In a post titled “6 Reasons the Customer Journey Is the Future of Digital Marketing” on his Customer Journey Marketer Blog, Gary DeAsi explains why the “customer journey” or “patient journey“—online and beyond—has become the new focus for marketing. The post gives us a clearer picture of the patient-consumer of today—that elusive “lead” or “prospect” we are trying to hook and reel in as a new patient to our hearing healthcare practice.
DeAsi believes the customer journey will be key to future survival in the marketplace—any marketplace. The central themes that he explores in his discussion of customer behavior in today’s marketplace are germane to a discussion of patient behavior in the hearing healthcare industry. The customer experience is evolving right along with digital marketing, says DeAsi, and the trends we are seeing in customer behavior are driving a shift in marketing toward the customer experience.
If Your Hearing Practice Isn’t Online, You Aren’t on the Map
Why is the old adage, “The customer is always right” more apropos today than ever before? Because the digital age puts an abundance of information directly at consumers’ fingertips via their connection to the Internet and digital devices. Quite literally, your website, social media post, or email marketing piece are just a touchscreen tap away from your consumer—or should be. If you don’t capture the attention of your potential patient-customers online, whose attention is easily diverted, someone else will.
The world created by the Internet is more customer-centric, thanks to online information juggernauts like Google, not to mention healthcare provider review websites and community review portals. Patients today travel a shorter path to finding information about their health issues, and to purchasing healthcare products and services. Today’s healthcare consumers are budget savvy, and searching for the best value and experience for their money.
“As a customer, if you don’t give me the quality experience I expect; exactly what I want, how, when and where I want to experience it, I’ll simply get it from someone else who will,” says DeAsi of today’s Internet-informed consumer.
With this evolving environment in mind, CareCredit, a third-party patient financing company that offers a healthcare credit card aimed at helping patients gain easier access to health services and products, commissioned research to track the hearing care customer’s journey. Specifically, CareCredit sought to understand the patient’s path to purchasing hearing aids and related hearing services. The research findings provide interesting insights about the patient-consumers we are trying to reach, and capture, with our hearing healthcare marketing efforts.
Interpreting Research Data to Understand a Patient’s Path to Purchasing Hearing Aids
Much of the patient’s path to purchase has moved online, that’s clear, so make sure your hearing practice has an online presence. Yet, a surprising finding of the CareCredit research was that an important part of the patient’s journey happens after they arrive at your office. CareCredit’s research, which surveyed 1,954 online patient-consumers—209 of whom were seeking hearing care—found that 84% of those surveyed researched costs online, but 82% sought information on treatments, products, and services at the provider’s office.
The research findings indicate 2 ways you can capture—and retain—today’s patient prospects: 1) make sure patient-consumers can easily find you online with a responsive website that compels them to call your practice, and 2) train your front office staff to have the telephone skills needed to actually book appointments and bring those patients in your door. And, once they arrive, make sure they have an excellent patient experience.
As the research suggests, how your office handles each patient visit is the most important part of the customer journey.
Your hearing practice’s offerings should include ample information, friendly office staff and a pleasing environment, a wide selection of products, hearing treatments in a range of price points, exceptional service and care, several financing and payment options to help patients make a hearing aid purchase, and timely, consistent follow-up.
To learn more about which factors influence the patient’s journey to purchasing hearing aids and hearing care services, download CareCredit’s free research report here:
This content is provided to the 4MyHearingBiz community courtesy of CareCredit, The Hearing Review, and Gary DeAsi, CustomerJourneyMarketer.com.
Image credits: CareCredit; © Rawpixelimages | Dreamstime.com