How to meet consumers’ high expectations

In this episode of our popular Tips in Ten(ish) minutes video series, Kirsten Lecky, EVP insights and growth at WG Content, sits down with Victor Reiss, VP of consumerism and insights at UNC Health, to hear his insightful viewpoints on healthcare consumerism.

Watch this 12-minute video and learn how to:

  • Remain relevant when consumer behaviors change rapidly 
  • Uncover different perspectives to solve customer problems
  • Get inspiration from Vic’s must-read list

This video was recorded on March 20, 2023, before WriterGirl became WG Content.

Watch the video

0:00:03.5 Kirsten Lecky: Hi, Vic. Good morning, welcome to our tips in 10 minutes, it’s so good to have you with us. For those… I think most of our viewers know who you are, but for those that may not, Vic is the VP of Consumerism and Insights at UNC Healthcare. So welcome to our tips in 10 minutes.

0:00:23.7 Victor Reiss: Thank you for having me, I’m glad to be here.

0:00:26.1 Kirsten Lecky: Yeah, yeah, it’s so good to see you, happy New Year to you. One of the things I think people that know you and have met you would probably all agree that you have this very infectious personality, you just bring joy to your work, you have a lot to say. I’ve always been so impressed every time you and I connect, whether it’s at conferences or just on calls. So I would love, as I guess we are almost through the first quarter of the year, but let’s pretend like we’re just kicking off 2023. And would love to just hear what you’re most hopeful for, what are you looking forward to this year and what are you most hopeful for?

0:01:00.6 Victor Reiss: Well, thank you, first of all, this is an exciting time to be in healthcare, I know healthcare has its challenges, we have a lot of pundits that are looking at healthcare but what I am most hopeful for in 2023 is to see the renovations, the innovations and inventions that will come not only from the existing healthcare systems or many will call the incumbents, but as well as the disruptors, those market entrance that are entering into the space quite honestly, to address some of the existing gaps. So, definitely excited about not only to see what will be developed, but how they will push healthcare systems forward and the second is, how can we all come together collectively and solve the upstream issues in the healthcare system? I believe we all are holding pieces to a puzzle if this were a jigsaw, so I would argue that whether you are an existing healthcare system, a disruptor, or someone on the fringe, we all have a piece of that puzzle. And wouldn’t it be great in 2023 instead of us just trying to build our separate puzzle pieces, coming together and we solve for the larger complex issue.

0:02:21.5 Victor Reiss: Finally ChatGPT AI and all of the advanced technologies, while I’m encouraged and we will celebrate and embrace, but I think it’ll also take us back to really appreciating the direct human to human interaction.

0:02:40.0 Kirsten Lecky: Yeah, I agree. I think that more and more we get to embracing all of the change and adopting all of the AI and the new technology and the things that are coming our way, it’s that we’re all gonna kind of crave and need the heartbeat of human beings collaborating and working together and I’m hopeful that we’ll see more of that.

0:03:02.7 Victor Reiss: Absolutely.

0:03:02.9 Kirsten Lecky: I think we’ll see acceleration through all of these new innovations and digital applications but also realize that, humans really at the end of the day need to come together to make this work, whether that’s through, the disruptors and the work that they’re doing and recognizing the advancements they’re making as well as all of the technology, so I think with that in mind, and I think we have been bombarded with it this year, right? I mean, I feel like all of a sudden this year, it’s just like every newsfeed I get on and every newsletter I subscribe to, it’s just, it’s all of the change. So as the world is changing and consumers are generally finicky people. How do you stay disciplined and focused on what’s most important? Like how can we all stay focused and disciplined, tell me what’s most important?

0:03:48.8 Victor Reiss: And so before I get to the discipline and focus let me just give a counter perspective.

0:03:55.1 Kirsten Lecky: Yeah.

0:03:55.9 Victor Reiss: Perhaps consumers are not finicky, maybe they have higher expectations, more choices, and often I think what we are seeing is that they will not hesitate to vote with their feet, their wallet or clicks or abandoned carts for a better alternative so what’s happening is that with the increased variety and easier access to products and services, the power is now in the hands of the consumer. Markets aren’t static, consumers aren’t static, what is important today may not be as important tomorrow or might be twice as important. One of the biggest challenges we all face is how do we remain relevant, to our consumers in this modern world where the mindsets, the behaviors, they all change rapidly. And so another way to look at what many may call finicky is essentially that perhaps your company or your product or your service has become a tolerable attribute where the customer or the consumer has been tolerating you until a better alternative was presented.

0:05:06.6 Victor Reiss: And I experienced that a couple of years ago where I was tolerating a cable company and all a sudden one day Google Fiber knocked on my door and voila, I switched. So when that cable company, they probably thought I was satisfied because I had been with them for a period of time but as soon as a better alternative presented itself, I switched. And all of my neighbors, Google Fiber did not take out any advertisement. When they saw the Google Fiber in a truck, the entire neighborhood became Google Fiber. So in that as an example, that was a law of the tolerable attribute where we were tolerating until a better alternative presented itself.

