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  • Azteca+Jenner
    Service from People to People
    Market Fit | Strategy | Service Design | Identity | Experience | Communication | Transformation

    How did Azteca+Jenner humanize and personalize service in a diagnostic laboratory?

    Healthcare services aimed at the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) represent a huge area of opportunity in markets like Mexico. Nevertheless, many face a stigma that low cost implies inferior quality. As part of a 2019 reinvention effort Grupo Diagnóstico Aries (GDA) invited Thrust to review and evaluate the model for two of its laboratories, Azteca and Jenner, aimed at that segment. Together we began a journey to reimagine the experience at a diagnostic lab, in which a culture of personalization and service is the principle differentiating factor.

    Two-Sided Coin

    As a first step and after a detailed diagnostic study, we identified the existence of two principal patient markets. One the one hand there are walk-ins—which include “cash patients,” i.e., those that decide personally to go into the lab and pay out-of-pocket, as well as patients doctors have referred. On the other hand there are patients from the governmental or business sectors, such as insurers and hospitals. Our research revealed that neither of these audiences had any kind of connection with the brand. There was neither familiarity nor favorability. Patients came in for reasons of convenient locations or for a specific request but not from any sense of loyalty.

    Mass customization

    We proposed changing this reality as well as expanding cash-patient markets. What did we do? We implemented a model of warm, quality and low-cost service. The strategy ended up democratizing healthcare through solid clinical diagnoses for which the competition would not only be the same segment’s laboratories, but others placed higher on the pyramid. Nonetheless the challenge was to make that promise a scalable and personalizable model, which we managed through protocol design and replicable practices in all installations.

    Humanize the journey

    Thanks to our “double loop” methodology, we discovered a patient’s experience in a diagnostic laboratory is subject to various vulnerable moments. To mitigate those disquiets, we eliminated the generalized and recurring notion of treating the patient as yet another number. We designed a journey that included companionship and emotions-management; it consisted of putting together welcome protocols, protocols for people to manage their time when waiting, and a number of strategies to mitigate anxiety during the clinical studies process.

    Honor the deserving

    In addition to patients, we recognized that the strategy also had to center on Azteca+Jenner teams, the anonymous heroes of the equation. To drive growth of their “soft” and “hard” skills, we put together Academia GDA, an internal talent development program. We included the tools and principles to operate Academia GDA in a book that is available to all. Additionally, in the clinics, we designed an employee lounge and rest area, with comfortable sofas and a kitchenette. These spaces’ goal was to increase the sense of belonging and mutual collaboration.

    New image

    We put a twist on the stereotype of the lab as cold or tense. It meant work on an institutional visual system that turned Azteca+Jenner clinics into community centers with an important emphasis on families. Inspired by proven practices from behavioral psychology, we developed a new logo, “Dr. Jenny,” a symbol of companionship for patients during the diagnostic process. She and other Azteca+Jenner characters belong to a linking strategy that humanizes the service and has produced excellent outcomes.


    The new Azteca+Jenner is a story of humanity and personalization. During the covid-19 public-health emergency, these operative principles’ application translated to an increase in sales and a greater number of satisfied customers. As a next-step, Azteca+Jenner will advocate using AI in its services so it can monitor patients and anticipate their appointments. This case makes evident BoP markets’ enormous potential but also confirms that only those capable of delivering warm, professional service based on user priorities will be the ones within this segment who will enjoy long-term opportunities.

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