In all industries, the increase in retention rates by + 5% increases profits by + 25% to + 95%, but in the current healthcare market, it is much easier said than done.
Why? Patients have become selective clients – they have many healthy options on the local market to choose from and do not hesitate to look around and compare the medical facilities regarding the services provided, the price and the general experience. In addition, Millennial customers, who have already passed the Baby Boomer generation, are more likely to proactively search for cost information and medical quality assessments provided by health clinics and facilities.
With the healthcare landscape evolving, marketers must focus on patient loyalty in order to achieve significant growth for the healthcare system.
Attracting new patients is beneficial, but keeping them within the healthcare network has the potential to generate more profit over the long term .
Let’s take a closer look at five Health Marketing strategies to drive patient retention in the digital age:
1. Build solid relationships with multi-channel involvement
Each client has a set of preferences about how, where and when he wants to engage with his health care system. This is why it is essential for marketing teams to design multi-channel engagement campaigns so that customers have the information they need to decide to book an appointment and travel to one health facility over another.
Here are four steps to help you use multichannel campaigns, build strong relationships and encourage patient retention:
Organize your data in a central database: consolidate your data in a single location and start establishing a central database for all customer and patient information. The use of software integrates data to provide consumers and patients with a seamless experience between channels.
Find interested customers: by using CRM and predictive and propensity modeling, healthcare professionals can use precision marketing techniques to identify the right patients for up-selling and cross-selling services. The CRM health care solution allows patients to be involved along with their health path with precision marketing campaigns and advanced predictive analysis that ultimately drive the growth of the high-value service line, extend the lifetime value of the patient and increase l patient acquisition and retention.
Use the right channels at the right time: thanks to new technologies, doctors are able to further improve patients’ quality of life, both through new tools for diagnosis and treatment and through constant health communication. When deciding how to involve patients throughout the campaign, always consider patient preferences and access to each channel (digital or otherwise).
The doctor has numerous Health Marketing Web tools at his disposal that allow him to further improve the relationship with patients. Among these, for example:
- The website, which must be as clear and simple as possible in order to be used by all users;
- The blog, a story tool with which you can prove to be reliable;
- Social networks, to interact with patients in a more dynamic way with photos and videos;
- A card on Google MyBusiness to group all the contact information;
- A database to organize all patient information and data in a practical and orderly manner;
- Sponsorship campaigns with Google AdWords & Facebook Ads to increase web traffic;
- E-mail marketing, by sending regular newsletters (preferably customized);
- The promotions, for example with the use of coupons that provide for discounts;
- User feedback, with which you can build your online reputation.
Use the travel map: the patient’s travel maps are where everything joins. They provide a roadmap for patient engagement and create positive experiences for patients and retain their presence. Patient path mapping offers healthcare marketing professionals the insight and understanding needed to elevate patients’ experiences at any stage of the journey, keeping consumers and patients committed to their specific needs and preferences.
2. Customize interactions
As the health market is becoming increasingly focused on the end consumer, healthcare facilities must work to optimize commitment efforts. The personalized interactions improve patient satisfaction, promote the loyalty of patients and prevent customers from moving to the health networks competing to find the best services and professional mostly made.
When patient satisfaction improves, medical facilities often see fewer cancellations and missed appointments, more punctual payments, aspects that all contribute to increasing the patient’s stay within the facility itself.
Take a look at these three tactics to customize interactions in your healthcare system:
- Make patient experiences simple and efficient: consolidate all communications with patients and make sure you develop multi-channel healthcare communication. For each campaign take advantage of the channels (web, blogs, social media, newsletters, mail, paper mail) that your audience prefers and that will probably involve them the most, also based on age and lifestyle Automate patient processes where you can save time before and after appointments. Maintain clear and consistent communication with all patients on the network.
- Quickly resolve requests: remember that your staff must also be prepared on all aspects that involve your structure, therefore general information, technical aspects, changes of schedules and specifications on specific services. Prepare your operators for the secretariat so that they can quickly solve problems and encourage patient retention; develops a series of best practices that they can use to solve the most common requests, in fact having guidelines can be a way to customize interactions with customers on the phone quickly and effectively.
