Throughout the past few weeks, most of us have shifted our personal lives to the Holiday Season. With that shift comes a lot of online shopping and researching gifts for family and friends. Last weekend my inbox had over 25 emails – all from various ecommerce sites I had interacted with. That got me thinking – which one of these companies did I truly interact with and why? And more importantly for you, how can you take some of e-commerce’s best practices and apply them to your clinic to stand out from the crowd?
Here are three items that stood out to me – all of which you can implement in your digital strategy to help your clinic stand out as well:.
Personalized – I open emails that are personalized in nature and have suggestions based on my personal buying patterns. I automatically delete emails that look like ads. Batch and blast emails are like billboard advertising – they have a place to draw awareness but personalized digital communication drives conversions. Ensure higher open rates by personalizing your digital communication to patients and including information you already know about them.
Relevant – Have you ever abandoned an item in your online shopping cart? Remember receiving an email the next day specifically about that item? What was your reaction? There is a reason sites send you an email if you abandon an item in your shopping cart without completing the transaction – you showed an interest and you just need a little nudge to move forward. These types of emails are highly relevant, and therefore useful to the average consumer. After a patient has visited your clinic, but has not yet booked a procedure, follow up with them using the specific treatment options you discussed. Your patients will find this information personal and relevant, continuing to keep them engaged.
Mobile – We are spending more time online than ever before and as much as 60% of our online time is on mobile first. I, like most people, check my email several times throughout the day on my phone – standing in line at the store, waiting to pick up my kids from school or just lounging on the couch. It can take up to 7 impressions with a brand to build trust – take full advantage of every touchpoint and ensure any digital impression you make is mobile optimized.
Next time you receive a personalized, highly relevant email that causes you to take action, stop and consider how you might be able to implement similar strategies in your clinic’s digital communications.
If you’ve ever been to Walt Disney World, DisneyLand or any of the other Disney locations, you have experienced exceptional customer service somewhere along the way. The organization’s efforts to give families a magical, seamless experience are legendary.
Disney is not one to rest on its laurels, though, and is always innovating and improving that experience for its guests. Recently, Wired magazine profiled one of the organization’s latest wins – the Disney MagicBand. In doing so the magazine uncovers some of the key elements in designing a perfect customer journey – elements that can be easily translated inside a clinic like yours.
Derived from the article, here are three ways to start delivering your own magical patient experience in your clinic:
It’s About Them, Not About You
MagicBands reduce the friction of the customer experience in the park. How can you reduce the friction for your patients? Start by meeting your patients where they are – their mobile devices. Leverage technologies designed to email, text and promote your clinic directly to your patient’s mobile devices. Yes, these technologies will also make your life easier, but that’s not the point – solve for your patients friction in engaging with your clinic
Reimagine your in-clinic experience through observation
How did Disney even come up with the concept of MagicBands? First, they took a step back and critically observed guests and their interactions first hand looking for areas to improve the experience. For your clinic, understanding how patients are accustomed to technology in their daily lives and seamlessly integrating that technology into your consultation flow and follow-up is a great first step. Have you mapped out your clinic’s patient journey? If so, what’s working well? What needs improved upon?
Answer questions before there are even questions
One of the seamless ways Magicbands delivered magic was by anticipating questions guests might have based on their pre-planned park itinerary and location within the park. They used this data to pro-actively push information to a guest (via mobile device) or notify a Disney employee (such as a restaurant hostess) in advance of their arrival so she can personalize their experience upon arrival. Think about the information you already know about your patients before they even arrive at your office. Can you leverage technology to push information such as directions, patient forms or educational content that will be reinforced during their in office visit? By anticipating your patients questions and automatically delivering the answers, you can move into the magical trusted advisor category.
Think that technology like this sounds like a fairy tale for your clinic? Think again. You can implement cost effective solutions like the ones mentioned above right away. If you do, your patients may even start talking about the magical experience they received with your clinic.
