I learned something new at a recent meeting of elder care marketers and healthcare professionals. Mary Tellis-Nayak shared fascinating research on how patients and clients communicate with healthcare providers.
Mary has a long list of credentials. VP of Quality Initiatives for NCR Health, Master Of Science in Nursing, Master in Public Health. Plus, she’s an RN. Mary is certainly a wealth of information.
But for the most part, her statistics speak for themselves. Her study shows just how tech savvy seniors and their adult children have gotten. They use the internet to make health care decisions.
This phenomenon is something I’ve written about at length. It’s great to find solid research that backs up what I’ve been saying all along.
Mary’s studies found:
- 87% of Americans use the internet regularly
- 39% of those users have visited WebMD.com
- 22% have visited a local provider website
- 35% of consumers are likely or very likely to prefer a healthcare provider after visiting their website
When asked which form of social media they use to obtain health information, respondents’ answers were surprising: a whopping 81% use Facebook 41% use YouTube and 24% use Twitter. Plus, 55% trust or highly trust info received from providers via social media sites.
Seniors are just as glued to their cell phones as everyone else. But we don’t need research to tell us that. I recently had lunch with a retired 80-year old colleague. She checked her texts throughout our lunch. If that’s not proof enough, check out the picture at the top of this page.
Seniors’ trust in web-based info will only keep growing. People make real decisions about their healthcare every day, based on what they read online. We’re no longer on the verge of a digital age. We’re in one.
That said, long-term care providers still lag behind in forming digital relationships with consumers. For starters, customer complaints are often not handled properly. Complaints are an opportunity in disguise. When a customer complains, it means they care. They’re giving you a chance to fix the problem.
According to Tellis-Nayak’s study, a customer who complains and has their situation remedied comes away from that experience with more loyalty than someone who didn’t have a problem in the first place.
That’s because a friendly 90-second interaction to resolve a complaint is an opportunity for the provider to be friendly, solve problems, and create an emotional bond.
Of course, what often winds up happening is that unhappy customers won’t bother complaining. Instead, they’ll quietly take their business elsewhere. Or worse, they vent their frustrations on the internet. Those comments are hard to erase.
But here’s good news: the same technology that makes those nasty comments possible can be used to prevent them from happening.
Here’s how: use technology to make 2017 the year of listening. Conduct satisfaction surveys. Get actionable reports. Use the results to improve your level of service. Make it easy for clients and their families to express concerns. Launch a digital marketing plan that boosts communication, connection, and loyalty.
Not sure where to begin? Contact us. We’ll be happy to get you up and running.