How to Kill Patient Loyalty at Your Healthcare Organization
Most healthcare organizations are already aware of the importance of patient loyalty to their ongoing success. The competition in the industry is fierce, and establishing and maintaining high levels of patient loyalty can be a challenge. Is your organization guilty of any of these loyalty-killing mistakes?
1. Not monitoring online reviews.
Increasingly, patients are leaving reviews online describing their experiences with your organization, which can make or break your reputation, patient loyalty and new patient acquisition — especially if you’re not responding.
Monitor these reviews carefully. When you receive a positive review, promptly thank the patient for his or her continuing support. When you receive a negative review, use it as an opportunity to show that you’re listening and taking steps to resolve the patient’s complaint.
Among its many digital engagement capabilities, PatientBond offers online review monitoring capabilities, highlighting five-star reviews in social media and alerting staff to less favorable reviews so they can immediately address loyalty-killing issues.
2. Responding inappropriately to negative feedback.
When you receive negative feedback, your first instinct may be to defend your organization aggressively or to attempt to remove the review. However, neither of these approaches is recommended.
The best way to respond to negative feedback on Facebook, Google, Yelp or another platform is to address the review promptly and calmly. Don’t be confrontational with the reviewer. Instead, be polite and try to resolve the issue as fairly and quickly as you can.
3. Not sending out patient surveys.
Patient surveys provide you with an excellent opportunity to find out how patients feel about their experiences at your facility. You can use the information you gain from these surveys to improve the services you provide in order to improve patient outcomes and satisfaction.
Patient surveys also give patients a chance to impress their opinions and feel heard, which can improve their levels of satisfaction and enhance loyalty. If you don't send out these surveys and utilize the information you provide, you’re wasting a valuable opportunity for your organization.
Fortunately, sending out surveys is easier than ever, thanks to patient engagement platforms. PatientBond, for example, allows you to send surveys to any number of people for whom you have contact information, and at any frequency you choose. These surveys also allow your organization to measure (and highlight, when positive) a Net Promoter Score. Across PatientBond communications, patient response rates range from 55 to 60 percent.
4. Not valuing your patients.
Patient loyalty in healthcare has the power to make or break your organization. However, it isn't uncommon for healthcare organizations to focus more on their bottom line than the actual experiences of their patients. Patients can tell when an organization values them, and they are likely to leave your organization if they don't feel important.
Make sure that your organization's vision and goals are patient-focused and that patient engagement always remains a priority. This also means cultivating a culture of customer-centricity through training, evaluation and the appropriate staff incentives.
5. Not making good use of automation.
Automation saves your healthcare organization a significant amount of time (and money), especially with regard to patient communication. With the right technology, such as PatientBond, you can automate digital appointment reminders, appointment follow-up messages, payment reminders, surveys and much more.
Not only does automation make it easier for you to accomplish each of these tasks, but it’s also cost-effective and it allows you to collect important data quickly. When you don't invest in automation, errors are much more likely, and patients may fall through the cracks. Handling all of these tasks manually also makes it more difficult for you to maintain the same level of contact with patients that you can through automation. Ultimately, a modest investment in automation could go a long way to amplifying engagement and boosting patient loyalty at your organization.