Why do healthcare providers need to pay attention to patient reviews? 77% of prospective patients use online reviews as the first step in choosing a physician. Reviews are the first impression patients get of your practice. Why patient reviews on review sites are important They contribute to a good online reputation Patients want a provider […]
Traditional patient surveys vs. modern patient satisfaction
Scientific market research really made a name for itself in the mid- 20th century, establishing many practices still in use today: questionnaires with non-leading questions, multiple-choice answers, anonymous respondents, all generating data used for extensive statistical analysis. With all the success large corporations and politicians have seen with market research over the years, most businesses implement these same practices without a second thought when trying to gauge customer satisfaction.
The trouble is, the advent of email and online survey platforms transformed the economics of patient questionnaires–it’s now cheap and practically instantaneous to ask your patients what they’re thinking. This means more surveys sent to each customer more often, which has led to ironic circumstances: the process of conducting customer satisfaction research often decreases customer satisfaction levels. But even this is difficult to determine since the percentage of survey respondents has dwindled to almost nothing: the average response rate for customer satisfaction surveys is about 10%. For patient surveys, this falls to lower than 10% on average.
Such a low average response rate means whatever results you are receiving are shaded by non-response bias: this refers to when the respondents’ opinions differ substantially from the non-respondents’. The lower the response rate, the higher the non-response bias. Of course, as a business, you want to know as much as you can about your patients. However, if your survey is too lengthy, patients won’t just get bored, they’ll assume that the survey was designed for corporate objectives rather than to improve their experience. Timing is another factor to consider: if you wait too long to send your survey, it won’t elicit a response relevant to the patient journey. It likely won’t elicit any response at all, as it interrupts the customer’s day-to-day life.
Reimagine the survey
To measure customer satisfaction accurately, you’ll have to embrace Customer Journey Thinking. Start from scratch, taking these key points into consideration:
- What is the patient’s goal? What needs must be met to reach this goal?
- What did they do right before? This affects how they will respond to an interaction with your practice.
- What will they do right afterwards? Understand how to best help them with later interactions.
- What will make them happy? They expect to be satisfied, but how can you go above and beyond their expectations to create a memorable experience?
With these questions in mind, plan the structure of your survey. How can you avoid being lengthy and irrelevant? By being concise and in-the-moment.
Keep your surveys as short as Millennials’ attention spans. 1-2 question surveys sent at critical touch points during the patient journey not only increase response rate, but enable proactive service. Reaching out when the patient is still thinking about your practice gives you time to remediate any problems they’re having and salvage the experience.
Once you start stacking up responses, use them to their full potential. Analyze more than just your scores; examine the driving causes behind them to learn where operational improvements can be made. With the right approach, your surveys can help both you and your customers tremendously. Don’t diminish customer satisfaction by trying to measure it. Instead, use customer surveys to engage with, understand, and optimize the customer experience, consistently.
Many of our clients use Patient Surveys and get very important feedback, good and bad, that can help our clients make improvements where they need to be made. So, surveys do work, you just have to know your patients.
Adapted from BirdEye blog.
With numerous opportunities to market healthcare practices (such as dermatologists, radiologists, plastic surgeons, and orthopedic surgeons), the primary social media platforms that will have an impact on your business are Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. These three tend to have the most impact on the healthcare profession than other outlets. In a poll by Pulse Digital Marketing, 51% of patients say that they feel more valued as a patient when doctors use social media, blogs, and other digital means to communicate. The poll also found that 41% said social media influenced their selection of a healthcare provider. However, directing the focus of your social media posts is really the key.
Facebook is the obvious choice for digital marketing, especially for healthcare professionals in B2C (Business-To-Consumer). Your target audience is looking for healthy living ideas, such as diet and exercise, to health education and events to videos from hospitals and healthcare providers just like you. Along with Facebook’s options to create display ads, and develop engaging posts, the ability to target specific users, it can also become the “voice of the patient”. You can select options like location, connections, demographics and interests. Here are some marketing benefit you can find for your healthcare practice:
- It is FREE and not much time is required to get started.
- Facebook provides a huge connected and targeted community. Why not try advertising on Facebook?:
- Connections: You have the ability to contact people who are connected to your event, app, or page. You can also connect with their friends, offering you a plethora of potential patients.
- Demographics: You can select the audience based on the demographic parameters you want, such as age, education, gender, and more.
- Interests: Find new patients based on their interests, hobbies, and pages that they already like on Facebook.
- Listening to interaction and feedback—sometimes, candid feedback—is extremely valuable to understanding the needs and wants of the customer/patient.
- It is excellent for search engine visibility and visitor traffic. With a PageRank of 1, creating a Facebook page and linking it to your website, blog, or other online accounts will help capture more traffic.
Obviously, there are more benefits to establishing your healthcare business on Facebook. Getting started on Facebook is easy, and will enable you to begin forming personal relationships with patients and other professionals.
