Loyalty looks different post COVID-19. Here’s how healthcare can turn heads again.
We almost hate to bring it up again, but we can’t ignore the fact that COVID-19 has done a number on industries across the globe, including healthcare. And we’re still seeing its effects ripple across every facet of the patient journey.
- Consumers have increasingly put off healthcare and until the pandemic, the #1 reason was ‘perceived cost of care’1
- Even after COVID, consumers continue to cite financial concerns as their chief reason not to be treated1
- Even when they ‘manage on their own’ or ‘problem isn’t serious’ the issue of paying for care often lurks under the surface1
- 13% of consumers surveyed on this topic are unsure when to resume healthcare activities
- 4.6% of those same consumers say they will not return to healthcare
More and more of today’s patients view a doctor’s visit as a special trip. And if they’re going to venture out, they need a few things from their healthcare system in return.
1.Being treated as a person, not just a patient
2.Trust and transparency
3.Access to more services, including mental health (We have some thoughts on that too)
Knowing a consumer’s behavior, wants, needs and mindset is just the tip of the loyalty iceberg. Brands must use that data to dig deeper to fully understand what drives patients to genuinely feel more loyal to one healthcare brand over another. And only then can we engage them in a meaningful and memorable way.
While things like loyalty programs, rewards and offers are still valid, people are seeking healthcare that cares about them. Here are a few ways we can re-engage the invisible patient and regain their loyalty.
Market to the individual outside the hospital
Your relationship with a patient starts way before they walk through your doors. That’s why every single marketing strategy needs to be reinforced by data that drives consumer engagement. If you’re launching a social campaign targeting a certain audience, that audience needs to feel seen on every level – from creative that catches their eye to messaging that speaks to them. This is the start of their customer journey, and your branding needs to start off on the right foot.
Treat the individual inside the hospital
Once the patient is inside your doors, it’s your chance to not only treat them with exceptional healthcare. It’s your chance to make a difference and earn their trust. Last year, we interviewed dozens of patients for a “Thank You” campaign for Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare. While all their stories were different, the constant was that they were grateful for how each employee treated them with compassion. By giving them a shoulder to cry on or words of encouragement and strength, they changed lives while they treated illnesses and created a heck of a relationship with each one.
1NRC Health. “The Outsiders. Profiling the Many Patients Who Put Off Care.” 16 May 2022.