Making Mobile Work For Your Clinic
- Implementing a mobile strategy for your clinic does not have to be disruptive but it can be transformative
- Mobile patient engagement and follow up is not an “if” but a “when” and “how” proposition for the success of your clinic
- Focus on adding personalized value to your patients through their mobile devices – one size does not fit all
The recent visit by the Pope to the U.S. made us recall this very famous image of how times have changed as it relates to mobile. If you are not familiar with this picture it is taken from the same vantage point in St. Peter’s Square as the Pope was about to appear before the crowd. To say mobile is pervasive in our lives today is an understatement.
Do you wish you had a quarter for every time someone told your clinic they should “go mobile”?
Do you know what “going mobile” means? Or more importantly, does the person doing the telling know what it means?
It’s more likely that every person who advises you to “go mobile” or “engage with your patients” is talking about something entirely different than the person before and the person after them. That’s because these terms have become all too common buzzwords for everything from email to social media to smartphone apps and beyond.
And because no one really knows what it means, often any advice given in this direction starts to sound as if you’re being told to change everything about how your business is currently run. Maybe someone tries to convince you that you should never pick up the phone to call a patient again – it should be all text message, all the time. Or maybe someone else tells you that you should never run a radio ad again and instead should be focusing all of your attention on building your social network following and placing ads on Facebook.
If that’s what you’re hearing, please don’t listen.
Like any other new business strategy or technology, adding mobile should never be an all or nothing change for how your clinic operates. After all, you’ve spent years perfecting how to run your business and you’ve gotten it down to a science that works. So why would you make wholesale changes just so you can say you’re taking advantage of the current technology?
What you could consider, however, is a less drastic approach: looking for places where adding mobile to your already existing processes, to the patient journey you’re already cultivating, can make your existing processes into an even better engagement tool for both your patients and your team.
After all, it is a fact that your patients are increasingly reliant on their smartphones and other mobile devices to help them communicate and manage their daily lives, so it does only make sense to sometimes communicate with them in ways that accommodate those devices. And your team wants to be as helpful and efficient as possible, so they also want to use the tools that patients prefer. So the key to incorporating these changes becomes finding the places where it makes sense to take advantage of the benefits mobile devices offer in and around the ways your patients are already using them.
What are a few ways to get started with mobile that makes sense for your patients, your team and the available technology? We’ve listed a few below, and would love to hear from you too.
- Follow Up: On average it takes someone up to 7 contacts before they’re ready to make a buying decision. Why not move a few of those follow-ups to email or other digital means? It’ll take the pressure off your consultants to find both the time and reason to check in again over the phone, and many of your prospects are likely to appreciate occasionally hearing from you via an alternative channel.
- Add Value over Mobile: What value do you wish you could provide in a phone consult or follow up but can’t? One idea would be an email-friendly summary of a procedure that can be easily forwarded to family and friends who might be involved in the decision-making process.
- Procedure Visualization: Can you use incorporate mobile graphics in your consultations to better help prospective patients better understand a procedure?
If you have other suggestions for things that have worked well for your clinic let us know in the comments below.
Think You Know What Goes Into Your Patient Marketing? You Might Be Wrong.
Three Key Takeaways:
- Think beyond ads, flyers and social media when you think about marketing
- The experience a patient receives interacting with your clinic can lead to the best marketing of all
- Don’t just imagine a great patient experience in your clinic. Ask yourself critical questions everyday about the experience you are delivering to ensure your patients actually experience what you imagine they are.
Think You Know What Goes Into Your Patient Marketing? You Might Be Wrong.
Have you ever sat down and thought about how you’d define the word marketing if you had to? What activities would be included and what wouldn’t?
If you haven’t, don’t worry – you’re certainly not alone. But it can be a worthwhile exercise because most people would define patient marketing as something around placing print ads, running special promotional pricing, producing radio or TV ads, or other traditional “get the word out” tactics aimed at getting people in the door.
The problem is, that definition isn’t nearly broad enough for most businesses. Because when you think about it, patient marketing, especially at clinics like yours where the goal is to build an experience, is about way more than simply getting people in the door. And when you understand that, you realize there’s actually not a line where your marketing ends and everything else begins – rather, your marketing runs through your entire clinic and is nurtured during every stage of the patient journey.
