Building Patient Loyalty: What Healthcare Providers Can Learn From Other Industries

Building Patient Loyalty: What Healthcare Providers Can Learn From Other Industries

Healthcare providers are relatively new at marketing their services to prospects and patients at a highly segmented level and aligning their organization to keep patients loyal to their practice or network.

When it comes to creating those essential long-term, loyal relationships, hospitals, physician groups and other healthcare providers can take pages from the loyalty marketing playbooks of other industries:

Align the organization around the customer

Insurance provider USAA realigned its phone reps from several large business units into dozens of smaller teams to better serve customers. Southwest Airlines hires employees, in part, based on their ability to communicate with the customer. To keep branches nimble, Enterprise Rent-A-Car opens a new outlet once a location reaches a certain size.

Smaller healthcare providers can also learn from larger brethren that have already realigned their organization from physician-centric to keeping patients healthy with team-based care.

Measure your performance and customer satisfaction

Nothing builds loyalty like customer satisfaction. Consumer Reports rates, tests and reviews consumer products. The on-time performance rates of the major U.S. airlines are regularly reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and academia produces an annual Airline Quality Report that rates the airlines by additional metrics.

Similarly, healthcare review programs have emerged that assess quality of healthcare on an aggregate level, such as those by the Commonwealth Fund.  Other programs rate specific providers. Consumers are relatively new at rating their healthcare providers, but do so in provider-sponsored surveys and online forums like Angie's List.

Build products or services around customer feedback and data analysis

Honda created a minivan around its loyal customers who were starting families. Capital One Financial used extensive customer and prospect analysis to become a leading credit card issuer. Buxton helps healthcare providers attract and retain loyal patients and determine new services.