Growth isn’t a “nice to have,” it’s a “must have” for almost all healthcare brands. As a healthcare marketer, you are uniquely positioned to lead a growth strategy that connects your brand promise to the patient experience. Likewise, many healthcare organizations have identified that elevating the patient experience will fuel growth in terms of repeat usage, positive word of mouth (reviews) and brand loyalty.
Following are examples of some of the ways healthcare marketers can lead this important growth initiative through patient experience.
1. Create an elevating and differentiating brand promise.
First one that emerges as the benefit of your brand’s unique position is in the marketplace. Subsequently, it has to align with the internal culture to impact patient experience.
Tactic: Discuss and test this promise internally to ensure it resonates, is culturally authentic and instills a sense of pride.
2. Understand that internal buy-in and advocacy are critical to the success of this engagement strategy.
Identify and involve internal influencers and stakeholders from all levels of the organization, as brand ambassadors, early on to gain support for your patient experience approach.
Tactic: Offer an inspirational internal theme, while providing a rallying cry for your employees and stakeholders to grab onto,
3. Empower your brand ambassadors with the tools they need to gain adoption from their teams.
Connect your internal theme with “the why” behind this patient experience initiative – for the employees. Hence, it’s important for each employee to understand “what’s in it for them”, in order to gain engagement, adoption and compliance.
Tactic: Develop interactive tools that enable your ambassadors to present, discuss and roleplay with their team members. For example, these tools may include an internal engagement workbook that allows each employee to develop their own unique story and approach to improving the patient experience.
4. Expressing and “living” the brand promise starts at the top.
The executive suite must lead by example. Likewise, they must communicate and demonstrate to those around them how they are living the brand’s promise in their roles.
Tactic: Conduct a series of leadership town hall meetings accompanied by an internal engagement video. This will speak to the impact of the brand promise has on the patient experience. This same video can be featured in an email from the CEO to the employees. Finally, it should live on an appropriately themed intranet website landing and support pages.
5. Engage around accountability.
A patient has one experience, which might included 10+ interactions. So, it’s very critical that all employees, at all levels, live the brand, expressed in their role and interpersonal (employee, patient and visitor) interactions.
Tactic: Showcasing peers has proven to be an effective way to inspire, engage and motivate employees. Additionally, these “testimonials” may be executed through videos, social media posts, digital signage, posters, table tents, etc.
6. Create a patient-centric culture early on in the hiring process.
Patients want to connect with their caregivers on a personal and emotional level. Therefore, make sure the employees you bring into the organization are complement to the culture you’re building.
Tactic: Work with HR to extend the importance of your brand promise and the patient experience to your hiring process. In addition, providing engagement worksheets for use in the interview process will seed the organization with people who want to live your brand promise.
Bonus tip: Be sure to include your call center employees – specifically, as their interactions have a surprising impact on patient acquisition and retention.
7. Know that living the brand is never a set it and forget it.
All brands must be nurtured and living the brand requires constant measurement and refinement.
Tactic: Meet regularly with your brand ambassadors to gauge their feedback and input on the patient experience performance of their teams. Above all, follow this up by measuring longer-term progress through employee and patient satisfaction surveys.