Transform Patients Into Your Brand Ambassadors!
It is a well-established fact the best marketing and promotion for a doctor is done by their satisfied patients! Nothing is more powerful than a testimonial provided by a patient. Every patient empathises with a fellow sufferer and endorsement by one carries a lot of weight and is usually a tipping point for making a decision.
In this blog I attempt to shed some light on this critical and important message for all healthcare providers- hospitals and doctors!
Why would you want to build patient ambassadors?
There are 4 compelling reasons for any healthcare providers to seriously look at creating brand ambassadors:
It is powerful
Endorsement by a fellow sufferer is most powerful. There is no perceived vested interest and patients love to hear from other fellow sufferers about their problems and solutions. If you sit in the waiting halls of hospitals and clinics in India you will find that complete strangers are busy discussing details of their ailments, treatments and doctors all the time!
It is cost effective
It does not require tons of money to build Brand ambassadors. Advertisements, and pamphlets and other ATL/BTL activities are money guzzlers. This powerful method is almost without cost.
It is long term
While most Advertisement and Promotional channels have a life which is usually very short a patient ambassador is lifelong. A satisfied patient will continue to sing paeans about you for the rest of their life.
It is fulfilling for both
What could be more fulfilling for the doctor and the patient? Deep satisfaction from a job well done is most rewarding
How to make Patients- Ambassadors?
There is only one underlying principle to accomplish this:
“Develop deep meaningful relationships”
Doctors and healthcare providers can accomplish this by 4 methods:
The relationship needs to provide value to the patient. The best values are:
- You care
- You listen
- You respond
- They are safe in your hands
A successful programme should be designed in such a manner that it is pertinent for the patient. I have seen meaningless communications being sent to patients by Customer care teams of hospitals announcing discounts etc. which have no relevance for the patient. A knee replacement patient getting a discounted cardiac package is not just meaningless but irritating. The patient feels that you are totally oblivious to their ailment and their requirement. It would have been better not to have sent such a message!
A great programme would ensure some level of personalisation and customisation. It should be relevant to the patient, their disease and its requirements. Most patients suffer form Chronic Life style related disorders that need a comprehensive management approach. They require education, alerts, reminders to improve their compliance and thereby their health.
The programme cannot be sporadic or once in a while! One off episodes may be of help but a great programme would be regular and sustained.
What are the road blocks that prevent execution of such programmes?
There are three major road blocks that prevent the formation and execution of successful programmes to build patient ambassadors. They are:
Lack of time
Doctors have paucity of time and successful ones have loads of patients. They are reluctant to invest their time into activities that they perceive are non-clinical or non-value adding! Education of doctors on the importance of building patient ambassadors would go a long way in ensuring their buy in.
Lack of education and knowhow
Most doctors have little idea on how to go about doing this. Sadly most of them have learnt the art of practicing medicine from their seniors who themselves had no clue on how to do this. There is also lot of resistance and reluctance by doctors to change or develop new thinking and ideas. They mistakenly believe that they are the best and most knowledgeable about their practices!
Individual doctors have limited resources to invest in these programmes. Even though they may have the financials they lack the band width to manage!
So, then what is the solution?
To my mind the only solution is to use technology-based services. Why?
They increase your bandwidth- better utilisation of time , money and resources to reach a wider audience.
They are extremely cost effective.
How to choose the right programme and solution?
The right programme, solution or service should have the following key elements:
- It should be personalised and customised.
- It should have a clinical basis
- It should be comprehensive- take into account all requirements of the patient including multiple specialities, diet, psychology support etc.
- It should have depth and be able to provide clinical information so as to detect complications and mange health effectively!
Every doctor and hospital leader are well aware of the fact satisfied patients are their best marketing solution. It is time they actively started looking at effecting this in their plans.
For details of some solutions I am contactable on: