How Ottobock is modernising the user experience with its “Life Lounge”

Ottobock revolutionises customer relationships in the MedTech industry – and puts people at the heart of everything it does

Can a medical technology (MedTech) company – whose high-tech prosthetics and orthotics can cost as much as a mid-range car – have a cult following? If you search ’Ottobock’ on social media, the answer is a resounding ’yes’.

Ottobock is the world leader in the field of wearable bionics. When people start using Ottobock products, they’ve been through a radical change in their lives, and through illness or an accident, their mobility is severely limited. And this 100-year-old family business has all the products they need to regain their independence and have a higher quality of life than they ever thought possible. “That’s why we talk about Ottobock as a human empowerment brand, explains Ottobock’s Chief Experience Officer, Martin Böhm.

The company has innovation literally in its DNA. Professor Hans Georg Näder, grandson of founder Otto Bock, and Chairman of the Board of Directors, is the third generation to run the business. Despite its leading market position, the family understands that Ottobock needs to constantly reinvent itself to stay ahead of the game. Digital transformation is the key, and Georgia Näder, fourth generation descendent and member of the supervisory board, is one of the driving forces making it happen with the pioneering launch of the “Life Lounge” – one place for everyone and everything involved in the customer experience. Find out how digital transformation is putting Ottobock on the pathway to success, and where Salesforce fits in.

“IT, marketing, and digital teams have been siloed for a long time in our company, even though their work is so closely interwoven. We needed to rethink this from a user experience perspective and align those teams and processes.”
Martin Böhm
Chief Experience Officer

In Their Own Words...


1. The way forward: from product-centric to human-centric

The guiding principle of Ottobock’s digital transformation is “from product-centric to human-centric. To keep the global company on this path, Martin Böhm, Chief Experience Officer, joined the team at its Duderstadt headquarters 18 months ago. Ottobock has always had a person-centred focus and is known for its philanthropy. However, Ottobock develops prosthetics and orthotics that need to precisely mimic our complex musculoskeletal system, so engineering took up a lot of time.

In recent years, digitalisation has significantly disrupted the MedTech market; advances in technology, such as 3D printing and more accessible data support, new business models and greater transparency. For example, both orthopaedic technicians and product users now have more information available for decision-making, which means they have more options when it comes to where they buy their products, and higher expectations of the customer experience.

This requires a shift in focus from engineering onto experience. Ottobock wants to get closer to the people who use its products, instead of getting second-hand information filtered back from its B2B customers – care and service providers, such as health insurance companies, physicians, or medical supply stores.

“We needed to get better at listening to product users earlier in the development lifecycle – not just when they start using their prosthetic,” Näder explains.


2. Marketing journeys: automated but personal

Ottobock operates in 60 countries and runs more than 390 patient care centres. Its products are also stocked in thousands of medical supply stores across the world that sell directly to users. Over the years, the business has captured a goldmine of data. As part of its digitalisation strategy, Ottobock is harnessing the power of that data to fuel direct, end-to-end engagements with product users.

“People use our products every day, but the transaction to buy a new one only happens every five to seven years. When it comes to engaging with those potential customers, it makes sense to think long-term user relationships and journeys, explains Böhm.

The company rolled out preconfigured journeys in Marketing Cloud to automate communications with prospective and existing product users. Leads are captured from any digital channel - whether through social media or search engine - and contacted online or by phone. During this conversation, they’re given comprehensive information about the product they’re interested in and can make an appointment to try it on at one of Ottobock’s patient care centres or with a partner, such as a medical supply store.

After the purchase, the refitting journey is triggered. Product users are sent reminders before the warranty expires or when their prosthetic or orthotic is due to be refitted or replaced. “Automated journeys benefit everyone. Many users don’t know they’re eligible for replacements, which are often reimbursed by their insurer, Böhm comments. “We close more sales, users get better mobility thanks to advances in technology, and there’s less demand to supply older products.

“My vision is to design a more connected product user experience, where we can engage with users to find out their individual needs and develop better solutions based on these insights – we’re already an essential part of their lives if they use our products, so we want to show that we value them.”
Georgia Näder
Fourth Generation Descendent and Member of the Supervisory Board

3. Health Cloud: supporting patient care

Ottobock implemented Health Cloud to ensure that product users receive high quality, personalised care under its patient care service. Salesforce developed preconfigured treatment journeys in Health Cloud based on research it undertook with hundreds of its customers. These out-of-the-box journeys map every step of a care or treatment plan in line with its predefined parameters and any integrated data. This gives treatment centres and orthopaedic technicians a 360-degree view of product users and enables them to provide targeted, individual support at every stage.

This data is particularly relevant for the Visual Remote Assistant team. People who need support with their Ottobock product can get step-by-step instructions via video chat to solve the issue themselves, so they don’t have to visit a technician in person. Visibility of the user’s history in Health Cloud is essential for the team providing the support, but in turn, insights captured from service cases are routed to the product development team to eliminate common pain points and optimise their designs.

Today, only the company’s internal operations team is connected to Health Cloud, in line with data protection regulations. However, the company is considering connecting external partners such as medical supply stores – which are Ottobock’s B2B customers – to involve them more closely with the user journey.

4. Aligning global sales: with greater transparency and richer insights

To make B2B sales more efficient and transparent, and to manage large volumes of customer data, Ottobock kicked off a global Sales Cloud implementation, starting with its largest market in the USA.

Previously, each country had its own system, but Ottobock is centralising all regions on a common platform for the future. An advantage of having a common data structure is that the CRM team can provide standard templates for processes, which will help to accelerate each country’s rollout. “We’re encouraging a cross-country exchange of best practices and use cases, and we’re already seeing efficiency gains when it comes to CRM, explains Böhm. “Everyone is pulling together.

Thanks to analytics dashboards, sales teams can work in a much more effective, targeted way. They can view projected and actual sales in real time, and they can adjust to meet targets much faster. Where previously staff had to create manual tables, now they can visualise data in real time at the push of a button.

As the market leader, the opportunities to gain market share are becoming narrower. By connecting external market data to Salesforce – which Ottobock is doing in the USA – target markets can be defined and worked on more precisely by both the sales and marketing teams.

“The beauty of Marketing Cloud is the simplicity and speed of setting up custom journeys based on customer data. It was one of the key reasons for choosing Salesforce.”
Oliver Adekunle
Head of Marketing Technology

5. Communities: a brand that empowers and connects people

To maximise opportunities to engage with product users, Ottobock is working on establishing a user community. “Our target audience and existing users already communicate on social media, but we want to establish our own community for people with limited mobility, explains Näder. “People with amputations, for example, often don’t know anyone else in the same situation. Our Movao community gives them a place where they can connect and share experiences, their everyday challenges, and practical tips.

The community has already been well received by product users and their families. Ottobock is currently working on refining it and migrating it onto the Salesforce platform. “Centralising on Salesforce will make it easier to connect and enrich data. We’ll receive more unfiltered feedback than ever on how we can keep improving our products and the user experience. Salesforce is helping us to live up to our vision of being a brand that empowers our users, concludes Böhm.



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