Five Simple Ways to Create a Five-Star Patient Experience

Think about the last time you received top-notch customer service. Did your doctor call to check up on you the day after a procedure? Did a restaurant give you extra sauces and napkins with your delivery? Did your accountant send a handwritten note on your birthday?

Now think about the last time you received terrible customer service. How many friends and family members did you tell? Did you rant about it on Facebook? Did you write a scathing Yelp review?

The truth is that the customer experiences we remember are the ones that were either fantastic or truly awful. And unfortunately, it’s usually the latter that gets the most attention:

Customers who have a bad experience are 2-3 times more likely to write a negative review than happy customers are to write a positive review.

Needless to say, bad reviews are bad for business:

80% of people will choose to go elsewhere if they read bad reviews about your business online.

A positive customer experience is key to building loyalty. As the saying goes, “a happy customer is a loyal customer.” And you can’t underestimate the value of loyalty:

Loyal customers are 5 times more likely to purchase again and 4 times more likely to refer a friend.

During my years working in a private practice in Florida, I oversaw all our community outreach events (health fairs, hearing seminars, Lunch & Learns, etc.). Anyone who knows me would tell you, I’m perfectly suited for this type of work. When I wasn’t in the office, I was out in the community, talking to people, learning about their hearing history, and conveying to them how important hearing is to their relationships, livelihood, and overall health.

Once you scheduled an appointment with me, you were my patient. I sent my patients appointment reminders, I called them the day before their appointment to confirm, and on the day of, I made sure to greet him/her upon arrival (“George! Welcome! It’s so nice to see you again!”). This didn’t happen overnight—it took time to build these relationships and good habits. I was fortunate to have a boss who pushed me to do more, be better, and try harder. Sometimes it was difficult, but the outcome was worth it.

I realize the Coronavirus has complicated what good customer service looks like. Healthcare providers have had to quickly adopt new safety and sanitation protocols to protect staff and patients while continuing to provide the same high level of care.

But the pandemic has also made exceptional customer service all the more important. Even something as small as extra bread with my takeout pasta seems to mean so much more. Years from now, it’s the people and businesses that took the best care of us during this challenging time that we’re going to remember most and be loyal to.

Below are sure-fire ways to increase patient satisfaction and build greater brand loyalty—not just today, but in the months and years to come.

1. Be accessible.

Today’s consumers expect and demand greater convenience in every aspect of their lives, including their healthcare. For younger and more active patients, offering services like online scheduling, automated appointment reminders (via email and text message), and live chat can be differentiators for your practice. Keep in mind that some of your patients are also more tech-savvy today than they were just a few months ago. With the pandemic forcing older Americans to remain largely confined to their homes, many have relied on video chat and other apps to shop, work, connect with loved ones, and even meet with doctors. The best thing you can do for your patients right now is to make yourself available to help them, especially the most vulnerable. Consider implementing curbside and teleaudiology services if you haven’t already.

2. Stay connected.

Now more than ever, your patients want and need to hear from you. So much that we recommend overcommunicating with them. Consistent outreach and follow-up with your database is crucial to increasing patient satisfaction and driving sales. Continue to update your digital properties (website, social media, Google My Business, Healthy Hearing profiles, etc.) to reflect any changes to your hours and services as well as the safety precautions your office is implementing. This should also be included in all of your marketing collateral. Use social media to stay top-of-mind with patients and make calling your database a priority. How often should you contact patients to ensure they purchase their next set of hearing aids from you? Click here to find out!

3. Make a good first and second impression.

Your website is often your patients’ first impression of your business. If it’s cluttered, outdated, slow, and/or difficult to navigate, visitors will have a negative perception of your practice (follow these ten tips to take your site from good to great). Just like your website, your office space should be a positive reflection of your brand and the quality of care you provide. Old or unsightly furnishings can suggest a lack of pride and attention to detail while a mini-fridge filled with bottled waters says, “We care about your comfort.” A fresh coat of paint and a fresh pot of coffee (or Keurig) can go a long way in creating a more inviting atmosphere where patients feel welcomed. Once it’s safe to have communal items in your waiting area again, be sure to have fresh new educational and marketing materials (flyers, posters, brochures, etc.) for visitors. Aside from offering valuable information that can help patients make the decision to invest in their hearing, they lend to your credibility as an “expert.” Finally, toss out all those old magazines—no one wants to read about the Royal Wedding anymore (well, except me, but that’s a topic for a much different blog).

