The reason that organizations who have a high level of patient and customer loyalty outgrow their competitors is because loyalty is a behavior not just a mindset. There are four loyalty behaviors that drive growth which are all economic in their nature. All four loyalty behaviours listed below have the ability to impact short term, medium term as well as long term growth for a healthcare organization.
Customers who use your service again
Patient statistics show that satisfied patients return for care. Patients who have been delighted in their experience would have no reason to look for another hospital. With the use of statistical records, a hospital could quantify the average lifetime value of a typical patient and thus derive the long term cost of losing that patient due to poor service.
Customers who use additional service lines
A delightful patient experience in one hospital service line is more than likely to lead that patient to use other service lines when the need arises. Keki Bhote in his book “Beyond Customer Satisfaction to Customer Loyalty” says that loyal customers not only continue using existing services, but are also inclined to extend their loyalty towards the whole portfolio of the corporation’s products and service for the better part of their lifetime.
Customers who recommend you in their community
Studies have shown that it costs 10 times as much to attract new customers than it does to keep current ones. This is why promoters in your business are priceless and should be valued as their word of mouth becomes a powerful marketing avenue costing you almost nothing.
While many healthcare organisations quantify the value of having loyal customers, not many take the time to quantify the cost of having detractors in their business. In 2004, it was reported in the Healthcare Financial Management Association report that the average ‘wronged’ patient will tell 25 others about their bad experience, however in today’s internet age, a single dissatisfied patient can literally share his or her experience with thousands of other potential patients with a single click of a button. The potential loss of revenue today can be staggering when compared to a decade back.
Customers who provide constructive feedback
Most people will just walk away when you make a mistake, and then tell others, but not tell you. But a loyal customer wants you to recover and succeed. They will give you the constructive feedback you need to improve. By listening and taking action on this feedback, you can start to reap long-term economic benefits.
In the above image you are seeing an example from a women’s health organization who wanted their front-line staff to connect with their own ability to create a growth-fueled workplace (which would benefit them as much as it would the executive leadership). This document went through several iterations to get it to the point where it was deemed valid and was signed by all staff members.
As you can see from this document, every single patient interaction can have a significant impact on the overall growth and direction of the entire organization.
As a summary, hospitals which have focused efforts in improving patient satisfaction to maximize the number of patients who are loyal to their organization will benefit from more reliable revenue from patients and their families and less cost to attract new patients.
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