Why Your Customer’s Healthcare Journey Matters to You

Published on May 10, 2016

“Life is a journey, not a destination.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson is often wrongly identifiedas the source of this quote. What he actually said was:

“To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson’s philosophy is important. The path you choose depends on where you want to go.

Every step shows you something that you need to ultimately recognize your journey’s end. By following the journey, and each transformative moment along the way, you will finish in the place that you need to be.

So how does this apply to your customers?

Customer Journey Mapping is a tool that many companies use to illustrate the steps your customers go through in engaging with your company. The map shows the touchpoints where the customer connects with you. Maps can be very detailed, showing how they feel, why they react a certain way at each touchpoint, what they do, and how often they do it. In healthcare, this helps to find out how the journey affects the patient’s outcome or experience.

Qualitative research gives you insights from interviews with customers, by mapping out their experiences from their first contact with you. Quantitative research gives you the data that supports the insights, to show you what really matters in the journey.

A customer journey map needs both qualitative research and quantitative research to be effective. As the author in the link points out, a graphic like the one below can tell you what happened, but it can’t tell you why. You can guess – but you’ll probably be wrong. And you won’t know whether it matters.


Customer segmentation is the practice of separating a customer base into distinct groups of individuals. Customer segments are similar in specific ways, such as age, gender, lifestyle, interests, and spending habits. Quantitative data can help to identify these, and to look at the relative importance of each segment to your business.

A journey map uses knowledge of several customer segments to show similarities and differences in the customer experience.  Segmentation is relatively new in healthcare, but its potential value is high. In a journey map, it helps you to find the right customers, understand their distinct experiences, and target your response to each individual group. It also helps you validate which experiences affect the outcome of your customers’ journey – and which changes will make a difference.

Healthcare is changing rapidly. It is becoming a consumer-driven market. That means using the tools that will help you to understand your customers, and to find the right ways to reach them at every stage of their journey with you. A journey map shows you which touchpoints matter. And a map that uses the right balance of quantitative and qualitative research will help you take the right actions.

At the journey’s end, what matters to your customer is that you are part of it – every step of the way.

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