4. Don’t keep them waiting!

How do you feel when you arrive to an appointment on time but the doctor doesn’t see you for 20 minutes or longer? Honor your patients’ time with respect. If you’re overbooked and struggling to manage your time, have your Front Office Professional (FOP) do a double knock on the door 5-15 minutes before your next appointment or a single knock when the patient has arrived. This can help keep you focused. Need more time with a patient or wrapping up a sale? Take a quick second and let your FOP know so they can inform your next patient. This is where having a fresh cup of joe and ample reading materials will come in handy.

5. Ask for reviews and referrals.

I’ve already touched on the importance of positive word of mouth but allow me to really drive the point home: nearly 90% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust their best friends’ recommendations and people are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend. If you’ve done everything right and created a positive experience for your patients, then this part should be easy. A satisfied patient is already more likely to recommend your practice to a friend or family member. But why wait for that to happen when all you need to do is ask? There are several ways to ask for patient referrals and, I promise, none are as awkward as you think. In addition, you should be sending automated online review requests through your practice management software (email and/or text message) after each appointment. It helps to plant the seed while the patient is in front of you. Let them know they’ll be receiving a message then explain how valuable their feedback is and that you’d really appreciate it if they could take a few minutes to share their opinion.

Change is hard. I’m the first to admit this. But we all understand the value of good customer service. If you’re following the above recommendations, keep it up. If not, take it one day at a time and gradually make the changes needed to ensure that every person who walks through your front door has the best experience. As my mom always says, “it’s the little things that often make the biggest difference.”

Consult YHN can help.
Talk to your Account Manager or contact us today!

About the Author

Julie Gesuale joined Consult YHN in 2010 and currently serves as an Assistant Account Manager in the company’s Hospital and University Division. Her diverse professional background includes customer service, marketing, and project management. When not working, Julie enjoys spending time with her wife of 15 years and her two rescue dogs, Sheldon and Leonard. She’s also been singing in church and community choirs for over 25 years.

Is Your Website Ready for the Surge in Digital Traffic and Leads?

It’s no surprise that the digital world and its role in communication has changed dramatically since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. Many of us have adjusted to working from home and relying more heavily on technology to communicate with coworkers, friends, and family.
According to The New York Times, website usage for sites like Facebook and YouTube have skyrocketed since February 29. Video chatting platforms like Google Duo and popular remote work apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have also reported record usage spikes.

People look to connect and entertain themselves

This trend isn’t going away anytime soon. While the days of social distancing and continuous handwashing will eventually fade – the need for a strong digital presence will not.

Your website is your most valuable digital asset; therefore, the time is now to assess its performance. In other words, does your website have what it takes to engage and convert the influx of people seeking help with their hearing loss?

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Nearly 90% of consumers conduct online research before making a purchase, which includes visiting a business’s website

Hopefully, your site is updated to reflect the safety precautions your practice is implementing to protect patients and staff, as well as pertinent information on any Telehealth or curbside services being provided. Patients care about and want to know how your practice is responding to COVID-19 and adhering to CDC guidelines. This information should be posted prominently on your homepage and any social media profiles, like Facebook and Healthy Hearing. Don’t forget to update your Google My Business profile to reflect any changes or updates you make to your services or hours.

Now, let’s discuss the specific items you should focus on when evaluating the performance and success of your website:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

Check whether your website dominates the first page of Google for the top hearing healthcare keywords. There are free online tools that will show you top competitive SEO metrics. Ultimately, your website provider/digital partner should manage your site’s SEO performance regularly and make the necessary updates. This is vital to maintaining a prominent rank in search results, which drives more quality leads, appointments, and sales.

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55% of search engine clicks come from the top 3 listings

Content:

Good SEO and good content go hand-in-hand. Fresh, relevant, and engaging content on your site will boost its SEO. It will also increase the amount of time visitors spend on your site and, in turn, your conversion rate (the percentage of unique site visitors who “convert” to leads by calling your office or filling out an online form). Adding unique content like videos, infographics, and weekly or monthly blog posts will help differentiate your brand from the competition. Timely articles about the effects of untreated hearing loss are great, but they’re even better when mixed with more personable and creative posts that will resonate with readers—tips for summer hearing aid care, how to choose the right hearing aid for your lifestyle, etc.

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52% of consumers say blogs have impacted purchasing decisions

Upgrades:

Features like click-to-call, online scheduling, chatbots, contact forms, and mobile-responsiveness are no longer optional—they’re essential.

