Patient loyalty and retention are primary drivers of a medical practice’s long-term success. But earning patients’ loyalties is harder than ever in today’s patient-centric marketplace. Modern patients demand that health care providers meet high expectations for convenience, customer service, and personalized care and attention. Providers who fall short can easily be dropped for a competitor.
What can medical practices do to build trusting relationships with patients and earn their long-term loyalty? We explore solutions in the blog post below.
What Drives Patient Loyalty?
According to a survey from Solutionsearch, 20% of baby boomers, 44% of Generation Xers, and 42% of millennials are likely to switch medical practices if they’re not satisfied with their current health care experience. Your practice needs to understand the key factors that contribute to a great patient experience in order to start earning your patients’ trust and loyalty.
Today, patient expectations for a great health care experience include the following:
- Convenient communication options
- High-quality care
- Exceptional customer service
- Easy access to medical records
- Personalized attention
The benefits of retaining patients are plentiful. Loyal patients are your biggest cheerleaders and brand promoters. They’re more likely to give word-of-mouth referrals, engage with you on social media, and give reviews and testimonials — all of which helps you spread brand awareness and gain new customers to your practice.
So what can your practice do to meet the expectations listed above and retain satisfied patients? Keep reading for our recommendations.
6 Ways to Increase Loyalty and Retention
Use the following tips to improve the patient experience and increase loyalty to your practice.
1. Determine your weaknesses. Your organization needs to discover the factors that are hindering loyalty and retention among patients. One effective way to gage satisfaction is sending out surveys and gaining feedback at multiple steps along the patient journey. Patient feedback can help you identify gaps in patient care and take steps to address and correct them.
2. Make things simple for patients. Complexity is a significant barrier to a good patient experience. What happens when patients call the office and can’t get answers to the questions they have or spend a long time on hold before receiving help? What happens when patients can’t get access to their records, test results, care plan, and other important information when they need it? And what happens when patients try to pay their bill, only to be met with a confusing payment process? What happens in all these scenarios is that patients leave for a new provider. One effective way to streamline processes for patients is to use a patient portal. A portal allows patients to view documents like their records and care plans, schedule check-up appointments, make prescription requests, communicate with their care team, pay bills, and fill out pre-appointment forms to save time during a scheduled appointment. Navigating health care issues are incredibly stressful, and you’ll be well on your way to earning long-lasting loyalty if you can simplify stress-inducing processes for your patients.
3. Provide communication options. One of the biggest hindrances to patient loyalty is poor patient-provider communications. Outside of the doctor’s office, many patients feel like their doctors and care teams are inaccessible to them if they need assistance between appointments. Implementing a patient portal system can improve patient-provider communications by offering patients a centralized messaging center to contact their care team with questions and concerns between appointments. Maintaining a direct line for communications facilitates more trust, increased engagement, and a better patient-provider relationship.
4. Personalize care. Many patients become frustrated and unhappy when they feel like they’re not receiving personalized care and attention from their health care team. One way your practice can improve patient care processes is by using a health care CRM like Salesforce Health Cloud. Health Cloud stores and manages patient information in a centralized platform that everyone in your organization — from admin staff to providers — can access and update. Health Cloud allows care teams to build comprehensive profiles containing a patient’s medical history, past and current care issues, care plans, medications, medical records, and other data that’s all viewable at a glance. Health Cloud also allows providers to communicate and coordinate with a patient’s additional providers and other caregivers. Using a centralized CRM facilitates improved care coordination and more personalized health care experiences for patients.
5. Prioritize customer service. Customer service is a brand differentiator in the health care industry. Everyone in your organization — from the staff members who speak to patients on the phone and greet them in the office to the providers who meet with patients during appointments — is responsible for providing exceptional customer service at all times. Your staff and providers should be warm, kind, and respectful during all interactions with patients. If your team leads with empathy and compassion, loyal patients will follow.
6. Educate and engage. Relationship-building is an on-going process. Continue to build your patients’ trust and loyalty by sending helpful, educational content, appointment reminders, additional resources, follow-up contact, and surveys regularly. Educating patients and keeping them engaged with your practice will help nurture trusting, long-term relationships.
Learn More About NewGen Marketing
The NewGen Marketing team has years of experience driving sales and business growth for industry-leading health care brands. We recognize the value of integrating multi-channel marketing campaigns with a proven acquisition and nurturing process that turns leads into patient conversions and treatments.
We provide broad-spectrum medical marketing services, including strategy and investment, analytics, paid media, social media, remarketing, content marketing, and acquisition and call centers. When you’re ready to hire a marketing agency who can drive more to your bottom line, contact NewGen Marketing for a free consultation.