The digital transformation has altered the foundations of the sales and marketing process throughout all industries. Healthcare is feeling this shift too. In fact, 93 percent of healthcare and pharma companies say their top strategic priority is the customer experience, and 22 percent feel that "optimizing the customer experience" is the most exciting opportunity.
Why? As consumerism takes over healthcare, patients are conducting their own research and comparing prices before making purchasing decisions. Medical companies must adapt their practices if they want to draw in new customers, retain existing ones and maintain a steady cash flow.
Moving forward, a compelling customer experience will position certain healthcare companies with the primary competitive advantage. One study found that by next year, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. This means companies must optimize the customer journey, throughout the full funnel. From acquisition and onboarding all the way through engagement, retention and advocacy, consumers are making decisions based on positive experiences. How can you optimize your customer journey and full funnel? Consider these tips.
Understand Your Customer's Journey
In order to innovate and optimize your funnel strategy, you must understand your customer's journey. Start by creating a customer journey map, and use it as a guide. You may have more than one. Some consumers may start their journey because they are seeking a solution to a problem, such as an acute condition or chronic disease. Others may not have a specific problem, but they are taking a holistic approach to their wellness journey.
Create a map and develop strategies to engage customers from the start of these journeys. Here are three benefits of having a customer journey map.
Developing a map allows you to identify gaps in the customer experience. From there, you can implement programs and processes to engage the customer and fill those gaps.
Identify unproductive processes
Customer journey mapping also helps to identify what things are not adding value to the customer experience. It might be a piece of technology or manual employee processes. Removing those inefficiencies and focusing on what is adding value, improves the customer experience.
Puts everyone on the same page
Mapping is a "silo-busting" activity. It helps you align the most capable people with solving customers' problems. It encourages cross-functional collaboration, a key factor in optimizing the customer experience.
Go Full Funnel
Full funnel means your brand meets the consumer at all touchpoints throughout the sales funnel. Healthcare marketers realize the urgency of going full funnel. In fact, 74 percent of respondents in one survey said "optimising the journey across multiple touch points" is one of the most important priorities for medical care over the next year. However, just how do you accomplish optimizing the full funnel? Consider these three critical points.
1. Provide a Personal Experience
Regardless of where the customer is in the funnel, their experience should be hyper relevant and tailored to them. Consumers are used to managing their lives from the palm of their hands. They are demanding transparency and they want choices.
To meet this demand, healthcare organizations must provide platforms that allow for individual customization and personal health management. These personal health "ecosystems" help patients monitor their health, manage benefits and make payments. This scenario requires an IT platform that allows data to flow securely between different technologies. According to McKinsey, it's likely to be available within the next five to 10 years. However, there are technologies available now.
For example, invest in an effective Customer Management Tool to track customer behaviors. Launch a user portal that goes beyond generic navigation. Design it with personalized options that are based on the user's actions, behaviors, appointments or medical conditions. Research firm Forrester found that 60 percent of millennials and 52 percent of other age groups want more personalisation from their healthcare companies. Give patients what they want.
2. Be compatible with multiple devices and channels
Your funnel can begin in a variety of ways, including paid and organic search, SEO, social media and referrals. Consumers are looking for meaningful ways to interact with your brand via all these channels, and they want their experience to be consistent across all those channels. It is importanttocreate a consistent and individualized customer experience that is seamless across the relevant touchpoints along the customer journey. Use centralized content authoring to create cross-device engagement.
For example, many companies have launched their own mobile app. However, their app is not linked with other existing solutions. So, when consumers switch devices they are not seeing a consistent interface, and they cannot access their information across platforms. Today's consumer expects everything to look and work the same, whether they are on their phone, tablet or desktop.
3. Leverage Data
Data gives you great insight into consumer behavior, but it is also an effective way to add value past the conversion stage. For example, a unified digital platform would allow providers access to the data generated by wearable technology. Importing and analyzing data can create segments of patients, communicate actions they need to take and trigger an intervention from the provider. For example, read about how Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin used remote monitoring to improve medical care management for patients with congestive heart failure.
Technology: The Catalyst of Change
A quick look at digital predictions for 2019 will reveal that the landscape is changing fast. From the Internet of Things to voice search, from artificial intelligence to machine learning, trends continue to emerge. The customer journey and experience will undoubtedly evolve. That means what trends worked last year may not work this year.
Businesses need to set up the right foundations for engaging with consumers from the top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel. Having an effective digital strategy is critical to your company's digital transformation. Today, there are a variety of digital tools to help businesses achieve that.
For more suggestions, see our recent post on the Top 5 Digital Transformation Challenges in Today’s Healthcare or subscribe to our newsletter below, to receive more articles like this directly in your inbox.