Case Study: One Medical

A ‘WOW’ moment courtesy of my Doctor’s Office

One Medical just impressed me beyond anything I could have expected. Yesterday, I was experiencing some chest pain that was lasting a few hours too long for me to ignore. I decided a visit to the doctor was needed. Now, you might think that getting a last minute appointment at an office is unheard of, and that urgent care or the ER is the only viable solution unless you have a concierge-like doctor’s service. Well, that’s what One Medical is: concierge service without the insane costs.

One Medical does a lot right from a support perspective, but first I want to tell my story of how they impressed me to the point where I am now writing what amounts to a free ad for their services.

I booked my appointment and in an hour I was in one of their offices sitting in front of an MD whom I had not previously interacted with. Nevertheless she knew my history because One Medical keeps all their records synchronized between offices, she knew my last interaction with my primary care physician at their other office closer to my home, and she knew ahead of time what I was visiting for because I had put that information in the app when booking my appointment. The rest of the interaction was a shining example of great patient care: empathetic and reassuring bedside manner, where she was clearly listening and concerned about my well-being. The chest pain ended up being harmless, and I left the office (not before she noticed I needed my flu shot and had a lab tech administer it to me 5 minutes later) and I went back to work, feeling very satisfied in my membership with One Medical.

But that’s not what ‘wow’d’ me. Later that night, at 9:30pm, I received an email follow-up from the doctor checking in on my pain. Not a form email, not an email from a PA or nurse, but an email from the doctor, written by hand addressing my issue at an hour which I wasn’t even awake. Who has interactions with doctors like that anymore? Apparently One Medical and their physicians understand the power of customer service, relationships, and what it does to encourage loyalty.

However, One Medical has done a LOT of work to lay the foundation so that this amazing interaction could take place. Their entire experience is refined to the point that the effort I must go through to see one of their quality physicians is so insanely easy I enjoy making appointments with them. Let’s take a look at their foundation for great support:

  1. They have all my data centralized and any physician can access it and immediately understand who I am, what I need, and how to treat me.
  2. Booking an appointment is literally 2 taps in their app. I tell them why I want the appointment, and pick a time/location/physician that works for me. I can even get same-day service.
  3. If I don’t want to visit an office, I can video chat with a Physicians Assistant (24/7 mind you) to receive a diagnosis and prescription for most common issues.
  4. Refilling prescriptions takes 2 taps in their app and they call it in to my pharmacy.
  5. If I ever have an issue with billing or service, it is very easy to get ahold of someone, either by email or by phone.

Each of these things reduces customer effort and radically alters the experience of visiting a doctor. Now, coming into the office, my demeanor is dramatically different than a standard doctors’ office visit. I didn’t have to wait in a waiting room or go to an urgent care with someone who doesn’t know my history. One Medical physicians don’t have to worry about many of the typical infrastructure issues of a standard practice, so they can focus on providing amazing patient care to patients that (aside from being sick) are in a good mood.

How can you learn from One Medical?

The lesson here is that your best support agents and policies can only ‘WOW’ your customers if you’ve made the experience of solving the problem as effortless as possible. Trying to ‘delight’ without having first set the groundwork for efficient communication and self-service tools is pointless, because your customers are already coming in annoyed about their issue, and now they have to deal with hurdles to get help. Your agent is now playing from behind. One Medical generates good will before I even visit the office. Most companies frustrate customers before the service interaction takes place.

I can’t emphasize this approach enough. Reduce effort, and your customer’s experience will change so that maybe one day you will become a case study.