The Impact of Customer Feedback on Healthcare Marketing Strategies

by | Apr 10, 2017 | Consumer Engagement

The most compelling content comes from your audience’s own words — read about the impact of customer feedback on healthcare marketing strategies.

Voice of the Cus­tomer, or VOC, relies on the idea that cus­tomer needs, pref­er­ences, respons­es, and opin­ions change over time. VOC mar­ket­ing works to cap­ture that cus­tomer infor­ma­tion and trans­late it into easy and action­able mar­ket­ing deci­sions. Under­stand­ing VOC and the impact of cus­tomer feed­back on health­care mar­ket­ing strate­gies allows mar­keters to devel­op a robust mar­ket­ing plan. 

For­tu­nate­ly, much of the phi­los­o­phy sur­round­ing tra­di­tion­al VOC mar­ket­ing applies clean­ly to the health­care indus­try. Patients, like all cus­tomers, crave val­ue. One of the best ways to deliv­er that val­ue is to dis­cov­er exact­ly what cus­tomers think—in oth­er words, lis­ten­ing to the Voice of the Customer.

Here are five ways health­care mar­ket­ing exam­ples that orga­ni­za­tions can use to col­lect and har­ness VOC data to inform mean­ing­ful mar­ket­ing decisions.

Open Up the Lines of Communication

For some indus­tries, it’s tough to shake out feed­back and opin­ions from cus­tomers. This just isn’t the case in health­care, which may be why the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Surgery called health­care “the purest form of a ser­vice indus­try.” This is a huge missed oppor­tu­ni­ty for health­care providers that do not have a process for gath­er­ing infor­ma­tion from their patients and improv­ing con­sumer feedback.

Part of guid­ing patients into a com­mu­ni­ca­tions fun­nel is pro­vid­ing them the kind of com­mu­ni­ca­tions oppor­tu­ni­ties they want. This takes both indus­try know-how and com­mon sense. Offer­ing appro­pri­ate avenues of feed­back is crit­i­cal to obtain the most accu­rate and thor­ough cus­tomer feed­back data pos­si­ble, whether paper-based in-clin­ic feed­back forms, phone calls, emails, or sur­veys, to name just a few.

Apply Segmentation When Choosing Survey Recipients

You’re going to get the great­est response rate (and the most mean­ing­ful respons­es) from sur­veys deliv­ered to the right patients at the right time. Part of this is good segmentation—you’re not going to be able to extend sur­veys to a cus­tomer seg­ment you haven’t identified.

A good exam­ple of a sys­tem that uses seg­ments to inform sur­vey deci­sions is the fed­er­al Vet­er­ans Health Admin­is­tra­tion, which sends sur­veys to its recent­ly dis­charged patients and extend­ed-care patient seg­ments. These seg­ments will pro­vide dif­fer­ent infor­ma­tion than oth­er seg­ments, and choos­ing the right one depends on your research and the spe­cif­ic con­tent of the survey.

Use Consumer marketing trends and feedback to Improve Patient Care

Health­care sys­tems world­wide have deter­mined that cus­tomer feed­back can improve the qual­i­ty of patient care, but to achieve this admirable goal, feed­back must be applied effec­tive­ly. The same goes for health­care marketing.

Remem­ber: Action­able data requires good data.

The Agency for Health­care Research and Qual­i­ty rec­om­mends acquir­ing good patient feed­back data through a vari­ety of meth­ods, includ­ing:

  • Patient shad­ow­ing dur­ing med­ical visits
  • Obser­va­tions of patients using patient portal
  • Struc­tured feed­back forms
  • Unstruc­tured “Sug­ges­tion Box”
  • Care­ful­ly-planned patient surveys

These meth­ods are far from an exhaus­tive list, but they’re a great tool for health­care orga­ni­za­tions to use when they’re get­ting start­ed with VOC marketing.

Capture Both Solicited and Unsolicited Customer Feedback

When patients aren’t talk­ing direct­ly to you, that doesn’t mean they’re not talk­ing. In fact, one of the most influ­en­tial unso­licit­ed cus­tomer feed­back mech­a­nisms is online reviews.

Over 75 per­cent of patients read online reviews before choos­ing a new doc­tor, and in some patient pop­u­la­tions, over half of patients have writ­ten an online review of their doc­tor. With so many patients talk­ing, not lis­ten­ing to these sources of unso­licit­ed feed­back is a big missed opportunity.

You Have the Data…Now What?

Once you’ve done your research, iden­ti­fied your strate­gies, seg­ment­ed your patients, and cap­tured your data, it’s time to put those num­bers to work. Trans­lat­ing data into action­able dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing strate­gies is going to require some data analy­sis. Find­ing the appro­pri­ate soft­ware, hir­ing the appro­pri­ate ana­lysts, or out­sourc­ing to a data con­sul­tant will help you make sense of your results.

The Impact of Customer Feedback on Healthcare Marketing Strategies

The bot­tom line: Effec­tive health­care mar­ket­ing demands lis­ten­ing to the Voice of the Cus­tomer, and in this indus­try, that means your patients. VOC is all about learn­ing to con­nect with cus­tomers in a mean­ing­ful way. Health­care orga­ni­za­tions should take a page from mar­keters in oth­er industries—and take advan­tage of the fact that VOC mar­ket­ing applies just as well to patients as it does to any consumers.

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