When looking to increase patient loyalty, hospitals and healthcare providers can take a page from loyalty leaders in other industries. In the hospitality industry, for example, Marriott International has built a loyal following by focusing on customer experiences. Marriott’s APAC VP of Digital, Loyalty, and Portfolio Marketing Alan Tsui says, “Customer experience is innately about human to human connection, and the sum total of all the touchpoints—online and offline, engagements and exchanges a customer makes with us from start to end.”
But how can healthcare providers make these same, meaningful connections?
Personalizing patient engagement
Consumers look forward to planning and going on a vacation; they may even find business travel enjoyable — or at least tolerable. Even fewer people feel that way about healthcare experiences. As a result, healthcare providers are already at a disadvantage. Touchpoints alone won’t fuel patient engagement, so providers must understand how to motivate action. Psychographic segmentation can help.
Rather than segmenting healthcare marketing campaigns based on demographics or diagnoses, c2b’s psychographic segmentation model categorizes healthcare consumers into one of five groups based on their beliefs, motivations and preferences specific to their health and wellness. A Priority Juggler, for example, may be more inclined to schedule preventive care if messaging emphasizes his or her importance to the family. A proactive Self-Achiever, on the other hand, may be activated by messaging that offers checklists or goals for good health.
And it’s not just the messaging that needs to be fine-tuned to drive patient engagement — and, in the process, patient loyalty. Healthcare providers also need to address factors that today’s savvy healthcare consumers expect from any brand — be it a hotel chain, an online retailer or a hospital.
Becker’s Hospital Review highlights several critical components of an effective, personalized patient loyalty strategy.
- Meet and exceed convenience expectations — Nearly 61 percent of respondents to a 2016 Accenture study, “Patient Loyalty, It’s Up for Grabs,” say they would switch providers if they could get an appointment quickly when they need it. More than 50 percent would do the same to get an appointment at a convenient location. What’s more, they’re willing to pay more for the convenience of weekend or evening appointments or a virtual appointment with a doctor. Becker’s Hospital Review notes, “Convenience is a foundational, functional benefit that needs to be in place before deeper loyalty can be earned. Building in convenience should be a key part of your business and patient experience strategies.”
- Improve patient experiences — In a Forbes article on customer service in healthcare, James Merlino, M.D. said, “The question for healthcare leaders today is how do we make patient care a fundamentally better experience across the continuum? That includes safety, quality and service. It also includes making healthcare more connected so that we promote wellness care as well as disease care. We also need to integrate distance health so people can stay at home and at work. And, finally, how do we significantly reform our archaic payment system? Addressing those challenges will truly be transformative, and transformation is one strategic objective we should all be thinking about.” This strategy isn’t just about matching the expectations of healthcare consumers spoiled by personalized experiences across other areas of their life. Better patient experiences lead to better health outcomes, increased patient engagement and greater patient loyalty.
- Redefine quality for more patient engagement — Clinical quality is often a talking point in hospital marketing campaigns, but healthcare consumers focus on more than health outcomes when evaluating the quality of care. Younger patients value low prices; older patients value convenient, time-saving options like walk-in appointments and short wait times. Moreover, 68 percent of healthcare consumers say they would forgo treatment if given a terminal prognosis because they’d rather “enjoy the time they have, rather than extend their life with diminished quality.”
- Empower wellness care — Using psychographic segmentation to understand how consumers think helps healthcare providers address patients’ health aspirations and deliver relevant content, both online and offline, to improve patient engagement. When patients can easily find the information they need — or receive timely notifications via email, text or interactive phone calls to remind them about preventive or follow-up care plans—they see healthcare providers as valued partners in their wellness journey, which in turn drives patient loyalty.
Traditional healthcare providers face increased competition from retail clinics and other innovators entering the industry. But with psychographic insights into how healthcare consumers think and what they expect from their interactions along the entire continuum of care, hospitals and medical practices can inspire greater patient engagement and deliver experiences that enhance patient loyalty over time.
For more on how your organization can use psychographic segmentation to drive both patient engagement and patient loyalty, download our whitepaper.