So given the fact that marketing touches everything at your clinic, how should you approach your marketing strategy?
To answer that question let’s start with the 4 P’s that define the pillars of traditional marketing strategy: Product, Place, Price and Promotion.
Of those 4 pillars, only one – Promotion – is directly related to that common definition of marketing as getting people in the door.
But the other 3? They’re all experienced in one way or another during the patient journey, and often after patients have come to your clinic for the first time. They’re about the spa-like atmosphere in your lobby (Place), the technology you offer in your surgical suites (Product), the way a patient interacts with your billing office (Price) and everything in between.
That means that when you want to make decisions about how to market, you should be thinking beyond radio ads and flyers. Instead start by thinking about how your patients feel while they move through your clinic. Maybe you’ll find that the coffee’s cold in the afternoon, that they’d prefer to communicate with you over email when you’ve only been calling them, or that you only accept payment in person when most patients would prefer to pay online.
If you want to challenge yourself, take it a step further by running through the questions below with your team. Answer them honestly through the eyes of someone engaging with your clinic for the first time. Whatever the answers, if the experience you’re imagining doesn’t line up with your expectations, prioritize your marketing efforts towards correcting the inconsistencies. Only once you’ve fixed those and the experience is as you want it to be should you focus solely on external marketing.
Questions to ask about the patient experience, from a patient’s perspective:
- Would I come back to this clinic? Do I trust everyone I came into contact with?
- Would I send my mother/spouse/child here?
- Would I recommend this clinic to a friend? Be proud of my choice of this clinic, want to show it off, if a friend or family member were to accompany me here?
- Does the clinic communicate with me using technology I use regularly?
- Do I feel heard by everyone at this clinic? Do I feel safe here? Do I feel genuinely cared for?
- Do I know someone is going to follow up with me to make sure things went well? That they genuinely care if I feel good about my choice after my treatment is complete?
- Was my experience at this clinic in line with what I was expecting and wanted?
How do you approach the marketing budget for your clinic? Do you consider overall experience, or just think of things like traditional advertising? Please leave a comment – we’d love to hear from you.
Delivering on the promise of Mobile Patient Engagement
That’s our “Why” at EngageMyHealth
In today’s digital world, a consumer can go online, view a shirt (not even purchase it) and then she will see 30 ads for that same shirt following her around from website to website for the next 30 days. Yet, when she interacts with her healthcare provider, she is sent home with a paper pamphlet, that she will likely never read, and likely won’t hear from her provider again until the next time she initiates the conversation. Oh, and odds are, she will only accurately remember 25% of what was communicated to her during her consultation, but more on that later.
Nothing about that scenario sits well with us here at EngageMyHealth.
Because of this, we are on a mission to leverage mobile devices throughout healthcare. Not in the Star Trek future kind of way that never materializes, but in the real world kind of way that can be easily implemented today for both patient and provider. And by bridging the gap between providers and patients, we’re ensuring all parties benefit from the power of mobile. Too many mHealth companies are focused only on the provider or only on the patient. Instead, our approach puts mobile technology at the center of the communication process, allowing for input and human-centered design from both sides.
And remember that 25% we previously mentioned? That’s the average accurate recall rate from a patient consultation session. How is that acceptable? After all, if a consumer marketing director’s outreach methods were only effective 25% of the time, they’d be fired. So why do we continue to tolerate such a low level of engagement in healthcare? And before you even let yourself go there, let’s not point fingers at one party or the other. Let’s recognize that the problem is inherent in the system as a whole and there is equal blame to go around (patients and providers alike). We would rather focus our collective energy on solutions that work in today’s reality.
At EngageMyHealth we know it can be done better. Much better. We know that mobile centric communication tools will increase engagement, affinity and adherence when it comes to patient communication. And we know this because we don’t just talk about engagement – we deliver it for our clients and their patients, every day.
Please join us on this journey to leverage the technologies and methods already proven effective in the average patient’s daily life. Together, we can positively impact health interactions and outcomes starting right now.