By Rebecca Jones | March 20, 2020
DALLAS, TX, March30, 2020 – Brand Loyalty – (noun) – strong, positive feelings toward a specific brand and a commitment to purchase and or use their services, both in the present and future, despite any actions that may be taken by competitors to lure them away.
Consumers are loyal to brands, across every industry, that offer them exemplary user experiences and make them feel valued, from retail, to dining, and yes, even to healthcare.
But brand loyalty is not just for the Dominos, Kroger’s, Reebok’s or Apple’s of the world. It’s always existed in healthcare.
As the world accelerates its digitalization, it is crucial to maintain a strong digital presence while simultaneously providing consumers with positive digital experiences. Decisions on which health systems or individual providers alike will be influenced digitally. In short, if you’re a healthcare provider, your “one-to-many” brand is the sum of patients’ interactions – increasingly digital – with your organization.
Maintaining a Strong Digital Experience
Brand loyalty begins with brand recognition. And brand recognition? That begins with SEO. When potential consumers search for “primary care doctor near me,” you want your hospital or practice to be the first result that pops up.
For a health system, that means saying goodbye to maintaining multiple websites – consolidating the individual websites currently maintained for medical groups, practices, lines of service or hospitals. Having multiple websites for a health system confuses search engine algorithms and hurts your health system’s online ranking. Instead of a website for each location, or specialty, all of your providers and all of their information should be displayed on a single, central website, allowing consumers to easily search for, and find the appropriate provider.
Positive Digital Consumer Experiences
Once your consumer has found you, it goes without saying, you want to keep them. And one of, if not the most important element, in achieving that goal is creating positive digital experiences that keeps your consumers coming back as their primary resource to access care.
Fifty percent (50%) of “tech savvy” consumers would leave their current doctor for a better digital consumer experience. And as younger generations are set to take over the market and become the largest demographic, that 50% is much larger than it initially sounds.
Additionally, while younger generations do hold an incredible spending power to influence marketing models across the board, especially healthcare models, our ever-evolving digital world is flexing its muscles, creating digital expectations that transcend generations.
So, what are consumers looking for during their digital healthcare experiences? These are some requirements to build into your refreshed digital patient experience.
Simplicity & Ease. Google-like, intuitive search on your website to help consumers find what they want. The ability to type their medical complaint into a text field and be offered possible solutions. This should replace scrolling through a plethora of medical issues or services that may or may not apply to them.
Personalization. Filtered search. Consumers should have the ability to type in their medical complaint, their healthcare provider, their zip code and be served up all providers that fit their requirements. Finding a provider can often be difficult and overwhelming. Your website should offer a search that easily guides them to a provider that is personalized to their needs.
Accessibility. Your website should be more than a passive provider directory. Consumers should be able to schedule and book an appointment online. If consumers have to reach out to a call center to book an appointment after finding the appropriate provider online, your website is nothing more than a glorified phonebook. Additionally, the consumer will be frustrated, not good when trying to build brand loyalty, and they may just leave and go to your competitor.
Health systems that are able to achieve website consolidation and satisfy these digital consumer experience expectations will be well on the way to strengthening their brand, and ultimately gaining market share.
A large portion of the healthcare consumers are, for lack of a better word, “up for grabs.” Fewer than 60% of healthcare consumers have a PCP that they use for all of their care needs. People have adopted a shopper’s mentality for their healthcare needs, meaning there are ample opportunities for health systems to reach new consumers and increase their market share.
In the end, it comes down to the realization that process of finding care is becoming nearly as critical as the care received to strengthen a brand.
Providing a simple, personalized and accessible digital healthcare experience will result in satisfied consumers, who feel valued and who will be more likely to use your services in the future.