The growth of the internet and social media channels has been described as a disruptor for many industries and healthcare is no exception. It’s no secret that the way patients access and evaluate healthcare information has changed significantly in the past decade. Today’s patients increasingly turn to the internet to investigate before turning to a medical professional to treat their aches and pains.
This trend is true for consumers of all ages. Leading market researcher Accenture reports that “nearly every health consumer today is a digital health consumer.” From millennials to “silver surfers,” consumers are turning to multiple online channels to research and select healthcare services. As consumers become more sophisticated in their use of the internet, they expect their healthcare providers to do the same. Daniel Newman, writing for Forbes, tells us that “every touchpoint matters.” Service providers should be continually seeking methods to remove the friction from customer transactions.
Savvy business owners are responding to consumer demand by providing their patients and potential patients with a full range of digital tools. From initial information gathering to booking an appointment and making payments--consumers and health providers are interacting online. Using digital technology, you can be present for every step of your customer’s digital journey.
Meeting Your Customer Online for Each Stage of the Consumer Journey
So what does this modern healthcare consumer journey look like for massage therapy practices? Much like a traditional consumer journey, digital consumers pass through the stages of awareness, consideration, conversion, and evaluation. Here are some ways that you can approach your clients at each step of the purchasing cycle.
Awareness: Use social media to help raise awareness of the benefits of your service.
Just as with the traditional customer journey, the search for a healthcare provider begins with the discovery or recognition of a need. Most clients will become aware of their need for massage therapy either through the recommendation of another healthcare provider, a friend or advisor, or the media.
You can help raise consumer awareness about your business by using your website’s blog and your social media accounts. Share information about the benefits of massage therapy, self-care tips, and events in your local community.
To target your local client base on social media, use hashtags related to your community and geographic location.
Pair this social media strategy with in-person community involvement for added impact. If you’ve not created a website yet, ClinicSense can help. Our sales and marketing tools will make it easy for you to send clients reminders and updates, too.
Consideration: Provide potential clients with all the information they need to choose you.
Some of your clients may choose to seek you out for personal reasons and others because of a specific medical need. Regardless of why they are seeking a massage therapist, most of your potential customers will be looking for that therapist online.
Your website is also the best place to communicate your unique value proposition. Tell visitors to your site exactly what you have to offer.
Being found online requires a quality website that is optimized for search engines (SEO). Include content that explains each of the services you offer and answers the most common questions clients and potential clients ask. Because most consumers will be looking for a massage therapist nearby, local SEO is essential. Make sure your website includes your location and a map that makes it easy for people to find you.
Conversion: Make it as easy as possible for a customer to act on their choice.
Once a potential client has visited your website and taken an interest, you don’t want to lose that momentum. In a 2014 report, Accenture wrote that digital self-scheduling is “set to explode in healthcare over the next five years. The report also indicates that this trend is being driven by consumer demand.
Your clients want to be able to book an appointment without having to pick up the phone.
Online appointment scheduling and intake allows your patients to set and change appointments easily and conveniently. Most importantly, you can book new clients and appointments at any time--day or night. This feature puts digitally smart business owners ahead of the pack when compared to offices that still require a phone call during office hours.
Evaluation: Keep clients coming back to great customer service online and off.
Personal services such as massage therapy depend on the creation of a good rapport between therapist and patient. ClinicSense’s digital tools such as online intake and payment systems can help you ensure that your client’s experience with your brand is a pleasant one. You can also utilize emails to thank your customers, offer discounts, and remind them of future appointments.
Of course, even the best customer service doesn’t please everyone. Monitoring your online reputation is important to the success of your business.
Today’s consumers often provide feedback or register complaints via social media. So stay tuned in to each of your social media accounts and be prepared to address any comments whether good or bad. Also, keep a close eye on your reviews on the major review sites such as Yelp and Google. It’s a good idea to plan your response to negative feedback in advance. Creating a crisis plan with details on how your team will respond if something harmful to your business is posted online will enable you to act quickly and consistently to protect your online reputation.
The Right Digital Tools for Today’s Digital Savvy Consumer
ClinicSense was designed to help you serve your customers as efficiently and effectively as possible. By placing a full array of massage therapy management tools at your fingertips, we help you serve the needs of your clients online and off. If you’d like more information about how our toolset can help your business, just sign up for our free trial or give us a call. We’re happy to help.