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CX Leadership Profile: Caroline Maillols, head of customer experience, MedicalDirector

Two years ago Caroline Maillols was appointed by MedicalDirector, a leading provider of healthcare and practice management software, to take charge of their CX and digital transformation strategy. Caroline’s job was to change MedicalDirector from being a product centric company to a customer centric business. CXFocus talks to Caroline about the challenges and successes she experienced.

With global headquarters in Sydney Australia, MedicalDirector has been operating in the healthcare and practice management space for 25 years. In that time they have established themselves as the leading provider of practice management software for GPs and medical specialists. They have over 50% of the market in Australia.

Caroline Maillols, head of customer experience, MedicalDirector

A few years back, MedicalDirector realised that to continue with their success and expansion, they needed to do things differently. Rather than just continuing to build products and software solutions, they wanted to be able to delight their customers and provide them with experiences that helped them manage their practices better.

Maillols, comments, “The customer was always involved somewhere in the process of developing our software. We even have highly experienced practice managers working within the business.  But customer input would generally be at the end of the product development process. We wanted to turn all that around and make everything we do centred round the customer. Or what we refer to as, ‘bringing the customer into the room’.

In turning things around the first challenge Caroline had to overcome was cultural change. MedicalDirector employs over 300 people across Australia and overseas all working in a diverse range of teams with their own ways of doing things and ways of measuring success. Breaking down those silos and bringing everyone in the organisation along the CX journey was a mammoth task.

Cultural change

One of the first initiatives Caroline started was to run a series of CX awareness workshops for the various teams across the organisation. She reflects, “We ran a programme of CX workshops to raise awareness of customer experience. We explored the definition of customer experience, how do we understand what customer experience is, and how does that relate to the employee experience.”

“From these workshops we decided that changes needed to be made to the business and they way we did things. A range of educational materials and resources were developed to help people incorporate what we talked about in the workshops into their everyday work. This is an ongoing process. Though substantial progress has been made, we still have a way to go. Changes of this magnitude do not happen overnight.”

Encouraging people to implement what they’ve learnt into the day-to-day work of their teams was a significant hurdle. Maillols comments, “It’s easy to get buy in from stakeholders in a room. But when they get back to their desks they well tend to go back to the old habits and behaviours they have developed and are comfortable with.”

To ensure the necessary changes were made required good communications to be established between the various teams across the business. “Communication has been really strong in driving the change management process. It was about making sure that what we were implementing, was measured and communicated to the rest of the business. We wanted to bring all the important stakeholders along the journey and ensure they were comfortable with making the necessary changes.”

“Change is always a challenge. You need to generate a lot of energy and bring in some champions who are going to help you change the rest of the business. Fortunately, I got the support of the CEO and the exec team very quickly. It makes it much easier when everyone is on board with the idea of change

 Digital transformation

When Caroline started MedicalDirector didn’t have a central repository of customer data from which to draw insights from nor integrated processes that aligned the activities of the business particularly marketing, sales and customer support. “We wanted the people and the business to change to become ‘customer centric’, so we needed to give them the tools so they could do things differently. We implemented an integrated data and CX platform built on Salesforce. Everyone within the organisation can access a complete and single view of the customer and understand what role they play in managing the customer experience.

Voice of the customer

Another crucial element in Caroline’s strategy was to introduce a VOC (Voce of the Customer) programme. “The aim of the programme was to provide the business with some insights and a sound understanding of the customer which could be actioned. One of the main initiatives was to run a customer discovery exercise.”

“We developed a range of customer profiles and personas built around our different customer segments. So we had different personas based on whether they were a GP, a specialist or a practice manager. We identified the attributes for each persona, mapping out a path for each persona, a definition of who the customer was and highlighted their pain points.”

“Within our workshops we would then have participants roleplay the different personas. The exercise really helped to bring home the customer’s perspective and an appreciation of what the customer is trying to achieve in their practice and their use of the software”.

The results 

MedicalDirector has shifted its focus. It now designs its software with the customer firmly at the centre of product design and development. The activities of sale, marketing and customer support are greater aligned to help the business to achieve its goals. The company has seen its market share grow along with customer satisfaction.

Caroline comments, “We have received some excellent feedback and reviews for our initiatives. As well as generating continuous improvements in our CSAT scores, we have fostered some fantastic brand ambassadors in the GP and healthcare community.”

In recognition of her efforts Caroline has been shortlisted for the CX Leadership award.

Mark Atterby

Mark Atterby has 18 years media, publishing and content marketing experience.