0:05:48.4 Victor Reiss: So how do I stay disciplined and stay focused? There are three things, first is clarity of why. It all starts with that clarity. You need to know why you do, what you do. And if people don’t buy what you do, they oftentimes buy why you do it. So that’s all about purpose and your North star, the second is stay focused, if you chase two rabbits, you don’t catch either one or become like a poster stamp, stick to something until you arrive at your destination or your goal. And so, how do I stay focused? We oftentimes, we create to-do lists. I will challenge all of us to consider creating a do not list and this is a list of all those things that are distracting, that pull away from your ability to focus in on the significant few, the third tip is just stay focused on solving problems and pain points. We often lose focus because we admire the problem instead of being focused on how do we solve the problem. At the end of the day, customers, consumers, they have jobs to be done and it’s important that we listen and understand why that customer, that consumer, they’re hiring us to solve a particular issue or a need.

0:07:15.9 Kirsten Lecky: Yeah no, those are good, I love the do not list.

0:07:17.2 Victor Reiss: Yes.

0:07:22.1 Kirsten Lecky: Can you think of some things on your do not list?

0:07:22.6 Victor Reiss: Yes, don’t over obsess with data looking for perfect data.

0:07:26.1 Kirsten Lecky: I love that.

0:07:29.6 Victor Reiss: Oftentimes, we just say more, can you give me more, there’s an art and the science to decision making. Yes, do you wanna be insights informed and data driven? The answer is yes, but do not discount the power of intuition. And sometimes people call it gut, but I’ve seen corporations, I’ve seen people where they spend more time on process and committees instead of just being able to make an informed or make the best decision based upon the information that they have.

0:08:00.7 Kirsten Lecky: Yeah, it’s really the art and science of decision making and running businesses and things like that.

0:08:06.6 Victor Reiss: Absolutely.

0:08:10.1 Kirsten Lecky: And again, it’s a really great reminder of the data and all of the AI results that we’re, just all of that’s gonna continue to accelerate, but at the end of the day is that intuition and that gut, and that piece comes from the humans behind all of it too so I think it’s a great reminder not to get super hung up in all of the data. And sometimes having that sort of having a good tolerance around is good enough and that good enough is enough to advance and advance the conversation. And so I think that’s especially as our disruptors are advancing that conversation a lot faster.

0:08:50.0 Victor Reiss: Absolutely.

0:08:53.0 Kirsten Lecky: That’s great, we’re already almost at our 10 minutes here, I did have one last question for you though, and that is I’m sure you subscribe to a lot of newsletters and thought leaders and read a lot of books, give us a few that you would recommend. What sort of content do you pay attention to to keep you smart and informed in our industry?

0:09:16.2 Victor Reiss: Alright, I have eight books, I’ll try to get through them quickly because and the reason…

0:09:20.3 Kirsten Lecky: Yeah please or we’ll post them too, but yeah, let’s, hear them.

0:09:23.2 Victor Reiss: And the reason why I do is it’s mental gymnastics for me. The first was great book Both And Thinking: How do you embrace creative tensions? And that kind of goes back to earlier not being obsessed over the details. How do you embrace the tensions to creatively solve problems? The second book is Decisions over Decimals. We all have heard about a minimal viable product. But how can you, in decision making arrive at a minimum viable decision. And not looking for the perfect answer, but really seeking what is a baseline information that’s needed in order to move an idea forward. The third book, which I, in my consumer role, is The Secret Lies of Customers by David Duncan and this is how do you become a detective to solve the customer problems? It’s a different perspective on how to approach really uncovering what consumers and customers are seeking.

0:10:14.0 Victor Reiss: My team is probably sick of me talking about this book ’cause I use it upstream and it’s how to solve problems before they happen. A lot of what’s going on in healthcare and our challenges today is that we have upstream and we are spending time downstream when we need to swim upstream to solve those problems. Another book is Marketing Forward by Jared Johnson and I’ll get to this in a moment with some of the thought leaders. This is for anyone that’s in healthcare undergoing consumer transformation, it provides an excellent roadmap on how to be able to move forward. The final two books Seeing Around Corners by Rita McGrath, biggest takeaway is how do we spot inflexion moments in order for us to be prepared for what is likely to happen next? And then finally Rebels At Work by Lois Kelly, this is an older book, but what I love about it is because change starts within and consumerism is an organisation mindset, it’s not something that’s happening to an organisation, it’s how do we adjust our mindset. Finally, some of the thought leaders that I pay attention to, again, going back to Jared Johnson with a group there’s a group that has been formed called Consumer First Health Group, so that’s definitely a group to stay on the lookout for.

0:11:33.4 Kirsten Lecky: Yeah, I’ve attended a few of those calls.

0:11:35.4 Victor Reiss: Yes, absolutely.

0:11:37.3 Kirsten Lecky: Yeah, it’s a great group of people. Very open to inviting others too, so I think that’s a great recommendation.

0:11:44.7 Victor Reiss: Absolutely and the final two is Zeev E. Neuwirth and it’s the book I forgot to mention is Reframing Healthcare, if you really wanna understand from someone who is from the inside, who’s a physician, Zeev E. Neuwirth with Reframing Healthcare is an excellent book, not only as a book, but more importantly an excellent thought leader in this space. Those are my books those are my thought.

0:12:03.4 Kirsten Lecky: I love it.

0:12:04.3 Victor Reiss: That’s where I seek information, that’s my mental gymnastics.

0:12:06.8 Kirsten Lecky: I, well, mental gymnastics. We’ll take that as a takeaway too.

0:12:10.6 Victor Reiss: All good.

0:12:13.3 Kirsten Lecky: I know we’ll see you at some conferences this year. It sounds like you’ll be at HMPS, I look forward to catching up with you there and staying in touch this year. Thank you again for sharing all of your insights and recommendations, we appreciate it.

0:12:25.9 Victor Reiss: Thank you for having me.