Tag Archives: transparency

The Empowered Customer Speaks (and you’d better be listening)

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock (and it’s okay if you have, as long as you come out…), consumers have changed. Your patients have changed. How they interact with the people, businesses, and brands in their life has changed too. And if you don’t switch gears, learn what makes them tick, and adjust your communications with them, you’ll be unable to compete.

This is not just an idle threat. It’s actually happening right now. Take JCPenny, for instance.

Today JCPenny launched a new TV ad campaign on YouTube and Facebook apologizing to their customers *(scroll down for video). They fired the CEO, brought back his predecessor, and have promised to put more promotions back in place. These are very significant changes ~ and all because the consumer outcry was deafening (translation: a 4 billion dollar loss).*

In Brian Solis’s new book, What’s the Future of Business?: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences, he discusses how to understand the new customer and create rich experiences for them so you can be proactive, rather than reactive. So you can avoid what he calls “Digital Darwinism”.  JCPenny is certainly having to be RE-active – considering their huge loss of customers and revenue. But they are being PRO-active in that at least they have started to listen, admit their mistakes (transparency), and change their business model (adapt).

How much time do you spend worrying about negative reviews, tweets, Facebook posts, or the thousands of other ways your patients can communicate to the masses online? Instead of spending your time, energy, and money in a defensive posture, or worse – burying your head in the sand hoping you won’t be the next victim, why not learn about this new connected consumer (your patient)?

The new empowered consumer “participates in their world” via technology. Brian describes them as “always on, sharing real world experiences as they happen with their friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Socialcam”.

And the coveted “word of mouth” referral source is still just as important. But think bigger. Social media allows word of mouth to be broadcast to tens, hundreds, or thousands of friends and followers, all with a swift keystroke.

So… are you creating relationships with your patients? Do you know what they really want? Do you know how they behave? Brian suggests (as do we) that you “invest in defining not only a positive experience, but also a wonderfully shareable experience.”

But you can’t create the best experience if you don’t know what they want in the first place. It would be like operating on a patient and having the consultation afterwards. It sounds absurd, but that’s truly what we’re talking about.  And JCPenny has just figured out that they should do the consult BEFORE surgery to have the best outcome. They listened, learned, engaged, and adapted.

I highly recommend you pick up Brian’s book because he does an incredible job of articulating who your new connected patient base is (he calls them “Generation C”) and how the landscape for businesses will be forever changed. As he says… #InnovateOrDie

*Click for today’s complete story in Forbes

Delete Facebook Posts at Your Own Risk…

Let’s say you are a brand… let’s say ChapStick for example… and your marketing department decides it’s time for a funny ad campaign. The top brass signs off and the campaign is posted in social media sites such as Facebook. So far – nothing too unusual. And Facebook, the heart and soul of social media, seems like the perfect place for a hip & lighthearted ad, right?

Well, not always

Check out the article from AdWeek (link below) for an example of how sometimes it’s not the creative that gets you in the most trouble, it’s how you react to your customers’ comments that could do the most damage to your brand.

ChapStick Gets Itself in a Social Media Death Spiral A brand’s silent war against its Facebook fans By Tim Nudd

Social Media “High T” Number 3 – High Touch

In social media we have what I like to call Monique’s Social Media High T’s. They are the four components of a successful social media strategy and all of your posts and campaigns should take them into consideration. Over the past few weeks we have explored Trust and Transparency.

Now we will talk about the value of HIGH TOUCH.

Touchpoints are interactions that your client has with your brand. Some examples include:

  • an in-office visit
  • a call to make an appointment
  • a reminder text message
  • an eBlast with your latest office news

Each one of these touchpoints allows your patient to connect with you, and more importantly, form an opinion about you. The opinion will either make them feel a stronger affinity towards your practice, or leave a negative impression.

