Patient Emotion Tied To Loyalty
It’s been reported that a staggering 81% of patients were unsatisfied with their healthcare experiences and another 7% have switched providers after just one bad encounter. All it takes is one poor experience to potentially lose a valued patient. On the contrary, what helps practices keep patients happy and loyal?
Studies show that almost 50% of patients stay loyal to a provider because they perceived their emotional needs were met. For example, emotional motivators include feeling a sense of belonging, feeling secure with your provider, and having confidence about the future.
Patients who stay loyal to a physician and their practice are twice as valuable compared to those patients who are ‘just satisfied’ with their care. It’s like any other business, it’s more cost-effective to retain a customer than to find a new one. These patients increase financial outcomes by buying more of the practice’s products, visiting more often than needed, and recommending the provider to friends, family, and others.
Support Your Patients
Healthcare ‘shopping’ is at an all-time high right now. The internet allows patients to easily comparison-shop for providers. Most medical practices allocate significant time and money to marketing materials, advertising, and prestige amenities to attract patients. What they fail to realize is that achieving patient loyalty is more about cultivating a patient experience which nurtures emotional needs.
Ensuring you meet the emotional needs of your patients could mean the difference between a loyal customer and a lost customer to the competition.
“All emotion is involuntary when genuine.”
– Mark Twain
Put It Into Practice
A simple method that providers can implement to improve patient experience would be to listen carefully. Acknowledge the patient’s emotions and listen to the tone of the patient’s voice. Validate an understanding of the patient’s feelings so that you are able to connect with them on a deeper level.
Another helpful trick would be explaining things to the patient. Break down explanations into simplified increments and allow the patient to ask questions in between those steps. This provides an opportunity to correct any misinformation during the explanation process. Little differences like these are the ones that make the biggest impact.