Google+ should be in your arsenal of social media and can be a useful tool for marketing your practice. Google+ tends to be more about sharing ideas and content.
According to a 2013 Pew survey, one-third of U.S. adults who have ever gone online to try to figure out a medical condition they are dealing with – diagnosis, and 59 percent of U.S. adults say they went online in the past year to gather health information.
- Rise in the ranks: Participating in Google+ give you an advantage because the content you share has an “edge” against other stories. Everything you post on Google+ is automatically indexed by Google, significantly boosting your search engine results without any extra work.
- Your activity is amplified: As your following gets larger, content that is shared with your followers will also show up on those followers’ relevant Google.com searches. This helps keep your, say, dermatology practice on the top of followers’ minds.
- Be noticed in the crowd: Google+ allows you to create circles to group the people or companies you would like to follow. You can create custom circles, like Customers, Colleagues, Friends, Competitors, etc. without them having to ‘follow you back’. This will help you avoid sharing irrelevant content with people and tailor content you share to specific groups.
There are other advanced tools such as Circles, Communities, and Hangouts (Video chats…a webinar maybe?) that a healthcare marketer can utilize that will increase your visibility. I recommend that everyone that wants to promote themselves via social media familiarize themselves with all the tools at their disposal through Google+…there are many.
Over the past several years, the number of healthcare professionals on LinkedIn and their use of the platform have grown at an increasing rate. At the end of 2013, there were over 4.4 million healthcare practitioners, executives, channel followers, and opinion leaders on LinkedIn. It has over 332 million users and is a place where you can do professional networking. If you have been in business long, you know how crucial networking with others in your field or area is to stay abreast of the latest news, and create “referral” based relationships.
- Engage in groups by joining industry-specific groups that allows you to interact with potential patients and take part in discussions by posting to group forums.
- Creating Showcase Pages now allows companies that have unique aspects of their business with their own message to share, and a unique audience to share with. This LinkedIn page explains, “Showcase Pages allow you to extend your Company Page presence by creating a dedicated child page for those aspects of your business. Interested members can then follow your Showcase Page as they follow any Company Page”.
- Write “Influencer” Posts if you are a blogger. Linkedin announced its new blogging feature last year allowing anyone to become an “influencer”. However, to properly post the published posts they should be your own original views, not something copied and pasted from your company blog.
- Seek out recommendations and referrals by getting to know other healthcare professionals on the site. Then ask them to refer you to patients in need of your healthcare services.
Social media continues to expand and add tools to aid in building professional contacts so establishing yourself as a trusted medical expert is only going to become more important over time. It is a unique way to market yourself and your healthcare business by choosing a variety of social media marketing tools in today’s fast-paced digital world. With the cost of healthcare rising, patients won’t hesitate traveling longer distances to get better treatment at a lower cost either.
Okay, your blog may not be “life-saving” but healthcare practitioners should realize that social media interaction is important to the longevity of a business even if they haven’t quite grasped the concept of user engagement. It is crucial to use technology and incorporate a variety of elements into your digital marketing strategy that go beyond social media. Successful practices need an interactive, mobile responsive website, and most importantly, a blog.
Why a Doctor’s Blog?
Blogs serve a number of purposes:
- It helps position you as an authority in your field, creating a demand for your expertise….creates trust.
- It increases your SEO and search engine results…builds exposure.
- It drives traffic to your site…generates revenue.
- It helps build your brand…builds exposure.
- It helps foster potential patient engagement…creates trust.
You can see the common theme and purpose points to generating revenue.
Why are these elements important?
The more content you contribute to your blog, the more your content is seen. This helps build your brand and drives patients to your site to see what else you have to offer. User engagement keeps patients focused on your expertise which translates into revenue and referrals.
Using your social media to drive traffic to your blog is key. The use of visuals and videos to enhance your message also keeps visitors engaged along with fresh, unique content. If you don’t write then hire a writer to enhance your message through specific keywords in your content.
A blog opens up an entire world of possibilities where you can link to other trusted experts which establishes a professional network of resources. The more valued information you disburse, the more your brand will grow.
The trick to effective business management is to become an expert through the use of your engagement vehicles. Interesting, relevant content goes a long way. Visitors enjoy being able to get first-hand information and responses from your practice rather than going through red tape. The more effective you are at communicating with your visitors, the larger your reach and impact.
So get out there and blog.
I have noticed that I recently lost “Likes” on my Dermatology Facebook page. Why are my fans “unliking” me?
It is not just happening on your Dermatology Facebook page. It is happening all across Facebook.
Facebook rolled out a new policy on March 5, 2015 to update how Likes are counted and to make Likes more meaningful. Facebook provided the following explanation: “We’re updating the way Page Likes are counted by removing memorialized and voluntarily deactivated accounts. Over the coming weeks, Page admins should expect to see a small dip in their number of Page Likes as a result of this update. It’s important to remember, though, that these removed Likes represent people who were already inactive on Facebook.” Read more on their Page Likes update.
