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Add the Human Touch to Your Health Care Services

In this day and age, it’s easy to take advantage of e-mails and other forms of virtual communication, but don’t forget the challenges the healthcare industry faces as it heads into the 21st century – the missing element of the human touch.

Medical tourism as an industry is rapidly growing and becoming increasingly competitive. At present, there is more supply of service providers than those demanding healthcare services in many locations around the world. The growing need for affordable healthcare has increased the number of options, treatments and procedures offered in many countries. So you are not only competing locally, you are competing for healthcare seekers regionally and globally. The challenges facing healthcare providers in coming years will be how to best attract customers and clients to your specific healthcare services.

Getting Past the Basics
If you’re relying on e-mails and traditional mail to contact your customers, you’re missing a vital element to communications. Physicians, surgeons, clinics and hospitals need to be able to connect with patients and assure them that their problems will be addressed by your healthcare facilities. Ask yourself these questions regarding your current business methods:

  • Who owns your customer relationship – you or someone else?
  • How do you nurture customer relationships – from the time you are first contacted by the customer until they come to your facility?
  • What actions do you take to create confidence and trust with the customer prior to them making an appointment?

If the answer to these questions is not clearly defined, then you’re failing to take advantage of one of the most proactive and productive approaches to enhance, grow your business, and convert customers into paying patients.  The key to such conversion relies on human expressions of compassionconfidence, and trust.

Without communicating in detail with prospective patients, it’s nearly impossible to understand their specific needs or to create a treatment plan customized to their specific situation. The way to do that is through human contact – the voice.

PlacidWay’s Six-Touch Point System
The six-touch point system was developed by PlacidWay as a method to enhance communication and convert potential customers to confirmed patients. The six-touch point system employs the following approach to customer relations:

  1. Introductory e-mails
  2. Customer follow-up call – (the human touch)
  3. Offer customers a detailed treatment plan – how, what, when, who
  4. Offer testimonials and case story successes – past experiences
  5. Customer follow-up call – (the human touch again)
  6. E-mail follow-up and confirmation

Utilizing such an approach, PlacidWay ensures that multiple forms of communication are used to create a well-rounded approach to satisfying customer issues, increasing customer acquisition and converting ‘possibles’ into confirmed clients.

Facing Future Challenges
Medical advancements using the latest technologically designed tools and equipment has made it easy for healthcare providers to forget the human element in healthcare. However, you can have the most advanced medical or surgical equipment at your disposal, but if you forget to connect to the patient’s spiritual, emotional, or mental needs, you may never get a chance to use it.

Healthcare providers must continue to work nurturing and building trusting relationships with prospective patients and help them to understand what they’re facing, what their options are, and help them make decisions..

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Ask yourself these questions:

  • How much time do you spend with patients to listen to their issues, fears, or concerns?
  • Are you able to answer questions customers often ask, such as:
    • Does the doctor speak my language? Will there be communication problems due to language differences?
    • How will this treatment help me? This is an elective procedure — why do I need it?
    • Is your facility best suited to complete my treatment?
    • Is medical travel abroad safe and can I really save money?
    • Can I locate case histories and treatments performed by this doctor that are similar to mine?
    • How can I make sure an international medical facility is credible?
    • Can I afford this?

Creating Solutions
Developing a multi-touch approach to customer relations and patient care results in multiple benefits for your medical practice or facility. Other than face-to-face contact, the telephone is still considered the best way to reach out to prospective patients and engage in dialogues and in-depth conversations regarding healthcare or surgical procedures.  Multiple avenues of communication, marketing and services are essential in this field. Consider the benefits of a multi-touch system approach:

  • Return on Investment (ROI) is higher when efforts are made to create and enhance relationships with prospective patients. Don’t forget that a patient’s opinion of your services will be a key to the success of your services in the future.
  • Customer satisfaction is achieved through the process of a smoothly working team, not by a number of different individuals from different organizations.
  • Communication with potential customers early in the buying process helps influence their expectations.
  • Never, ever forget the human touch when it comes to providing health care services. Human beings are guided by emotion in most decision-making processes.

In all communications with potential clients or patients, emphasize the multi-touch concept. Studies have shown that effective patient acquisition strategies blend components of e-mail, Internet-based marketing, interactive media, and the human voice to achieve success in today’s highly competitive medical travel environment. The multi-touch approach increases the probability of successfully landing a client by over 65%. In today’s competitive marketplace, utilizing the human touch will make all the difference in the world in the success of your practice or facility.

 

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