brand loyalty

Hospital Marketing: The Future of our Brand is Determined by Random Contacts with the Patient

The brands that top the charts in customer experience are also winning the loyalty battle.

Forrester Research recently released its list of top brands for customer service.  Surveying over 4600 U.S. consumers about their customer experiences, Barnes and Noble topped the list.  Others making the top five were Marriott Hotels, Hampton Inn, Amazon and Holiday Inn Express.  At the bottom of the list were Charter Communications, United Healthcare and Citigroup. (A complete list can be seen here).

It’s always interesting to see how consumers rate businesses in regard to their customer service experiences.  And to examine what businesses do to improve their customer service.  It’s also interesting to see the correlation between customer service and other brand attributes.

One thing we know is there is a strong correlation between customer experience and brand loyalty.  Those companies that deliver superior customer service also build strong brand loyalty.  The brand image and perception are largely determined at the point it interacts with the customer.  Brand loyalty is determined at the point of customer contact.

As hospital marketers, this is invaluable information. We often put our emphasis on technology, convenience, services and a host of other things.  But how much emphasis are we putting on that point of customer contact?  What is happening when our brand interacts with the patient and the patient’s family?  Brand loyalty is being determined at those random points of contact.  The future of our brand is determined during these interactions.

This is undoubtedly the most difficult thing to control.  There are so many within our organization that have contact with the patient and each one of them can make or break the experience.  It’s very difficult to control all of these contacts.  But it is imperative that we create a culture, an environment, where there is consistent attention and a strong emphasis on positive customer service. Yes technology, convenience, services and a host of other things are important, but in a consumer-directed economy, customer service is at the top.  The customer experience will determine how our brand is viewed and if there is any brand loyalty.

Barnes and Noble and the other companies at the top of the list make great effort to create a customer-friendly atmosphere and attempt to deliver the highest level of customer service.  They make it their corporate culture.  The future of our own brand largely depends on how well we create that culture within our organizations.


Marketing Your Hospital – Marketing The Milestones

Celebrating a milestone such as a 100 year anniversary can be a prime opportunity to tell your hospital’s story and build patient loyalty. 

Birthday Cupcake

If hospital walls could talk there would be incredible tales of hope, heartbreak and uplifting care.  And when your hospital reaches a milestone, be it 25, 50 or 100 years in existence, it’s a strong testament of success.

Many hospitals have interesting pasts that invoke a sense of community pride.  Gadsden Regional Medical Center in Gadsden, Alabama is one such example.

In 1906  Dr. Rawls started the city’s first hospital in a home.  By the 1950’s, the hospital was owned by the county’s Baptist Association and through their leadership and with major help from the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, a new hospital was built on land donated by Goodyear, a major employer in the area. The construction was funded in large part by payroll deductions of the Goodyear plant workers.

The rich and storied past provided a great opportunity to retell that history and highlight the hospital’s many accomplishments.

Things to consider for your hospitals special milestone:

  1. Community-wide events such as picnics, parties for people born at the hospital, galas for the physicians and major donors, dedications of new wings or the donation of a commemorative sculpture to honor the past.
  2. Erect a timetable display reveling major milestones of the hospital’s history in the lobby, cafeteria or other public areas.
  3. Develop a media campaign to tell the history in a compelling way.
  4. Design, print and mail a detailed history piece to the hospital’s market area or patient data base.
  5. Have clever, medical-related specialty items to give away at public events. Pill boxes, thermometers, first aid kits, water bottles, baby medicine dispensers are all good examples.
  6. Plan radio and tv show appearances to promote all the upcoming events.
  7. Use facebook and twitter to promote events in each phase of the celebration.
  8. Produce a short video on the history and celebration to post on youtube, use at speaking engagements and feature on the hospital’s website.

Seize the opportunity and make the most of these markers in time and continue to build patient loyalty.  It’s a wonderful way to sell your hospital to newcomers to the area as well as reinforce the brand to your community.