Patients have come to expect (and demand) easy interactions, convenient access, and an experience free from barriers. Do you have solutions?
Other industries have primed patients to have high expectations when it comes to the experience they have with you. Think about it! Your patients can purchase their groceries online through Instacart, place their coffee order through the Starbucks app, and enjoy two-day delivery and one-click ordering on most anything they need with Amazon. These are just a few examples of companies that have developed new ways of business that make life easier for their customers. And when it comes to the giants like Amazon, they’ve been doing it for decades.
So what does that mean for your patients?
The patient experience in hearing healthcare is a journey fraught with friction and barriers. Once someone becomes aware of their hearing loss, it takes an average of 4 years for them to do something about it. They may be in denial or they may simply not know what to do about it. Any barrier gives the patient an opportunity to back out on getting the care they need. Some barriers are environmental, some are psychological, and others are simply of our own making. However, they all have one thing in common: Barriers can keep patients from getting the care they need and deserve.
Let’s take a look at some common barriers along the patient journey and what we can do to overcome them.
Example 1 – Confusion
There are a lot of providers, a lot of products, and a lot of sources of information on hearing healthcare. This information can be too technical or clinical, which becomes overwhelming to the patient who already is unsure where to start.
Clear and relatable content is key to reaching these patients. Investing in digital media, an optimized and professionally created website, and sharable video content will allow you to break through the confusion and present yourself as the obvious choice for hearing healthcare in your community. This is not something to approach on your own. Having a digital partner who has specific skills and knowledge at reaching hearing healthcare patients is essential in developing your digital presence.
Example 2 – Availability
Once a patient becomes aware of their hearing loss and has decided to do something about it, they need to make an appointment. Sounds easy, right? Unfortunately, the answer is often “no.” Making a phone call during business hours, being put on hold, and finding dates and times that work with their availability can all be major barriers for patients and cause them to abandon ship.
Make it easy for your patients to schedule an appointment with you. Having a solution like a real-time appointment scheduler directly on your website provides a seamless patient experience, cuts your no-show rate in half, and saves time and resources for the patient and for you. Be aware that not all online appointment schedules are created equal. You want to ensure that yours integrates directly with your OMS so patients can book appointments in real-time, rather than requesting a date and waiting for a call back.
Example 3 – Lack of Return Patients
You sold your patient some hearing aids. That’s great! However, 60% of patients will purchase hearing aids somewhere else after 4 years. It’s well known in business that the best customer is the one you already have, so how do you build on this loyal patient relationship for years to come?
Having a strategy for patient nurture is a necessary part of any marketing plan. Staying in touch with your patients throughout the year with database mailers, upgrade offers, and even something as simple as birthday cards can create the stickiness that keeps patients returning to you. Make sure yours know that you are still there for them!
Creating a smooth, friction-free journey for patients will increase patient demand at the beginning of the journey, improve conversions at every stage, and result in greater sales, loyalty and advocacy at the “end” of the journey.
At CQ Partners, we make it easy. All of us are obsessed with creating the best experience—not just for patients, but for you too! We have the tools you need to reach patients at every stage of their journey and remove the barriers that prevent them for receiving your expert care.