Keeping Customer Loyalty in Healthcare Safe and Sound

When it comes to healthcare, one size does not fit all. Health providers faced with increasing competition and higher customer expectations need to reassess their customers’ needs and provide them with superior quality of experience. In a fragmented market, churn over any given year is inevitable, leaving customers with dismal satisfaction levels and health providers with humbled growth. A 2015 study on the Pioneer ACO program found a churn rate of 38% among patients over a year, with income-based churn even higher.

For an industry where customer satisfaction reportedly ranks low, there couldn’t be a better time for change. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is paving the way for more people to get health coverage in the coming years, by removing some barriers and allowing easier access for those previously uninsured.

With more opportunities around, healthcare is becoming more competitive. Providers wishing to differentiate need to come up with retention strategies as much as they do acquisition. They can do that by offering a new, customer-focused, engaging experience.

icons representing elements of customer loyalty in healthcare

Companies can incentivize their customers if they find the right tools to help them shift from being a mere service provider to becoming a partner for their patients. According to recent findings by Deloitte, the way people interact with information and new technology (let’s not forget how many wearables are at our fingertips) has a strong impact on healthcare, allowing customers to gain more control over their health and ultimately redesigning the relationship with health practitioners and providers.

Health companies could therefore tap into this very possibility - personalization.

This will depend mostly on their ability to access, manage, and use clean, accurate data, while maintaining a maximum level of privacy and compliance. Consolidating patient information regarding records, routines, or preferences, can result in more effective communication and customer engagement with the provider on the long term.

This can be achieved with customer relationship management (CRM) systems, which many organizations are already channeling efforts and resources into. They allow companies to appropriately make use of their customer data, and they facilitate a better, faster service by linking health providers and professionals across specialties. They lead to improvements in coordination among providers in the ecosystem and help put in place more effective workflows, ultimately benefiting the customer.

And probably the best thing about this is, it is a closed loop; health companies boosting their marketing efforts into the realm of enhanced customer experience will, consequently, translate customer analytics into organizational excellence.

Additional sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_insurance_coverage_in_the_United_States

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_insurance_in_the_United_States

http://www.healthcareitnews.com/blog/untapped-world-healthcare-customer-engagement

http://customerthink.com/5-strategies-for-higher-customer-loyalty-in-a-healthcare-setting/

http://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2014/08/11/churn-and-the-aca/

http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20150422/NEWS/150429959