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additional leads
On average, online scheduling tools generate 4 additional leads per month for hearing healthcare providers

User Experience (UX):

Users’ experience with a website is determined by how easy or difficult it is for them to navigate and interact with it. One broken link or slow-to-load page can create a bad experience for users. Your site needs to fulfill visitors’ needs, wants, and expectations both quickly and easily. While UX testing is a complex process, there are several simple things you can do yourself to enhance your site’s usability, including:

  • Check every link and app/widget to ensure they work.
  • Add internal links between relevant content and pages.
  • Shorten long paragraphs of text and/or break them up.
  • Create more white space around text and titles.
  • Use strong CTAs (Call-To-Actions) to guide users to convert.
  • Make sure all images and pages load quickly.

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Better UX design could raise your website’s conversion rate by 400%

Design & Layout:

Your website is most often your patients’ first impression of your brand. If it looks outdated or unappealing, visitors will have a negative perception of your practice. Everything from your fonts and spacing to your colors and design elements needs to be clean and cohesive across your entire site. There should be a consistent header and footer on every page that includes your logo, practice information, and social icons.

Of course, you want your website to stand out from your competitors. But that doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to its layout and design. Despite a common misconception, “templated” websites are not “basic” and are not going to make your site look exactly like other audiology websites. To start, they’re 100 percent customizable – using your brand, color schemes, unique assets (logo, photos, videos, more). Second, website “templates” exist for a reason: they work! Keep in mind, website site design is part art – but primarily science. Most developers use behavioral science and best practices to design websites for optimal usability and most importantly – conversion. Some tools developers use to test the merit of a website include:

  • User Testing: A platform for obtaining rapid customer feedback on any customer experience, including websites, mobile apps, and real-world experiences.
  • Heat Mapping: A graphical representation of data that uses a system of color-coding to represent different values. While used in various forms of analytics, most often they’re used to show user behavior on specific webpages and determine where the most important content should be placed on a page.
  • Conversion Tracking: A powerful tool in Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords) that lets you identify how well your ad campaign is generating leads, sales, downloads, email sign-ups, and other key actions.

Through these methods, developers know what the target demographic expects to see and how they can best be encouraged to convert. For example, most websites have a horizontal top navigation, left-aligned logo, and right-aligned contact information because heat mapping shows this is the best structure for usability and entices users to travel deeper into the site.

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People form 75% of their judgment on a website’s credibility purely on its aesthetics

Website Provider/Digital Partner:

If your internet-savvy nephew is managing your site, it may be time to consider making a change. A reliable and highly-skilled digital partner will make all the difference—a partner you can hold accountable to manage all your online marketing needs, not just your website. Your digital partner should oversee ongoing website maintenance, performance, results, and provide you ownership over your domain and other digital properties. Click here to find out the most important questions to ask your website provider or reach out to your Consult Marketing Account Executive for assistance. The Consult Digital Program offers engaged Associates a comprehensive digital solution proven to drive leads and sales.

Questioning if your website delivers the results it should? Consult YHN’s in-house experts will conduct a personalized website and digital marketing assessment, including a geographic and competitive analysis.

Increase your digital traffic and drive more patient appointments –
contact Consult Marketing today!

About the Author

Genevieve Amabile joined Consult YHN in 2019 and serves as a Marketing Account Coordinator. Prior to Consult YHN, she worked as a Social Media Coordinator for a staffing agency and interned with Seven Mile Publishing & Creative in Avalon, NJ. Genevieve graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications in 2018. In her free time, she enjoys baking, reading, and listening to her favorite true crime podcasts.

7 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Facebook Business Page

comment like and shareEighty-six percent of small businesses use Facebook as their preferred channel to connect with customers. If your practice happens to be a part of the other 14 percent, please stop what you’re doing and create a Facebook Business Page. Everyone else, please continue reading.

Marketing your practice on Facebook is one of the least expensive and most effective ways to build brand awareness, stay top-of-mind with current patients, and attract new ones. Facebook is the most used social platform for users aged 55 and above. In fact, 68 percent of Baby Boomers use the site daily.

But of course, that doesn’t mean your Facebook page is actually reaching all those Boomers.

On any given day, there are an average of 1,500 posts that appear in a person’s News Feed—the main page where people scroll through and view content from friends, family, and businesses—that’s a lot of competition!

And, Facebook recently changed its algorithm to prioritize personal posts over brand page (business) posts to encourage more “authentic interactions” and “meaningful engagement.” In other words, it’s more difficult for businesses to achieve the same kind of exposure, organically. Unless you’re a large corporation with deep pockets, your page’s reach is largely limited by the number of followers/fans you have on your page.

But fear not—below are several ways your practice can amplify its reach on Facebook and drive more engagements without spending additional money.

