Why Patient Loyalty Matters for Urgent Care

For health care organizations, a primary goal is to leave patients with a positive feeling about the care they received. But the organization’s viability may rest on whether those feelings are translated into a tendency to use the facility for future healthcare needs — in other words, whether they are building loyalty.

Patient loyalty is one of the driving factors behind healthcare organizations. In order for healthcare facilities to be successful, it’s important for professionals to understand the difference between satisfied patients and loyal patients. Doing this will drive patient-centered care and make pursuits more accurate. Loyal patients want to ensure the success of the provider or practice to which they feel loyal. On the other hand, patient satisfaction is a more ambiguous. If a patient has a satisfactory experience, it implies that, at the very least, their expectations have been met. Satisfaction is important, however, it’s subjective. Patients should always be satisfied, to take it a step further, loyalty inspires people to take action.

An individual touched by a positive interaction is much more likely to provide word of mouth marketing and refer patients to your healthcare practice. Word of mouth marketing is a very powerful tool. According to a Nielsen study, 92% of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family above other forms of advertising. This generates a snowball effect with one person telling another, and so on. If used well, this can translate as effective and valuable free marketing for your health care clinic.

It is interesting to look at Instagram as a business strategy because before 2010 it hadn’t launched yet, but now it is hard to think of what businesses were doing before they had social media like Instagram, to expand their brand.

Almost all millennials know what Instagram is because they use it everyday. It is a continuously growing social media platform for businesses now as well. There are nearly 800 million active monthly users.

More and more companies are using the site to get their brands across through advertising, networking, posting, and sharing. It is now a top social media site for photo and video sharing, so businesses are eager to put their brand out there through this site.

How your Urgent Care’s location effects brand loyalty

In our technology-based world, access to information is at the tip of your fingertip. Dynamic online scheduling helps patients find you in an Internet search and makes it easy for them to see which location has the shortest wait time and book an appointment. Choosing a location that is convenient for the demographic is essential. Answering these possible questions may be able to help you spot the perfect location for your urgent care and increase patient loyalty.

Is the location easily accessible?

This sounds like an easy one, but can easily be overlooked. When someone is in need of an urgent care, there should be easy in-and-out parking available. Finding a location that is easily accessible to patients may mean you’ll need a bigger budget, however, this can benefit you in the long run.

Who are you marketing to and where are they?

If you plan on opening an urgent care facility, it’s essential you understand who you’re marketing to. Most urgent cares are located in densely populated areas, where families with children live. Make sure to note how far away your demographic lives and if the area is growing or decreasing in size.

How competitive is the market?

Finding out your competition is essential when deciding upon a location. First, figure out if there are other same-day urgent cares or primary care offices in the area. If so, what services are they offering? By analyzing your competitors, you can add specialized services that they don’t offer. Think about the principle of supply and demand. Will your urgent care fill a need in the community? After you analyze the demographic, competition, and market, you can make a sound decision about where your urgent care will thrive.

Put your urgent care on the map by providing care in an area easily accessible to patients. Once you’ve chosen an area that will benefit your business you can better market to current and potential patients in the area. If a patient becomes attached to your brand, they’re more likely to go to you first for their needs, and commit to your services over a competitor.

Your Patient Experience

Take a look at the popular, intense workout brand SoulCycle. This well-known workout brand is not just selling an intense workout. They are also selling an experience. SoulCycle offers an experience that people are willing to pay almost 40$ a class for. The pay for this isn’t as important to loyal customers, because the experience they receive is worth much more.

Urgent Cares rise in popularity reflects the change of the changing health care system. The ability to receive on demand care when most primary care physicians aren’t available is paramount in creating a positive experience. Just one positive experience can mean repeat patient visits which is essential in driving business. Quality care is the forefront of every medical experience. Patients should be treated to an experience, one that makes them feel valued, cared about, and most importantly, loyal.

First impressions are lasting, and often for urgent cares, they are done over the phone. If you aren’t courteous, prompt, and knowledgeable over the phone, you are not giving your client any incentive to come in. This is the very beginning of your patient’s experience. When your patients walk through your front doors, how are they treated? Do they have to wait a long time? Long wait times are one of the top issues negatively impacting patient satisfaction scores. Enhancing patient experience positively impacts your healthcare organization in three major ways:

Encouraging Patient Engagement

When your patients are seen as unique individuals, it increases the likelihood that they and their families or other caregivers will become more engaged in their own health needs. Open communication is key to having a trusting relationship.When patients have confidence in their health care providers they are more likely to comply with treatment plans and ask questions.

Positive Reviews

Patients who have been touched by a positive experience are more likely to fill out surveys and give honest feedback to providers. You can analyze these surveys by creating interactive survey charts such as Likert scale chart. It will help you analyze feedback data at first sight without looking at feedbacks one by one. Over 90% of people first check a  business online. This means various people are seeing what others have to say. A BrightLocal Study that was carried out by in 2014 found that up to 88% of the respondents trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations. Online reviews give potential patients an idea of what they can expect from you.  Another reason why reviews are important is the fact that they help boost patient loyalty towards a business or brand. A person who takes the time to leave a positive review on Yelp about a particular brand is likely to come back for more business should they need it. It’s not just what the care was, but how the patient was treated.

do you read customer reviews to determine whether a local business is good

Transparency of Information

Having easily accessible information is an important for consumers who want to compare prices of urgent cares. Being open about cost allows for trust and enhances a patient’s experience. Once you’ve established a location for your urgent care it’s important to make sure you’re offering transparent information and making it easily accessible online and in person. Your urgent care should make it clear as to what insurance providers are accepted, how long wait times are, and billing information. Are your hours of operation easily accessible? Are all the services you offer available on your website? Are forms easily accessible and downloadable? Easy access to information is key to gaining potential patients, while also gaining loyal patients.