- Revisit, adjust, adapt: try to understand exactly the needs of your patients: examine which channels are most used, organize the insights of the data provided by the call center, such as average response speed, average wait time and resolution rate of the first call, to determine where to improve and create greater involvement. It is essential to continuously measure and monitor the performance of your Medical Marketing strategy and change elements where necessary. Keep simplicity, use research and facilitate people’s action. Develop your Healthcare Marketing strategy with the right expectations. Start with a priority plan and focus on consistency and continuous improvement.
Let’s take an example:
A patient with shoulder pain turns to a sports medicine specialist. After the first appointment the patient does not show up at the other fixed meetings, then the secretary of the study turns to him to encourage him to reprogram the specialized appointments and help him find a more suitable solution with his commitments. In the meantime, the patient receives medical information provided by the specialist via email to help him alleviate shoulder pain and a reminder for the next appointment.
3. Add convenience
Consumers are used to technology and now expect immediate and personalized healthcare at their fingertips. While it may seem impossible to live up to these expectations, there are steps to be taken to make patient experiences more affordable.
First of all, make sure all platforms are integrated and updated. In today’s healthcare environment, many customers are looking for information online to make a decision. Make sure all cost information, what to expect from the service or health insurance is easily available on your website.
Next, take advantage of predictive analysis and machine learning to anticipate customer needs (and next steps) to achieve better health results. These technologies analyze the data and provide insights for marketing experts to use to make more informed decisions.
Let’s take a closer look at some examples of virtual services and technologies that can add comfort to patient experiences:
- Telehealth: doctors use a webcam and a web hosting platform to provide virtual assistance to patients;
- mHealth: mobile health apps provide patients with easily accessible health information;
- Social media: healthcare organizations can initiate extensive discussions or respond to specific needs/requests of patients;
- Wearable technology: devices such as Fitbit and Apple Watch monitor patient health metrics, such as heart rate, and may be monitored in patients, subject to their consent, to perform research on larger samples of those involved.
4. Reach a higher standard of service
Providing a better service may seem the easiest way to retain customers, but cooperation and collaboration between departments is necessary to achieve this. Although it may seem that the marketing team has little control over the quality of the service, there are things you can do to change patients’ perception of the care they receive.
Use these three points to improve the quality of service in your healthcare facility:
- Transparency: make patients feel like they are in control of their health care by providing them with all the information they need to make an informed decision. In addition to health portals, consider the possibility of creating social groups for patients to share industry news and where they can refer when they have a specific problem. Become a reliable resource for your patients beyond personal visits.
- Availability: from appointments to specialist visits, a health facility should ensure that patients can be seen in a timely manner without long waiting lists. Healthcare Marketing must be involved and aware of operational problems. For example, a center should not sponsor a campaign for a new outpatient service that has no appointments available for months.
- Hospitality: do your best for your patients whenever you can. Set up a coordination center to converge and create positive experiences for patients both in and out of the hospital. Simple actions such as confirming or scheduling appointments in advance not only accelerates processes but also makes patients feel satisfied with the medical facility they are addressing.
5. Request customer feedback
The last – and perhaps the most important – strategy to retain customers is to listen. Manage patient feedback to get an understanding of how they feel about your healthcare organization at an individual or group level.
L ‘sending satisfaction surveys of patients at each visit is a great way to get valuable feedback that can improve your health activities. Use the answers you are given to learn what you are doing well and where there is room for improvement. Giving people a voice makes them feel stronger i. This is a simple way to open lines of communication and promptly deal with issues that might otherwise lead them to head towards another facility.
If patients are available, sharing written testimonials or videos is also an effective way to show your skills. It also monitors your online presence and promptly and honestly addresses any negative feedback from patients.
Finally, invest in tools and tactics that help patients feel special and not just “one of many”. The more patients you can maintain in your health system, the greater the economic return and the value of the patient’s life.