  1. Optimize and personalize your page

It’s important to enter as much information as possible about your practice. While some fields might not apply, there’s no excuse for not entering your address, phone number, email, website URL, and hours of operation. This information will help your page appear and rank higher in Facebook and Google search results. In addition to basic contact information, including a practice description and mission statement is equally as important. Leaving those sections blank only hurts your credibility.

Your profile picture should be your practice logo or a staff photo. Your cover image should be a high-quality photo of your team or office that isn’t overly busy or text-heavy (you can use a stock image, but if you want to make a real impression, avoid generic photos).

Most important is that your cover image is the correct dimensions and optimized for both desktop and mobile. Stick with an image 820px wide by 360px tall and keep all text and graphics in the middle “safe zone” as shown in the graphic below.

If your uploaded photo is smaller than these dimensions, Facebook will stretch it to fit, making it look blurry. TIP: header image dimensions differ for Facebook Groups and Facebook events so don’t expect to use the same image.

  1. Post content that’s fun, informative, and timely

I know—easier said than done. Perhaps it would help to first clarify what kind of content you should NOT post: anything that Facebook might consider too salesy or spammy. Instead, focus on providing content that’s valuable to your followers and humanizes your brand. Tell your story and tell your patients’ stories. Share articles and infographics that illustrate the importance of good hearing health and the risks associated with untreated hearing loss. Show your followers what the latest hearing technology has to offer. But don’t just educate your followers—entertain them! Post a joke. Post a meme. Post a photo of your staff wearing silly hats on “National Hat Day” (Jan. 15).

Whatever you post, just make sure it includes some sort of visual. As far as how long your posts should be, organic engagement peaks at 40 characters while posts with 80 characters or less receive 66 percent higher engagement (40-80 characters is the sweet spot).

The good news: you don’t have to create all your own original content! Sharing posts from other industry thought-leaders (manufacturers, hearing health advocates/non-profits, etc.) is just as important. Bonus: Facebook rewards posts that receive engagements (likes, comments, shares) with increased reach (more eyeballs).

  1. Incorporate (mobile first!) video into your content strategy

The only things people like more than images are videos. Proof. That’s why Facebook has even started to prioritize video content. When it comes to creating videos for social, the most important thing to keep in mind is that most people watching them on their phones (96 percent) and without sound (85 percent). Videos designed for mobile-first are usually optimized to play without sound. Regardless, any video that you post should be two minutes or less, have movement in the first two-three seconds, a thumbnail that will grab people’s attention, and subtitles if necessary.

Not sure what to film? How about an instructional video showing patients how to properly clean and maintain hearing aids? Or inspirational testimonials from patients about how hearing aids have improved their lives? Is anyone in the office celebrating a birthday soon? Fill an employee’s cubicle with balloons, record his/her reaction, upload the video, then get ready for the “likes” to start pouring in!

Oh, and if you’re camera-shy, it’s worth noting that there are endless hours of videos already available all over the internet and social media that you can easily share.

  1. Be social

Social media engagement increases loyalty and generates word of mouth. Above all, that is why you have a Facebook page in the first place. But engagement is a two-way street. If someone “likes” your posts, then “like” theirs. If they leave a comment on a post, respond to it. The same goes for any questions and recommendations/reviews you receive. And try to do so quickly—over 70 percent of users expect a response within an hour.

  1. Be consistent

Consistency will make it easier to create and execute a content calendar every month. If you don’t currently have a third party to help run your social media, then designate one person in your office to manage and regularly update your Facebook page. While there’s no magic number, most experts suggest posting once a day or at least three times a week. What days and what times, you ask? Stats show that Facebook engagement peaks on weekdays between 12 pm-3pm. You can also use Facebook Insights to find out which days and times your specific followers are most active (at the top of your business page, just click on Insights > Posts > When Your Fans are Online).

  1. Connect with your existing community

The easiest way to increase your Facebook audience is to connect with the people and businesses you’re already connected with in the real world. This includes your staff, current patients, manufacturers, other industry partners, community groups/organizations, and local businesses. These are the people who will most likely find your content interesting and are, therefore, more likely to share it. Not only is Facebook prioritizing content from friends and family over businesses, but people are 16 times more likely to read posts shared by their friends and family than those shared by brands. So, definitely encourage your employees to share your content with their own Facebook networks. Then, go ahead and “like” the pages of your colleagues, industry partners, and any other industry influencers so that they’ll be more inclined to return the favor

  1. Promote your Facebook page

If you’re not driving traffic to your social media pages from your website, then you’re doing yourself a great disservice. Links to your social media should be visible not only on your homepage but in the footer or header of every single page. In addition, include social media links/icons in your email signature, business cards, marketing email footers, and all of your other digital marketing materials. If you want to go one step further, add a simple call-to-action to the end of your emails (i.e. “P.S. Like us on Facebook”). 