Digital Marketing  Strategies to Increase Patient Loyalty

There are tons of different digital marketing strategies perfect for Medical Practices. Some of the best ones to enhance your brand loyalty are Email Marketing, Social Media, and Video Production. Digital Marketing would also be nothing without a website, to which, we will say that Web Design plays an integral part in defining your brand as well. Let’s dive into the different digital marketing outlets for medical practices starting with email marketing.

Email Marketing

Email campaigns, if used thoughtfully, can build patient loyalty to your brand. Email marketing is important for building relationships with prospects, leads, current patients, and even past past since it gives you a chance to speak directly to them. This digital marketing technique allows for convenience, they can read your message at a time best for them. The great thing about email, is that it can be personalized. You can cover topics like changes in your company, testimonials, request feedback from your customer – the list is virtually endless.

With billions of users, using email as a marketing tool can positively impact patient loyalty, of course, if it’s done right. By creating personalized email campaigns, you can engage with current and previous patients. Since it’s a need-based service, creating an email marketing plan that can offer services such as flu shots, screenings, events, minor injury care, pediatrics, physicals, occupational medicine, and more can be highly beneficial. Following up an appointment with a simple, “thank you for your visit” will reinforce the brand’s message.

Following up with a survey can also show your brand cares about a positive patient experience and values high quality customer service.Mailchimp is a software tool that gives companies the ability to manage mailing lists, newsletters, campaigns and more. It’s a great tool to inform past, current, and interested parties of awareness, services, and events.The urgent care industry is devoted to educating patients about the benefits of their healthcare facility. The Mack Media Group utilizes this tool for our client that runs multiple Urgent Cares in Connecticut named DOCS Urgent Care. In order to improve an urgent care’s digital marketing presence, utilizing Mailchimp is an excellent way to keep your brand relevant while also showing patients you care about their well-being.

mailchimp email campaign template

Social Media

Before you consider using social media for your urgent care, users should be familiar with HIPAA guidelines. Everything that an urgent care provider publishes on a social network is in the public domain. In order to avoid HIPAA violations, sensitivity and compliance need to be taken into account. Social media can be a great channel for increasing brand awareness, trust, and loyalty. Social media channels such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, and more aren’t just tools to use because “everyone has it”, this is an opportunity to analyze competition and understand the type of people who visit your channels.

So you’ve created a social media platform, now what? Here’s some tips on gaining a following, and keeping it.Facebook  has the function where you can create groups and pages which is perfect for a business such as an urgent care. By starting a Facebook group, you’re able to target an audience for your Urgent Care that shares similar interests. A group where patients can share their challenges and get tips. Through this you are able to initiate discussions that can help their daily lives.

Posting constant call-to-actions to pitch your services can turn a lot of people away. By providing personalized, authentic responses, you’re showing that you care and are dedicated to the groups overall well-being. Social media accounts are notorious for changing their rules whenever they want. In order to make sure the discussions on your social media platforms continue, give your patients a reason to join your urgent care’s email list.

three most used social media sites

Video production offers a unique, visual way to give your audience an informative, appealing of your urgent care. Youtube is a platform that offers little daily base investments while capturing your brand. Youtube is mobile friendly and accessible easily across phones, computers, and tablets. This platform that is largely built around increasing “subscribers” that follow your channel. By publishing quality videos consistently and interacting with your users, you can build a following that is engaged and eager to share your posts across other channels.

Your Website

The Urgent Care’s website is essentially a virtual flyer for the facility. It tells prospective patients your services and how you may be able to treat them. A sleek, professional website should easily point people to services, locations, and contact information. Having a website compatible across various platforms such as smart phone, computer, and tablet are more likely to entice prospective patients since a business’s website is often one of the first impressions given to potential patients. A quality website is clean, easy to navigate, functional, and promotes your brand’s message. The Mack Media Group specializes in web design and development for our clients, and have years of experience helping businesses and urgent cares such as our client DOCS Urgent Care.

Websites are essential to a successful digital marketing strategy for your urgent care because all other digital marketing elements direct guests to your website. Without proper SEO, the website will not appear organically at the top spots for major search engines such as Google and Bing. The website can be as aesthetically pleasing as possible, but without proper use of SEO, the urgent care may lose a lot of directed traffic. A website has the ability to collect valuable comprehensive data on who your patients are, how they find your site, and what they view while on your site. This information is invaluable when trying to understand and pinpoint your guests and can be used to market to a targeted, engaged population.

Want to Improve Your Urgent Care’s Patient Loyalty?

With the rise of urgent cares across Connecticut and the United States, utilizing digital marketing tools such as social media, Mailchimp, and SEO are all essential when looking to gain loyal patients. Don’t try to tackle it all yourself. The Mack Media Group specializes in providing their clients with high-quality digital marketing and website design services. As the number of urgent care centers continue to grow, it’s essential to stand out from the competition. Want to have loyal patients? This is how you start. Call us today at 203-778-1120.