Patients are flooded with new options for where they seek care and to whom they refer their friends. Competition is literally on every corner – Walgreens, CVS, a new pop-up Urgent Care. Why navigate a broken system when they could just pack up and move on?
The truth is, despite growing a number of options, patients want to be loyal to your organization because researching and vetting new care options is time-consuming and draining – especially for patients who are on an emotional journey. Yet patients are walking away from providers every day in search of better experiences. It’s clear, healthcare providers must do more to earn patient loyalty.
Patient satisfaction is an expectation. It is a measure of how well the encounter aligns to the patient’s preconceived understanding of how the visit would go. Satisfaction is expected all day, every day, with every encounter, and relying on satisfaction scores alone to drive loyalty is a dangerous premise.
Loyalty is simply how frequently a patient chooses and recommends a care facility. And the psychology behind that choice is just as simple – patients know they can go to any provider for satisfactory service, but what keeps them loyal is the experience an organization and its providers deliver.
Nailing the clinical aspect of care is paramount in fostering loyalty, but the experiential aspect (directions to the clinical site, general information, parking, being on-time, etc) is surfacing more and more as a key loyalty driver.
Findings from the Deloitte Health Care Consumer Survey show that convenient hours and accessibility is the most important factor in searching for a new doctor or medical professional for 32% of respondents.
Facing a litany of details that have a big impact on patient experience, how should practitioners go about creating and delivering exceptional experiences that get to the heart of what matters to patients?
In-the-moment experiences are where the impact is made, and valuing the voice of the patient as your guide to creating those experiences is key. Changing the hold music in the ambulatory setting after a mom provides feedback that it’s emotionally hard to hear when she is making appointments for her child may seem like a small change to the organization, but it had a huge impact on the mom. These are the defining moments that can build or diminish loyalty, and each of them matters. Creating these “Moments that Matter” is critical, and these are what patients will remember from their care journey with your organization.
For more tips on how to build loyalty at your organization, check out the Patient Loyalty 101 webinar where my colleague, Belinda Simmons, and I demonstrate how meaningful action on patient feedback aligns experiences with satisfaction, improving patient loyalty.