It’s no secret that reviews and online research are major factors in how customers choose where to take their business, but with medical centers, patients often need urgent care or choose from a limited number of providers under their insurance. As a result, many healthcare organizations fail to prioritize patient relationships, but these relationships matter in ways you may not realize.
There are four “R”s to keep in mind when understanding why patient relationships matter so much:
Online reviews often provide the first impression of your organization to new potential patients. When someone searches your organization, what is the first thing that shows up? If the first thing someone sees are poor reviews on Google, Yelp, HealthGrades, and the like, the searcher may choose to go to a competitor with better reviews. After all, why would they go somewhere where they have a higher likelihood of getting poor treatment or having a bad experience?
Online reviews play a large role in forming a healthcare organization’s reputation. Improved patient relationships lead to better reviews online and better word-of-mouth referrals to patients’ family and friends, as well as a better reputation in the area. And when patients feel they are important to your organization, relationships improve. Patients become more communicative and offer feedback for continued improvement.
So how do you generate better patient relationships? While face-to-face communication and person-to-person experiences play a crucial role in patient satisfaction, there are a number of marketing strategies that can be of assistance as well.
Increasing engagement between your organization and current patients will help to build stronger relationships while also raising brand awareness. Contests, hashtags, and continuous quality content allow you to engage patients throughout the year. Respond when someone mentions your organization on social media. Post on your official social media channels regularly. This will raise visibility and keep you in your patients’ sights.
In addition to engaging your current audience, you should also aim to grow your audience (which will help recruit new patients as well). Establishing your organization’s presence at local events by sponsoring charity drives, volunteering, or acting as a host or speaker work to promote your brand and establish face-to-face interactions with prospective local patients. Use press releases and other forms of content to make others aware of where you’ll be and when.
Awareness campaigns also raise your organization’s visibility by educating your audience about the treatments and services you provide. Sharing reliable, valuable information shows patients you care and helps establish authority in your area of expertise. Sharing your message in such a way builds trust between patients and the organization. Paperless medical record systems and other forms of increased transparency make patients feel they are being kept in the loop and regularly informed of how you are caring for them.
Case studies provide solid data that backs up your organizations’ claims at providing quality care and service. You can also use patient testimonials to personalize content and engage with your audience on a more personal, human level. Such stories stay with people, building trust and helping your organization build personal relationships that drive patient loyalty.