Can the Healthcare Industry Meet the Demands of On-the-Go Millennials?
As we’ve noted previously, Millennials are fast becoming the largest generational cohort in the U.S., and immigration has continued to swell their numbers. Successfully engaging with this group requires healthcare organizations to acknowledge millennial characteristics — both shared and unique — and develop solutions that address the expectations of this highly-diverse, ‘Now’ generation.
How Can Hospitals Create Better Experiences?
As a group, Millennials are the first generation to grow up in the digital age — and this always-connected attitude permeates their lifestyles, including what Millennials want from healthcare. An article in Media Post looks at data from an Aspect Software study, which revealed one critical component of successfully engaging Millennials: customer service. It’s not just Millennials who are looking for a better consumer experience, however.
The study notes that among all age groups, 76 percent of those surveyed viewed customer service as a “true test” because it is a direct reflection of how much an organization values its consumers. But Millennials seem to have some of the highest expectations.
- 56 percent of Millennials abandoned at least one company in the past year because of poor customer service.
- 73 percent believe that organizations should support self-service for resolving product or service issues.
- Millennials tend to be “experience-loyal” rather than committed to a specific product or organization, confirming the importance of creating positive patient experiences. (Note: the article makes a distinction between “experience loyal” and “brand loyal”, though my training at P&G taught me that a brand is the sum total of a consumer’s experiences with a product or service).
The Media Post article says that “Millennials are hyper-connected to their mobile device, and booking a doctor’s appointment or a car rental via text is not just a quick and easy convenience, it’s expected.” For healthcare providers, your best opportunity to build strong patient relationships with Millennials is to develop tools that support the desired connectivity and convenience.
Cleveland Clinic Aims at Satisfying Millennial Patients
Last year, Forbes took a look at how the Cleveland Clinic is transforming the traditional healthcare model of making appointments weeks in advance. Call the Cleveland Clinic today and, the article said, you’ll be greeted with “Thank you for calling Cleveland Clinic. Would you like to be seen today?” Same-day appointments? It sounds unbelievable – especially for such a busy, high-profile healthcare provider, but the Clinic’s chief experience officer James Merlino told Forbes that the Clinic accommodates “about a million” same-day appointments annually. Callers go through telephone triage to assess their health needs and determine who needs to see them; some callers may require a specialist while others only need to see a nurse practitioner.
This isn’t the only way that the Cleveland Clinic addresses the millennial characteristics that focus on instant gratification. In order to improve patient satisfaction among Millennials, the Cleveland Clinic has enhanced the communication channels available to patients to include:
- Appointments via mobile
- Content via mobile
- Online chat
- HIPAA-compliant email correspondence with doctors
- Telemonitoring for care follow-up
All of these tools address Millennial patients’ desire to have access to healthcare, whether in person or online, where and when it is most convenient.
Using Psychographic Segmentation to Solidify Connections
As we’ve mentioned in past blogs, despite Millennials’ shared characteristics, the cohort differs in how they view health and wellness.
Hospitals can use PatientBond’s proprietary psychographic segmentation model to identify crucial distinctions in the beliefs, motivations and attitudes of this important demographic, enhancing their ability to communicate not only via the right channel, but with the right message at the right time to drive engagement. Over forty percent of Millennial healthcare consumers, for example, fall firmly within the psychographic segment known as Willful Endurers. These consumers don’t tend to plan ahead, focusing, instead, on the here and now. This means that for a good percentage of Millennials, it is even more important that healthcare providers offer ‘in the moment’ services—whether it is fast access to mobile health information or text reminders to help them stay on track with wellness programs.