Companies tend to spend a lot of time gathering patient satisfaction data that ends up being useless. So what really ‘wows’ customers? In this episode, Dave emphasizes the importance of higher clinical quality, teamwork, online reputation, your wayfinding system, how people communicate with each other, and having courtesy and respect – all of which will build physician, employee, and patient loyalty.
It’s the No Bullshit Marketing Show. I’m Dave Mastovich, CEO and founder of MASSolutions, the world’s only no bullshit marketing consultants. I want to talk to you about three ways to drive physician, employee and patient loyalty. Physician, employee and patient loyalty.
This subject means a lot to me for a multitude of reasons. Throughout my experiences, when I was part of senior management at multibillion dollar healthcare systems all the way down to helping physician practices grow, to home health agencies, senior living communities, the issue of patient satisfaction was discussed a lot and measured a lot. And time and again, I’ve had the chance to talk to clients and look at their patient satisfaction information. And it strikes me that this happens a lot. There’s all kinds of measurements and statistics. And there’s a lot of threes and fours out of fives. And I used to come into these situations and immediately begin to try to systematically gather insights and trends from what was happening here. And I often found that there were a whole lot of things that were being measured that weren’t being used because what was being measured wasn’t useful. And then there was a lot of information that said patients were kind of like, ‘okay, yeah, it was alright.’ If I gave you a four out of five, at your health care system, at your hospital, I guess I thought it was okay.
There’s a great book, If Disney Ran Your Hospital by Fred Lee if you’re on the hospital system side, the provider side, physicians hospital side. If Disney Ran Your Hospital by Fred Lee, check it out. One of the points of this book is that it’s not about satisfaction, it’s not about getting a four. Disney doesn’t look at how many fours out of five they get. What Disney looks at is the five out of five, that’s someone who’s loyal. That’s someone who you ‘wowed’ them. And so I think if we can shift the mindset on this patient satisfaction way of looking at things and the way we ask these questions, and there’s all kinds of lengthy patient surveys and there’s things that come out that you don’t even use, or you come up with a lot of 3.5s, 3.7s. It’s not so much about that meeting the minimum standard of patient satisfaction. It’s about finding those people that are the ones that are fans, raving fans, that have been wowed, and figuring out what made that experience so great for them. Because what happens and what the studies have shown is that there are three things that patients, employees and providers all look at when they’re deciding whether to be loyal to that particular organization.
The first is an obvious one – high clinical quality. So let’s put that over here to the right and say that, of course, we’re all striving to provide high clinical quality. On the operational side, you have to figure that out and make sure you’re getting to that high level of quality. Otherwise, your marketing team, your storytelling team is going to struggle going out saying ‘we’re pretty good, we got decent clinical quality, come on over here.’ So number one is high clinical quality, and we state the obvious, Captain Obvious would say ‘duh, of course.’ You need to have high clinical quality.
The second, though, is the perception around teamwork. The physicians, the employees and patients all make an assessment of where the teamwork is at that particular healthcare organization. And that starts early at your digital front door. That starts with what people can find out about you, how easy their use is when they go to your website, when they look you up on social, when they’re learning more about you. How accessible is it when they want to book an appointment? A patient wants to book an appointment online, does it work? Are you able to get in, is your website there, does the scheduling work? Teamwork is also about the financial aspect. How is it communicated about the billing and the financials, the follow up? It’s all about how that’s coordinated and how we perceive that teamwork.
But it’s not only your digital front door. What’s it like to get to your facility, to your hospital, your healthcare system, to your doctor’s office driving-wise? What’s it like to park? What’s it like to find your way from once you’ve parked to where you’re going? That’s called wayfinding. And your wayfinding system should be audited regularly by your marketing and customer experience team. You should be audited. You should be testing this wayfinding system and improving it, you should be making this wayfinding system based on science, not just slapping signs up and sticking things on the door and putting something in the parking garage, putting something by the elevator. This has to be systematic, and it has to tell a story. Your wayfinding story is another important story that has to be told, and your customer experience leaders, your marketing experts need to play a significant role in that wayfinding system and the wayfinding story. It has to be audited, it has to be tweaked on an ongoing basis. It has to use the science of how the mind works and the eyes follow things so that I can get to and from where I want to go. That’s part of how you’re perceived in that second spot. High clinical quality is the first way that you get physician, employee and patient loyalty. The second one is teamwork, the perception of the level of teamwork. That teamwork starts at your digital front door, with your website, with that customer patient journey beginning online, and how they’re able to find their way around. Can they book appointments, can they schedule things? Can they take care of the billing? What is the conversation like around financial aspects? But also, teamwork around how easy did you make it for that patient to find their way around through a wayfinding system based on science and customer experience?
This all ties back to that book I mentioned which is If Disney Ran Your Hospital by Fred Lee. Think about Disney. Think about the experience you have when you’re involved with Disney. Now I understand not every hospital is going to be able to come close to being like Disney. And we’re not going to a hospital for fun. I’m not naive. But I’m saying if we take that philosophy, and we think about these three ways that physicians, employees and patients become loyal – the first being high clinical quality, that’s a minimum standard to strive for that and find ways to improve that. But the second is the teamwork or the perception of the teamwork. How do the patients interact with employees and how its employees interact with the providers? That teamwork is also your online reputation. How did you respond to reviews that weren’t positive? How did you respond to social media chatter? That’s all part of your perceived teamwork.
And then the third one goes back to those kindergarten days. The third way that the science tells us and the research tells us that people become loyal in health care, physicians become loyal to where they’re working, employees become loyal, patients become loyal – it’s the three ways that drive, physician, employee and patient loyalty – the third one is courtesy and respect. Courtesy and respect. Your patients are watching your employees and your providers. They’re seeing how they interact with each other. They’re seeing how they interact with them as a patient. They’re looking at your online reputation, how significant that digital front door is. They want to see how easily they can do things. They want to look at how the conversation goes from someone they called at a call center. They’re seeing how that provider treats them, their family, but also their employees.
So when you look at these three ways to increase physician, employee and patient loyalty, you have higher clinical quality, you have teamwork across the board with the whole online reputation, your wayfinding system, how people communicate with each other, and then you have courtesy and respect every step of the way. So the online communication has to be courteous. The phone communication has to be courteous, walking in the door and being greeted has to be courteous and with respect, and not just employee-to-patient respect, but provider-to-employee respect and employee-to-provider respect both ways. It’s a two way street of courtesy and respect. These are all important because healthcare has had to shift in the last 20 years and become more like companies like Disney or Amazon or Starbucks with their communication, their patient-centered communication, their patient-centered marketing, with their customer experience from digital front door online reputation to wayfinding system to how easy it is to get to and from the location.
It’s also about their storytelling, telling a story about your wayfinding, how easy it is to get around, telling your story about your convenience, telling your story about how family members will be treated, telling your story about how employees stay and how they work in conjunction with providers, telling the story about how providers and employees treat patients and families as if they were part of their own family. These are all part of your patient-centered communication, your patient-centered marketing, your patient-centered storytelling, and the three ways to drive physician, employee and patient loyalty.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can drive that physician, provider, employee and patient loyalty to a higher level go to MASSolutions.biz/loyalty. Thanks for listening to another episode of the No Bullshit Marketing Show recorded in MASSolutions studio in bold, beautiful, downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Remember, ask yourself what’s the big idea? And build your story around the answer. It’s all about bold solutions. No BS.
If Disney Ran Your Hospital by Fred Lee