Think about your practice for a moment. Depending on your specialty, you have a limited number of times that you see a patient in your office in a given year. Some might include:

  • Post-op /Follow-up Visit(s)
  • Injectable appointments
  • Before/After Photos
You may see some patients more frequently, and some you might not see at all.  Therefore, you should think about touchpoints that:
  • happen throughout the year
  • add value
  • are interesting
  • are varied (in-person, eBlast, email, telephone, text, mailer, social media)

Social media is a perfect way to accomplish every bullet on the above list. Between blog posts, Facebook updates, tweets, LinkedIn group postings, etc. you can really keep the message going all year long in variety of venues. Sometimes you will be educating your patients about a new procedure in a blog post. Or you might tweet to share an upcoming event. You might share a YouTube video of  you on the news, or showing off a new tool that you use to make the patient experience more comfortable, etc.

The point is, you can use social media channels to keep your patients in the loop in a very positive and non-threatening way. With every social touchpoint your patients will feel more connected to your practice, making them much more likely to refer you to their friends and family. And remember, with the “viral” nature of social media, they will also share your message with others (at no additional cost to you!).

Next week, we will explore the final “T” in our Social Media High T’s series… Traction! Stay tuned!

And if you found this post valuable, we’d love to have you pass it on to a friend or colleague!

 

Social Media “High T” Number Two

In social media we have what I like to call Monique’s Social Media High T’s. They are the four components of a successful social media strategy and all of your posts and campaigns should take them into consideration.

Image Source: EverydayTenacity.com

This is the second post in a series called Social Media High T’s – Read Week # 1 here

This week we’ll explore the second High T: HIGH TRANSPARENCY

We know what you may be thinking… I hear this buzzword all the time, but what do they mean by transparency?

The issue of online transparency really came about in blogging’s early days when less than honest bloggers would post rave reviews of products and services in exchange for payment or “free stuff”. Of course, it’s a little hard to keep things impartial when you have payola involved (at least in my experience). Combine this with corporate and government greed in the news, and all of a sudden, the public got wise and became much less trusting of what they read.  This culminated in a big backlash and a big emphasis on transparency and authenticity.

But as an online marketing participant, how can you incorporate the idea of transparency in your patient communications?  

I have a few ideas for you…

  1. Be Humble: No one likes a snooty, “I know more than you, therefore I’m better than you” physician. We know you went to med school and have a wealth of knowledge to share. But share it from the heart to help people, not to prove how much you know. Have someone read over any blog posts you write to make sure they feel like the “real” you (even if you didn’t write them -which in itself isn’t authentic but I’m just being realistic).
  2. Be Authentic: This comes down to being yourself… flaws and all. Give them a peek behind the scenes in your office, a typical workday, or some photos from your latest weekend hike. When you are yourself, you will actually be much more approachable to your patient base. In turn, they will feel a stronger kinship and tie to you which leads to higher patient retention (translate – loyalty) and referrals.
  3. No Hidden Agendas: Post information to help people better their lives, not pad your wallet. Don’t get me wrong, we all need to make a living, but trust me when I tell you that we consumers can see right through even the best-disguised sales pitch.
  4. Be Credible: If you make a mistake, own up to it… publicly. Let’s say you have a post on your Facebook wall from a patient who had to wait 45 minutes to see you at her last post-op appointment. The worst thing you can do is delete it (trust me on this one- the backlash to a deleted post can do more harm to your credibility than the original complaint). Instead, face it head on. Post something like this: “Our office strives to be on time for each and every appointment. Unfortunately, despite our best intentions, our schedule dosen’t always go as planned. We value our patients’ time and do our best every day to live by The Golden Rule – treating our patients the same as we would like to be treated.” 
  5. Be Influencing versus Controlling: Not every conversation online will go exactly the way you want it, but you can help steer it in the right direction. It’s okay to disagree, just do it in a humble manner. Remember – what you post on the internet is “forever” and you can’t take things back or have “do-overs”.
Feel free to give us your opinion in the comments section below! We’d love to hear your input.  Next week we”ll discuss High T number three… High Touch… so stay tuned!