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Patients Value Positive Customer Experiences, Healthcare Marketing

Healthcare marketing strategies that reflect consumer preferences for positive customer experiences can be as much as twice as successful as campaigns that ignore that aspect, according to a healthcare marketing agency leader.

In her post on Forbes.com, Northlich President and CEO Kathy Selker says on Dec. 28:

In “The Emerging Importance of Patient Amenities in Hospital Care,” published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that, for patients, “The nonclinical experience is twice as important as the clinical reputation in making hospital choices.”

Emphasize Customer Experience, In Addition to Quality Care

Yes, consumers care about whether they’ll get quality care, Selker says. But they also want customer experiences that feed their souls. Patient questionnaires can help determine what to emphaize in marketing materials, like a Boston University study showing patients were willing to pay up to 38 percent more for a hospital room with hotel-like¬†amenities.

But Northich found cancer patients preferred group treatments where they could make friends who served as a support system.

Selker writes:

“One hospital even built a garden and ran electrical outlets through it so infusion pumps could be used outdoors.”

She concludes:

“Anything a hospital does to make the process of getting care easier for patients, from streamlining parking to providing birthing suites, online bill pay and patient navigators, is worth a mention in the hospital’s marketing materials. Because patients truly care about these factors and choose hospitals based on them.”

Customer Experience Can Start With the Marketing Piece

Selker speaks of hospital marketing, but other healthcare marketing can benefit from emphasizing a positive customer experience, too. Highmark Health targeted those new to Medicare with the message of letting the company do the work for them. Direct mail recipients answered a short survey via reply mail, email or phone channels, or spoke in-person at physical offices with Highmark advisors who helped them pick policies, reads a BRAND United case study.

Combining direct mail and email amplifies response, a recent study from the UK found.

“Hobson’s Choice,” research released in December by Go Inspire Group, shows:

“Direct mail has a lifespan of 17 days, compared with direct email’s two seconds.”

So mail brought in five times as much revenue per customer than email, but the two combined brought in six times as much revenue per customer as email, the research showed.

“Astute marketers should not be regarding direct email and direct mail as a choice — an either/or decision — but should be exploring how the two mediums are combined to provide the greatest incremental, complementary effect.”

Go Inspire CEO Patrick Headley’s comments to PrintWeek on Dec. 24 show direct mail may provide its own positive customer experience:

“Direct mail is often perceived as a more personalized form of marketing, whilst email is seen to be very quick and informal. At a first glance, many would assume that email is a great mechanism for boosting profits fast, yet direct mail helps secure customers.”

What do you think, marketers?

Please respond in the comments section below.