By Kathy Roy Gaughran
Senior Marketing Strategist
[Series Installment] There’s an important lesson here for healthcare marketing. It seems the retail world is increasingly hungry for consumer feedback. Here’s why doctors, hospitals and medical marketing professionals need, more than ever, to take a page from service industries, brand names and merchandisers.
A reliable measure of customer satisfaction—how products or services meet or exceed customer expectation—is a vital marketing barometer. Among the benefits of an ongoing customer feedback system:
- The ability to manage and improve the business, especially the patient experience
- A reasonable measure of general satisfaction
- A reflection of consumer loyalty for repeat business and/or referrals
- Providing insight to product, service and/or process improvements
- As a means to involve or engage customers as positive advocates
Within the past few days—less than a week—a marketing savvy colleague documented six proactive “customer satisfaction” surveys or solicitations. In addition, our coworker took note of several additional passive, “tell-us-how-we’re-doing” signs in retail locations. Admittedly, this isn’t a scientific sample, but it seems to signal the growth of consumerism and the enhanced importance of customer feedback.
Sounding board ideas…
It seems everyone wants to know if they—the seller, vendor or provider—are doing a good job in the eye or mind of the buyer.
- ProFlowers – was quick to ask if the online floral product arrived on time and in good condition.
- Amazon – purchases are always validated with a confirming email, a vendor satisfaction survey, and in the event of a return or exchange, a quick survey about that transaction too. (This routine has become the standard for online purchases.)
- USPS – every US postal service receipt solicits a customer survey, quite often referenced verbally by the post office clerk. What’s more the USPS has a countertop, “take one” display.
- Wells Fargo – says “your feedback matters” for compliments and complaints via a display inviting customers to talk with a banker, call a toll free number, go online or mail a written note.
- Similar customer connectivity – happen daily at the grocery story, the local Walmart, the iPhone cable vendor and many others.
In recent years, the nature of business in the US has become more customer-centric than ever before. Competition has increased. Market share is elusive. Consumers are increasingly cautious about spending decisions. What’s more, most of these same market dynamics are at work in healthcare as well as in retail business sectors.
General business sectors are no shy about asking. Healthcare, however, has until recently, been slow in seeking out and listening to the voice of the customer. We would be pleased to assist hospitals or provider practices in establishing new systems. Give us a call at 800-656-0907.
And for additional reading on this topic, see: How Satisfaction Unlocks Better Business Performance and Who Knew? The Surprising Science Behind Patient Satisfaction.