In today’s dynamic business landscape, creating lasting customer relationships is more important than ever. In my role as the Chief Experience Officer at Interlace Health, I have the privilege of leading our efforts that ultimately strive to place people over paperwork. From my two decades of experience in the healthcare IT industry, I’ve learned that building long-term customer retention is a combination of mutual trust, passion, dedication, and a commitment to excellence.
Listed below are 5 essential steps that, I believe, have enabled us at Interlace Health to build long-term client relationships over the past 32 years that have contributed to our 97.4% customer retention rate.
Step 1: No Matter What, Put People First
At Interlace Health, our mission is clear: we put people over paperwork. We provide healthcare organizations with forms automation solutions that simplify processes, enable electronic signature capture, and create workflows that save time and reduce costs. But the key to our success is listening to our customers. We understand that while we offer electronic solutions, many organizations still rely on paper-based processes. It’s about meeting our customers where they are and addressing their unique needs today.
We work hard to be a true partner to our customers. We strive to understand their priorities so we can build strong, long-lasting relationships and help them achieve sustained success. This starts by providing a hands-on partnership and support during every step of their journey with us. Our customers can rely on us when things are working well, but more so when things aren’t going as expected. For example, during the COVID pandemic, we ensured that all Interlace Health operations continued unaffected, fully staffed in services and support teams, with the ability to continue implementing critical projects and to provide enhanced customer support for those customers who were up and running. For some customers, we became their IT department when their internal staff couldn’t effectively support their Interlace Health solutions. We had customers relying on us to help set up COVID testing units in different areas throughout the hospital. In addition to technical support, our implementation team, who has always operated with robust remote capabilities, were ready and enabled to continue working on critical project implementations at a time when customers needed automated digital workflows the most.
Step 2: Build a Dedicated & Caring Support Team
Behind every technological solution lies a specialized support team. I believe in the power of personalized and attentive support to customers. We’ve built our product support team from the ground up, focusing on what makes our customers stay with us—highly engaged customer support. These individuals are the backbone of our success, working tirelessly to maintain a consistent level of service quality and support standards to ensure our customers have what they need to thrive.
In times of crisis, such as the COVID pandemic, our support team was ready to provide enhanced support services to our customers who needed assistance beyond regular technical support. When a customer needed to set up workstations and printers along with the creation of their intake forms under a tent in their parking lot for COVID testing, our support team quickly adapted to the customer’s needs and was instrumental in successfully managing the situation.
Step 3: Embrace Feedback: Both the Good & the Bad
Creating a culture of continuous improvement is vital. We’ve established a Customer Success Council of our most engaged and knowledgeable customers who advise us on our products, solutions, share best practices, and provide candid feedback. We also conduct surveys during and after implementation and hold quarterly check-in meetings to ensure we are adapting to our customers’ evolving needs. Their feedback and insights help us make informed decisions to improve our products and services which guide our path forward.
Since the start of the council, our council members have served as a sounding board for proposed strategies, initiatives, or new product/service ideas. They bring fresh perspectives and creative ideas to the table, validating our plans and providing constructive criticism or suggestions for improvement. Our Customer Success Council has not only helped improve our current products and solutions, but has also helped shape Interlace Health’s new platform, Informed Consent Nova.
Step 4: A Constant Focus on Innovation
Innovation is at the heart of our approach. We’ve established a Managed Services Program that offers fully outsourced services to enhance efficiencies and assist customers with their workload. This has become a critical resource for many of our customers recently amid healthcare resources and budget constraints. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we faced unprecedented challenges, but we were prepared to respond.
Our focus, then and now, is to enhance customers’ delivery of patient care while increasing operational efficiencies among their valuable healthcare staff. It’s our mission to offer digital healthcare solutions and provide lasting support to customers while building strong relationships.
Step 5: Remember: Customer Support Doesn’t Stop After Implementation
Customer relationships don’t end after implementation; they deepen. We provide continuous support, working hard to validate that customers are getting value from their Interlace Health solutions and proactively address their needs and concerns. Even after our customers are comfortable with our solutions, we remain committed to their success. It’s about going the extra mile and being there when they need us most.
Customer needs, preferences, and circumstances can change over time or instantaneously – as it did with COVID. We did everything we could for our customers during COVID times to allow them to continue delivering patient care while we focused on their operational needs and effectively supported their Interlace Health solutions.
Building long-term customer retention is not just about offering products or services; it’s about building meaningful and lasting connections. At Interlace Health, we’ve embraced these five essential steps—putting people first, building a dedicated support team, embracing feedback, offering innovative solutions, and committing to continuous support. With a relentless focus on customer satisfaction, we’ve achieved a 97.4% customer retention rate and look forward to continuing long-term partnerships with our customers.
About the Author:
Maggie Peña is the chief experience officer at Interlace Health (the next generation of FormFast), a 30-year-old privately held healthcare IT firm that helps healthcare organizations put people over paperwork with forms automation solutions that enable electronic signature capture and create workflows that save time and cut costs. She brings 22 years of experience in IT to her role and leads one-third of Interlace Health’s employees.
With a fierce focus on customer satisfaction and retention, Maggie created and built Interlace Health’s customer support team and its customer implementation strategy, she built out the company’s fully Spanish-speaking team for project implementation and ongoing customer support, and she has managed the company’s managed services program to create efficiencies for customers. She believes in a proactive approach to customer service, and it shows, with happy and successful customers. Interlace Health provides workflow solutions to 1500+ healthcare organizations and under Maggie’s leadership, Interlace Health currently has a 97.4% customer retention rate. Maggie serves as co-leader for the HIMSS Clinician Burden Reduction Task Force and was recently named to Becker’s 2023 Women in Health IT to Know list.