Healthcare is moving toward a more retail like model. Pricing transparency, patient’s ability to educate themselves and make informed decisions about their own care and the consolidation of the industry are all factors in this transition. What can healthcare marketers learn from the retail space to make them more effective? I would start with the things people care about.
Find a Doctor
How familiar are you with your physician finder on your own website? Have you tried to use it? If you haven’t you should. Although this functionality is one of the most visited pages on your website, it is my experience that most of them are flat out terrible. Imagine if your sole source of income came from the physician finder? Would you want to make it easy for visitors to use and choose a provider? Retailers look very closely at web analytics. They would look at the action they want people to take, in this case choosing a provider, and constantly monitor and tweak functionality in order to optimize conversions. No one cares about the 150 other pages on your website, they care about this.
Bill Pay and Appointment Scheduling
Bill pay and scheduling can be a lot trickier for health care providers depending on the size and complexity within the organization. Some health systems have many different service lines or physician groups that use a variety of bill pay and scheduling platforms making it difficult for visitors to navigate. They can also be cumbersome. Does anyone actually know their patient ID number? People want the retail model for bill pay and scheduling. They want to do this online if they easily can. Less and less people use the telephone as their first go to when trying to accomplish what amounts to them as a tedious task.
CRM and Marketing Automation
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software combined with marketing automation is something retailers have embraced. Why? When used and executed properly it is highly effective at tracking, nurturing and maintaining loyal clients. Healthcare is a little slower to this trend although some of the large health systems have begun to use this technology. The long and short of it is that CRM allows you to track your own marketing data and potential patients. This in turn allows you to use the data to track the effectiveness of campaigns, see where potential patients are in the decision making process and segment your audience in an infinite number of ways. When overlaying marketing automation you can create a variety of campaigns that target the consumer at various points in the decision making process.
Retailers like Target and Zappos are pretty good at making money and they have developed strategies, tactics and technology that allows them to do their jobs better. Granted the CMO of 47 Brand isn’t dealing with an orthopedic surgeon that thinks he’s a marketer or an IT department that is so risk adverse they fight the marketing department every step of the way when it comes to technology but they are faced with other challenges. Moving to a retail like model is not an overnight process. However, with a buy-in from senior management and a focused 100 day plan, healthcare marketers could adjust the things that are important to the people that matter, the consumer and in turn increase volume and the patient experience.
We can integrate your marketing and operations technology to provide a personalized experience throughout the patient journey while collecting and measuring data you can actually use to improve patient care, and nurture a loyal patient referral base.