Facebook cites two key benefits:
- Business results: Removing inactive Facebook accounts from Page audience data gives your business up-to-date insights on the people who actively follow their Page and makes it easier for businesses to find people like their followers through tools like lookalike audiences.
- Consistency: Theye already filter out likes and comments generated by deactivated or memorialized accounts from individual Page posts, so this update keeps data consistent.
So, although you might see a dip in your page Likes, ultimately, it will benefit everyone and give you more accurate insights into your audience.
The Google Mobile Friendly update launched recently (or appropriately named #Mobilegeddon ). The mobile friendly update will potentially give a ranking boost to mobile-friendly pages in Google’s mobile search results. If you took a look at your website’s Google Analytics you would probably find that more than 50% of your visitors are now using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets (1).
More often than before, people are searching and surfing the Web from mobile devices — around 60 percent of online traffic is now generated by mobile devices, according to a report published in mid-2014 by research firm ComScore. (2)
- Affects only search rankings on mobile devices
- Affects search results in all languages globally
- Applies to individual pages, not entire websites
If you’re not sure what “mobile friendly” means, take out your mobile device (i.e. Iphone, Ipad or other smart phone) and enter the web address of your practice into the search bar. How does the site look? Scrunched, too small to read? Does it force you to pull, pinch, scroll, and enlarge? If it is mobile optimized it should be easy to read and navigate as you scroll down.
So what does this mean for your business? The more mobile-friendly the site, the higher it will likely appear in the search results.
How do I know if Google thinks a page on my site is mobile friendly? Individual pages can be tested for “mobile-friendliness” using the Mobile-Friendly Test.
Don’t worry, all new websites developed along with our partners are mobile friendly and will meet Google’s new mobile friendly standard.
1. According to a study of 100 top mobile properties by Branding Brand, search accounted for nearly half of all smartphone traffic (43 percent) in Q1 2015, up 5 percent from the prior quarter. In addition, organic search produced 25 percent of all revenue on smartphone-optimized sites.
You don’t have to post every day or send out hourly tweets but you do have to be consistent. After helping our clients develop a social media strategy, we have them focus on three to five posts a week on Facebook and/or Google+ which is an ideal frequency to start out with. The objective here is to get your audience accustomed to seeing your name through reliable and repeated communications, and then anticipating your next post. Can you guess what mine will be?
According to Facebook’s Small Business Boost Event I attend last year in Tampa, Facebook recommends no more than one post per day to maximize exposure and readability. So don’t get overwhelmed and feel the need to follow the “social media experts” by posting several times per day just for the sake of posting. In fact, the most common reasons for “Unliking” or unfollowing a brand are uninteresting posts (32%) and too many posts (28%).
Remember, quality content is by far more important than quantity especially when the average user has to filter out hundred and hundreds of posts each day. In Hubspot’s 2015 Social Media Benchmarks Report, the healthcare industry has the 4th lowest average social following so you have to find unique ways to stand out and engage your audience….and quantity won’t do it.
Check out this infographic from our friends over at SumAll posted on “How Often You Should Post to Social Media“. Their graphic will give you a maximum posting per day but for your health practice, you should feel comfortable keeping it to one per day.
Once you decide how many days per week to post, you need to figure out how to get your fans engaged by “Making your social media posts personal”
Watch for our next post on using a weekly content calendar to keep your posts organized.
A Dermatology Client Example
As a social media strategist, I am constantly encouraging our clients (mostly in the medical field) to snap some photos of the “goings-on” in their office and surroundings. Their fans want to know more about their doctor, the Physician Assistants, the nurses, and the wonderful staff. They want to know that they are real people. And they want to trust them.
One highly effective way to gain that trust is to share a “personal” side of your practice with images such as staff events, birthdays, holidays, etc. This Facebook post below was a simple staff photo that garnered a lot of Likes, a few Shares, and will soon reach over 600 Fans and non-Fans (read potential patients).
This is not a post that has gone “viral” but it is a great formula to reach users outside of your Fan network. I’ll post results of other posts soon.
I found some great statistics and figures on how social media impacts the health care industry. MedCo Data’s Digital Marketing Strategies are some great ways to help get your practice noticed, engaged, and consistently updated on search engines and social media.
- More than 40% of consumers say that information found via social media affects the way they deal with their health. (source: Mediabistro)
- 18 to 24 year olds are more than 2x as likely than 45 to 54 year olds to use social media for health-related discussions. (source: Mediabistro)
- 90% of respondents from 18 to 24 years of age said they would trust medical information shared by others on their social media networks. (source: Search Engine Watch)
- 31% of health care organizations have specific social media guidelines in writing. (source: Institute for Health)
- 19% of smartphone owners have at least one health app on their phone. Exercise, diet, and weight apps are the most popular types. (source: Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group)
To find the remaining interesting stats and why it all matters, read more on Referral MD