04 Mar 2020by Nathalie
Easy, easy, easy
“Consumers are attracted to what platforms can do and facilitate, not to the platforms themselves. “(MIT IDE 2019)
Some of you will recognize yourselves immediately when I talk about the struggles of parents who have to have their child undergo speech and language therapy. It is a journey that is undoubtedly full of difficulties and friction points. The perfect journey to imagine a platform.
Journey and friction points
From a platform modelling point of view, the first questions to ask are: what is the user’s journey, what are the friction points along this journey, and what are the alternatives?
Let’s assume that my speech and language therapy diagnosis has already been made (I am not going to include this step in the user path that I am about to describe, in the end, it is the least complicated because it is a one-off step). So: therapy is necessary, now we have to find a practitioner who can provide it through weekly sessions for several months.
What’s my journey? Where are the sticking points, and what are my alternatives?
First step: I ask around, I ask my doctor, my friends. Some of them give me names and tell me it’s not going to be easy. I make some calls. No availability. They won’t take any more patients.
Then, I search the Internet: I start by searching in my own town, and then in the surrounding cities. I call, leave messages. Nobody calls me back. The speech therapists are all fully booked for months.
I widen the search to 35 km around my home. That’s a long way for weekly sessions. I call, I leave messages again, and very few call me back to tell me about a waiting list of several months. Not even guaranteed. And the very few availabilities are during school hours of course, since these are the least requested slots. It’s a nightmare.
Then, I’m searching on Doctolib, nothing either.
I keep looking, and, wow, I come across Qare, a new portal for remote access to practitioners.
A small side comment: Doctolib is perfect for finding a first appointment, but would probably struggle to iron out the other problems and friction points of my journey, namely : schedules, and above all, distance; I will come back to this subject in another article, because either, one can address a whole customer journey, or only one stage of that same journey, which potentially leaves room for future competitors on the same ecosystem. This is undoubtedly what Qare has understood, as it is beginning to nibble away at the health journey ecosystem, as shown by the recent acquisition of Doctopsy.
Making onboarding easy
Since I’ve been working remotely for the last 15 years, the promise of consulting doctors by video catches my attention. But will it be suitable for speech therapy? If it is, I won’t have any more problems with travel, and no more child fatigue for those weekly round trips.
And here comes my miracle: in 1 click, yes there are several speech therapists with availabilities in the coming days. I find it hard to believe. Would this be my solution? I want to make an appointment: the creation of the account is very easy, ergonomic, and I can come back to it later to complete it. In a few clicks I have my appointment. This is what I call “easy onboarding”: the first contact that the customer will have with the platform is crucial; if this point is not very simple, short, and intuitive, the customer may not come back, may stop the registration, and will probably not go any further on the journey. On the other hand, buoyed by how easy it was for me to find a practitioner and create my account, I’m even starting to look at what other specialties are accessible via the platform, and there are many: this is a platform I will definitely come back to…
Eliminate friction points throughout the user journey
The first friction points were eliminated in a few clicks: I found a speech therapist available within 2 days, on a Wednesday morning, outside of class hours. It remains to be seen if a follow-up is feasible; the online chat is available, so I ask the question and get a quick answer: it seems to be possible. I keep my fingers crossed.
Then, I receive a call from Qare: alas, the practitioner I have chosen, after reading my speech therapy assessments, has alerted the platform and told them that she was not specialized in my child’s pathology… Oh no… And then my Qare support “angel” tells me: “but if you agree, we have found another one who will be available on the same slot, and we have checked with her, she is specialized on this subject”.
Second miracle. Not only has Qare eliminated my first issues, which were finding a professional available quickly and outside school hours, but they are now making sure that I don’t waste my time (and money) with an appointment that couldn’t be leading to a follow-up; they have also handled all the checks for me, the calls with the speech therapists, the search for a replacement…
Second side-comment: this also allows them to ensure an essential element of the platforms, which is control and governance; another topic to which I will come back in another article.
And third side-comment: platform models do not mean eliminating the human element, quite the opposite in fact: the support proposed here by Qare plays an essential role in making my journey more fluid.
First appointment with the speech therapist: she explains to me that she works with specialized software for videoconferencing, she shows me, and starts the training with my child. The experience is totally conclusive: we agree that we can schedule a follow-up over several weeks. To avoid me having to handle all the bookings, I send an email to Qare who schedules all the upcoming appointments, and I find them instantly in my interface. I didn’t have to do anything. Another point of friction eliminated. It all seems so easy.
And of course, payments and all administration related to social security or health insurance are automated by the platform. This makes my life easier, allows practitioners to be paid faster, and again allows Qare to strengthen its control, governance, data capture, and monetization.
Am I willing to give up some of my data in exchange for them to make my journey easy? As far as I’m concerned, without hesitation.
We’ve been having appointments for 3 weeks now. And what comfort! For my child, as well as for me. How easy it is! And if by chance on a Wednesday my child is not at home, at his grandmother’s for example, no worry, the appointment can still take place (subject to accessing a quiet place and a computer with video).
In conclusion, Qare has obviously well studied the friction points, and has made everything very easy: onboarding, journey, issues management. Easy for me, for my child, and for the practitioner, because even if I have analyzed here the journey from an end-user point of view, it is essential to analyze it also from the point of view of the one who brings the service, in this case: the doctors & practitioners. Note that at no time did I wonder where the speech and language therapist was based: somewhere in France, it doesn’t matter, neither for her, nor for me.
The platform has completely transformed the journey and the experience, but with one single goal: to address our respective needs precisely and efficiently and to make our journeys easy .
Any comments? Any questions? Debate will help progress!
© photos: Qare