 

So, there you have it —the foundation for a successful Facebook marketing strategy!

If you like what you just read, please follow Consult YHN on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 😉

About the Author

Nicole Finkbiner joined Consult YHN as the Marketing Communications Specialist in 2018 with nearly a decade of communications experience. Over the course of her career, Nicole has created a wide array of different content for various mediums and outlets—news articles, press releases, arts features, product descriptions, small business websites, e-blasts, social media posts, promotional materials, and more. In her free time, the Philadelphia native enjoys soaking up the city’s culture and binge-watching TV shows.

2018 Year in Review

It’s that time again to reflect on the past year, and we probably aren’t alone in saying that 2018 was a whirlwind. We enjoyed a busy, but productive and exciting year.

Take a look at what we were up to and what’s on the horizon for 2019.

Year in Review Slide Slide

Facebook 101: Navigating Posts, Boosted Posts, and Facebook Ads

As Facebook has grown over the years into a rich platform for marketers and clinics to advertise and promote their services, it has segmented into three separate pathways for promotion.

So what’s the difference between the three pathways: regular posts, boosted posts, and Facebook ads?

Facebook Feed Posts

Regular Facebook Feed posts consist of updates and posts made on your clinic’s “timeline;” one that shows on the front of your business page in chronological order. This acts as a bulletin board for any potential client or former client to learn about your practice and peruse through any updates or information you have recently posted. These posts made on your page will be shown to approximately 1-2% of your fan base on average, as organic reach has steadily decreased over the past few years due to an over-supply of content on the platform.

As your page receives higher engagement and your posts are deemed more relevant to your audience, Facebook will show your posts to more users organically in their news feed. It is essential for all clinics and small businesses to have an active social media presence, as it has become a core search component when potential patients are researching about a product or service. The more updated and relevant content that a clinic has on their Facebook page, the more likely a patient will be interested in using them as a provider.

Boosted Posts

Boosted posts provide clinics or marketers the ability to amplify their regular page posts to a larger audience than Facebook would show it to organically. You are provided with a simplified set of targeting options, including age demographic and geographic location, and you are able to optimize your boosted post to receive more engagement or reach the maximum amount of people for your budget. You are limited with this promotion to strictly boost your post on the Facebook or Instagram News Feeds.

On the user-end, they will see “Sponsored” in the corner of the post on their news feed, just as it would had it been run through the Ads Manager. This simplifies the ad-building process into under a minute and makes it easy for clinics to add additional exposure to their page posts/updates. However, it does not provide you with complex options to fully target your audience, build campaigns, implement eye-catching ad styles, and the ability to optimize efficiently to deliver the best results like Facebook Ads does. This can be a considered a shortcut to give your posts a small but necessary “boost” of exposure.

Facebook Advertising

Facebook Ads give you the ability to fully maximize the platform and deliver the best results for your campaigns. You are provided with a rich set of controls and campaign objectives, with the ability to optimize based on your goals of generating traffic, generating leads, sign-ups, or simply building brand awareness. Utilizing the Facebook Ads Manager enables you to utilize the varying ad styles most useful for clinics such as “Lead-Generation” ads or “Conversion,” giving you the flexibility to track the patient journey from seeing the ad to filling out a form. It also provides you with the tools to select the individual platforms your campaign should run on, whether it be on any of the varying ad spaces that Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, and Messenger provides.

A/B testing is also provided so that you can truly test what ads work, and what ads are not resonating with your audience. Lastly, you will find better results in total reach, cost per impressions, total leads, and other key performance metrics by running Facebook Ads over simply boosting posts, as best practices follow building all ads through their back-end system.

Interested in learning more about how you can best utilize Facebook to grow patient leads?

 

Contact us here or give us a call at 866-950-3571 to get started!

About the Author

Ethan Bruno is the Search Marketing Manager at AudiologyDesign. He has an extensive background in digital advertising and brand development, working in a diverse set of verticals for small businesses, including healthcare, automotive, retail, non-profits, and e-commerce consumer products. Ethan is a Certified Facebook Blueprint Buying Professional and holds additional certifications in Google Analytics and Google Adwords. In his current role, Ethan plans, strategizes, and builds PPC and social advertising campaigns for hearing care practices throughout the US and Canada. He obtained his degree in Communications from Syracuse University and currently resides in New Jersey. In his free time, you can catch him sitting on a blanket at music festivals all over the globe.