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Nurses, Patients, and Businesses

Home health agencies operate on thin and uncertain, margins. Maximizing billings while controlling costs ought to be an easy sell. However, despite checking all the right boxes, potential clients were decidedly cool to the firm’s software and services.

With a significant investment from the private equity firm to fund growth, the company needed to figure out why their slam-dunk product wasn’t generating the expected growth.

The Power of Alignment Is More than a Cliché

In-depth interviews with existing and potential clients revealed a huge mismatch between the nurse-owners and the company’s efficiency experts. The nurses simply didn’t think in the same terms as other businesses. Without the interviews, no one could have believed different perspectives put so much distance between buyer and seller.

Nursing is as much a calling as a vocation, and nurses-turned-business owners operated most of the agencies served. With patient care as their driving force, the nurse-owners were wary of the big, profit-driven healthcare companies they often saw shortchanging patient care in the name of profits. To them, it wasn’t a difference in priorities; they saw an offense against their values.

The focus on profits and efficiencies that worked so well in other industries came across as a lack of concern for patient care. Routing software that minimized travel time between home visits was perceived as a stealth way to increase each nurse’s workload.

The need for a new approach became obvious only with understanding of the nurses’ worldview. First, the company had to win the trust of nurses who spent their days fighting faceless bureaucracies on behalf of their patients.

Same Product + New Positioning = a Hit

Repositioning the company to directly align with nurse-owners’ overriding concern for patient care generated a remarkable and an almost immediate reversal of fortune.

The company began thinking like nurses. Operating efficiencies and improved billing became the means to fund the care patients deserved rather than a threat to that care. The scorned mobile application was suddenly welcomed for creating more time with patients. Yes, the nurses saw more patients each day, but the gains came via better routing and less paperwork. Nurses could focus on attention to patients.

Making the effort to understand the real motivations of their clients changed everything without changing that much. With new positioning, the exact same product with the same economics went from strikeout to homerun. The entire company benefited from the resulting economic success and the knowledge they were supporting the dedicated work of the home health agencies. The marketing strategy led the way to becoming a true partner of home health agencies, supported a series of acquisitions, and the company quickly grew into a market leader.

Go from Good to Great

Deep customer insights—-why your customers select your firm–form the foundation of positioning that is simple, credible, and compelling. In-depth customer interviews allow company leaders to see past their own biases and focus on why their best customers select their company.

Not every firm will be great, but any firm can be. It’s your choice.

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