help providers understand why something gets a yes and something else gets a no. 

What Can You Do?

We interviewed a CQO about FairWarning, a security vendor. One might not necessarily consider a security vendor top of mind right now, but the CQO had informed us FairWarning had really aggregated what they knew. They were leveraging connections in healthcare to find people who did have expertise, and they conducted webinars about protecting health information. FairWarning not only found a way to establish themselves but also provided value to that organization. They asked themselves what they could do.

If you haven’t already, take a look at our COVID-19 Technology & Services Solutions Guide. Part two of the white paper will be coming soon and will include about 30–40 interviews with vendors about how they are tackling problems.

     Photo Credit: Adobe Stock, Kelly Marken