Partnerships are born during uncertain times. Everyone else is just a regular vendor. 

Let us be clear about something right out of the gate; these are uncertain and worrisome times. We are dealing with a global pandemic that has caused a seismic shift in hospitals across the country. Elective procedures are being cancelled, revenues are down, many hospitals are downsizing staff, and let us not forget the contagion healthcare workers are trying to treat and keep under control. The downstream effects and repercussions of what is happening at hospitals are far-reaching for our industry. Fear is a natural, understandable, and logical response to a situation such as this. It is okay to be afraid, concerned, and worried. However, the question we must consider is, what do we do going forward? How will we choose to respond, and to what end will we direct our thoughts, energy, and actions? 

The answer starts with mindset. 
Like “fight or flight,” there are two general responses that we can choose from. 

 

Response 1 | Circle the Wagons 

When presented with a threat, in this case, the current business climate, an organization can choose to take a defensive posture. By “circling the wagons and drawing in resources to protect the company and the team from external threats. This is akin to freezing budgets, laying off staff, and mitigating damage. 

Settling in with a defensive posture and an eye towards “surviving to fight another day” does have its place as an effective business strategy.  

 

At Access, we have been asking ourselves the same question your business has been asking of itself during this crisis. How do we strategically position ourselves to survive this period of uncertainty? As we searched for that answer, another question emerged that help supply clarity as to what we should do. 

The clarifying question | What do our customers need from us right now? 

 

We quickly concluded that “circling the wagons” is not what our customers need from us right now. 

 

Response 2 | Ask Questions, Listen, Innovate, & Repeat 

Thinking about what our customers need from us right now has served as a guide for us during this period of uncertainty. 

Simply put, our company exists to add value to our customers (hospitals), and right now they need value more than ever. Hospitals are addressing many significant challenges presented by the pandemic. The business landscape is rapidly changing, and what hospitals need are for their vendors to apply innovation to help them meet these new challenges. 

 

The formula we applied is remarkably simple. 

The Rapid Response Innovation Formula 
  1. Ask questions | Ask your customers what challenges they are facing and how you can help
  2. Listen | Listen attentively to what they have to say
  3. Innovate | Respond by innovating where you need to innovate
  4. Repeat the process | Keep repeating this process to refine the solutions to the evolving needs

As a result of this process, we developed our Impression solution to: 

  • Allow patients the ability to electronically sign hospital forms from anywhere
  • Create a contactless check-in process when the patient arrives
  • Reduce time spent in the hospital waiting room

From start to finish, this innovation cycle took less than two months before we released solutions that were being used in the real world at our hospital sites. Had we “circled the wagons,” we would have missed this opportunity to help our customers, grow as a company, and elevate our customer relationships from “vendor” to “partner.”

Are You a “Partner” in Your Customer’s Eyes?    

Our customers need us, and your customers need you. Despite all its challenges, this pandemic has provided our industry a unique opportunity to evolve from a basic vendor or service provider to a true partner in the mind of the customer. Partnerships are the result of sincere and meaningful relationships that are built by asking questions, listening, and helping the customer to problem solve. Being a part of the solution ensures that your will be seen as a partner and not just another vendor. It elevates your company above the fold. Are you a faceless commodity in the eyes of your customers, or are you a true partner? If you are a partner, then you will show up and innovate in your customer’s time of need.

Stand up

Innovate

Lead

Cody Strate

Written by Cody Strate

For more than 15 years, Cody has provided sales and marketing leadership with the goal of providing the smoothest, easiest, and most pleasurable customer experience imaginable. Cody is a Forbes Communication Council member and lives in Colorado with his wife, two kids, and two dogs.