Hospital Customer Engagement is Easy as 1-2-3 (Part 2 of 4)

By Sharon Bittner, Chief Communications Officer

In this post-reform healthcare environment, customers have both freedom and responsibility when it comes to making service and spend decisions. As a result, hospital success depends on strategies focused on customer acquisition and satisfaction that have long been prevalent in other industries.

In a previous post entitled Hospital Customers are Assets (but don’t let that limit your thinking), I raised the point that it isn’t a question of when hospitals are going to be forced to get into the customer game. The question is HOW. The post focused on the need to establish nurturing relationships in between visits, in order to build true customer engagement and retention.

The purpose of this post is to dive deeper into the long-overlooked concept of viewing hospital customers as intangible assets, which take on different values depending on the state of the relationship. So the opportunity to engage customers varies, as well. And while customer engagement is not really as easy as 1-2-3, there is a way to make the process much more manageable and successful.

To simplify the engagement process, hospitals should recognize that there are three stages of customer assets:

  1. Consumers – Before customers become actual customers, they are market consumers. They have never used your services. They may not even know who you are. But they might be a customer for one of your competitors. Your opportunity at this stage is to build awareness and attention for your unique value proposition, to entice consumers in the market to consider your specific services.
  2. Customers – If you’re successful at stage #1, you converted some of these market consumers into your customers. They have engaged with you, previously used your services, but are not currently in need of what you offer. Your opportunity at this stage is to maintain their attention and nurture their loyalty, so they will continue to choose you for future services.
  3. Patients – If you’re successful at stage #2, many of your past customers are now current patients. They are currently utilizing one of more of your offerings. Your opportunity at this stage is to smoothly navigate them through your services and fully satisfy all of their health and wellness needs.

By viewing the customer as an asset – and recognizing and leveraging the three stages of the relationship – hospitals can target new customers more accurately, gather intelligence more effectively, and manage relationships more profitably. Want proof? Take a look at the average success of our hospital clients engaging customer assets using the 3-stage model:

Are you maximizing the value of your customer-engagement efforts, by simply recognizing and leveraging the three stages of customer assets?

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