Consumer buying behavior has undergone a drastic change over the last ten years. During this period, the influence of globalization, technology and most importantly, social media, caused a shift in consumer behavior across all sectors including the medical tourism industry.
Earlier, patients only relied on the available treatment options locally or nationally because they were not aware of the choices. Now, they literally have all the choices on their palm, thanks to the smartphones. Just by surfing information on social media, online reviews, or other web platforms, they can easily get informed about what treatment is available in which country and at what price. Thus, they can make a comparison and find the best suitable option for the treatment they need. Moreover, they can also use tools like messengers, video calls, etc. to connect with the specialist doctors or health clinics abroad and get answers to the queries via direct interaction.
Now, consumers (patients) want things that are more transparent and real. The providers who cannot offer this transparency will not gain the trust of the patients and move out of the competition. Thus, it is very important for the medical service providers to adopt this change in consumer buying behavior.
Now, the question is what influences the consumers’ buying behavior most? No single reason can drive the consumers’ mood. A number of factors are responsible for consumers’ buying behavior, such as:
- Socio-economic background
- Personality, etc.
Whenever a customer resolves to buy something through an available channel, he or she starts with some brands in mind. Subsequently, reaches to a single brand after comparing them with his or her understanding and perception.
Let us thoroughly discuss the issue of consumers’ buying behavior and how the medical centers, clinics, and hospitals associated with the healthcare industry are adopting new strategies according to that.
Purchasing behavior of consumers can be classified by a number of factors. Research works and studies have helped experts to understand the fable of consumers’ behavior. The below-mentioned factors related to the attitude, tendencies, and priorities of consumers will give some light to the understanding of consumers’ buying behavior.
This effective marketing channel plays a big role in driving consumers’ mind. Such marketing campaigns are believed to bring rapid changes in market shares of involving industries. Advertisements help the patients to prefer one center over another, as they largely get influenced by the way the medical service providers represent their brand or services to their target audiences.
Economic condition is another factor that drives consumers’ purchasing attitude. This factor comes into the play when a patient makes a decision to undergo a treatment abroad. For example, a woman chooses Mexico to get rhinoplasty surgery over a local service provider. The reason is that she will get the treatment at a world-class cosmetic surgery clinic by a renowned surgeon. In addition, she can also travel some of the best locations in Mexico. Thus, a positive socio-economic condition makes consumer confident about getting the services they want.
Consumers’ purchasing power or capacity is another factor that influences their decision. Before making any decision of buying products, consumers analyze their purchasing power. The demand and need of the product may be excellent, but if the consumer does not have the capacity to buy it, the sale of the product will be down. Similarly, an international patient will always check the price of the treatment procedure. If he doesn’t find the price affordable, he will not go further even if he needs to undergo the treatment. Thus, the providers charging high cost than a competitive rate, they will not drive patients.
Personal preferences play a major role in influencing consumers’ purchasing behavior. Personal factors such as likes, dislikes, morals, priorities, and values regulate consumers’ behavior. In some specific industries like fashion, personal care and food, the personal choice and opinion of interested customers can become an influencing factor. However, personal choice is not a major driving factor for the patients to choose a clinic.
Group influence often works better than personal choice. The impact of group influence on consumers’ mind comes into the effect when a consumer is advised by groups comprised of family members, friends, colleagues or relatives. Choosing a particular medical center for breast implants where a friend has successfully gone through the same procedure always influence the decision.
The soaring cost of the quality medical facility within the locality or across a country has led to the emergence of medical tourism. Like any other industries, consumers’ purchasing behavior also plays an important role in the healthcare industry, where the patients or their family members (consumers) look out for cost-effective quality healthcare facilities.
The demand for budget-friendly medical facility encourages patients to travel abroad. Leading healthcare businesses across a number of medical tourism destinations are now exploring the potential of medical tourism by analyzing the consumers’ behavior. Consumers’ decision- making behavior in this segment is largely influenced by their needs, desires and perceptions.
Realizing the demand and potential of the medical tourism industry, medical tourism groups, healthcare service providers and government authorities are now coming forward to organize specific messages and programmers to fuel the growth of medical tourism industry.
Before making any decision on choosing the option of medical travel, a consumer thinks about his or her needs first. The second best factor comes as to why he or she should go abroad to seek the medical facility? Likewise, a medical tourist also considers factors like how he or she will buy the service abroad and who the service providers are.
Most of the patients, who are ready to travel abroad, rely on the information provided by the patients who already received the facility abroad. Websites publishing the reviews of medical institutions also play a great role in influencing the consumers’ mind. Factors such as age, culture, gender, financial condition and geographical location also influence consumers’ decision-making ability. Here are some common questions a consumer may consider before considering a destination for quality medical facilities:
- What is the consumer’s financial position?
- What kind of service he or she needs at the moment?
- Why does he or she want to travel abroad?
- Where would he or she get the treatment?
- Which is the right time to make the important decision?
Keeping such important factors in mind, service providers associated with the medical tourism industry should make effort to strike a balance between demand and supply of quality medical service. In order to propel the demand of constantly maturing medical tourism industry, the market leaders should introduce customized medical travel services. In addition, right educational elements and tireless effort to meet the expectation of visiting consumers will write the success story of the growing industry.
Medical centers with the most comprehensive solutions always ensure a safe and pleasurable medical travel experience. Such medical service providers are the best in the business, as they come with valuable experience in the field of general management, operation, communication and customer care service. Following are some qualities a medical service provider should have in order to influence patients’ buying behavior.
- In-depth knowledge of the global healthcare industry and medical tourist needs
- Extensive in-depth marketing and education program
- Efficient customer care service
- High-value treatments that are affordable
The advent of multiple convenient mediums has encouraged consumers to choose the easiest way to access their desired treatment procedures. Today, businesses across the world do not rely on the single medium of marketing, as they prefer to use multiple educational channels to reach their target market efficiently.
However, it is important to educate and inform the international patients about the best prices, packages and treatment benefits to help them make the right decision of choosing the best option. PlacidWay, as the pioneer of the medical tourism industry, helps in presenting the medical service providers in a highly personalized and truly viable way highlighting their top-notch medical facilities and affordability.
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