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HCF | October 2019 | Health & Wellness | Design, Procurement & Build
greater group partnered with HCF in the design and fit-out of the front-of-house area in its state-of-the-art branch and dental flagship on Collins Street in Melbourne CBD. As Australia’s largest not-for-profit health fund, HCF joins a growing number of healthcare providers that are collaborating with design firms to create environments that combine smart design with a focus on customer needs. The greater group team, who is also behind the design for five HCF insurance centres including the award-winning HCF George St, Sydney flagship, integrated its new insurance branch and existing dental practice with a front-of-house concept that reflects the brand ethos: “Putting Australia’s Health First”.
Designers balanced the use of bright lighting, homely furniture and décor with sleek, polished shapes and bright pops of colour to set the welcoming tone on the ground floor. The modular and practical design also facilitates the shift to a service-focused retail model, one that encourages people to make smart decisions about their health insurance in an open setting. Flexibility helps to future-proof the design from rapid obsolescence in the face of changing needs and technologies. Collaborative seating arrangements, intimate consulting booths and signage that promotes optimal way-finding to the dental practice allow easy navigation upon entrance.
MERGING TWO DESIGNS As a not-for-profit organisation, HCF’s main focus is to channel funds towards providing better services for their members, so to build a new facility every time the need exists may not be a financially prudent option. greater group was appointed by HCF to provide design, procurement, build and project management services to seamlessly incorporate their new insurance branch into the existing dental practice, transforming it into a welcoming space that would appeal to all types of HCF customers. The goal was to make the whole space work cohesively while maintaining a visual difference between the two services and integrate elements from the dental centre to align the HCF brand identity.CUSTOMER-FOCUSED The role of the health insurer has been shifting in recent years: they are increasingly playing a more active role in educating customers on healthier lifestyle choices and promoting preventative treatments. The renewed space needed to embody their ‘patient care before profit’ motto, with a strong focus on community and member well-being. It needed to facilitate the types of activities and conversations that HCF is having today and be able to grow and adapt as their members’ needs change over time.
BRANDED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE The key design challenge at the start of the process was to understand the branch’s propositions so as to develop a concept that caters more effectively to their customer demographics.
Beyond a traditional claims processing and account inquiries branch, this new branch concept addresses the creation of superior front line execution by marrying technology, workflow process optimisation and the human element. Attention is also paid to interactivity, discovery and instant delivery to assist in creating a branded customer experience.
HOLISTIC HEALTHCARE EXPERIENCE
Thoughtfully-designed and aesthetically-pleasing interiors are not only good for their patients and customers; they improve the well-being of the staff as well. The greater group team worked closely with HCF to craft a space that allows branch staff to deliver extraordinary levels of customer support and service quality within a welcoming and comforting environment.From HCF’s bright logo signage to the strategic mix of warm and cool lighting, wooden feature wall and abundance of greenery, the interior is both homely and contemporary. Customers also have more direct access to staff and queries are dealt with in a variety of consultative environments.
Staff is no longer fixed to a desk but instead can consult across the entire space, enabling them to tailor that moment of engagement with the specific customer and the enquiry. Lounge areas for comfortable chats, stand-up service areas for busy people with quick enquiries and private booths for longer discussions for when they prefer more privacy are all available to customers. The concept maintains brand consistency with the Sydney flagship by using the same furniture for the seating and reception areas, but other elements such as sharper lighting, a brighter colour palette, cleaner spatial division and household-inspired interior props help to transition between the two distinct services.
HCF was founded in 1932 as a health insurance cover provider and has since become one of Australia’s largest combined registered private health fund and life insurance organisations. HCF is the third largest health insurance company by market share and is the largest not-for-profit health fund in Australia. The profit made by HCF goes back into the fund instead of being divided among shareholders, paying out more cents in every dollar in premiums to members as benefits over the past five years than the industry average. Among major health insurance providers in Australia, HCF had the lowest average premium increase in 2018.