Have you ever gotten an obviously mass-produced form-letter telling you how unique and special you are? Do you believe these messages? Probably not. I can tolerate (but just barely) this approach from companies selling cable TV, siding, windows or insurance. The companies won’t earn my attention or gain my trust.
Healthcare relationships are highly personal. If you want to build trust and loyalty, all messages should reflect that sacred relationship. Unfortunately, healthcare organizations send daily messages that are strictly task-driven without regard for the relationship. These communications can include everything from appointment reminders and pre-op instructions, to bills and test results. I would venture to guess that there are probably millions of these messages going out daily. Millions of missed opportunities.
Yesterday I got an appointment reminder for a procedure that provided a great example of a missed opportunity. Here’s the little welcoming love note I received:
Person Appointment Itinerary
Baird, Kristin 04/09/18 8:00 AM <procedure> <medical record number>
Arrive 15 minutes prior to appointment. Bring current insurance information and any applicable copays due.
You may be asked to reschedule if you arrive past your scheduled time.
Come with the ability to give a urine specimen.
Did it get the job done? Yes, if you only want to ensure I show up on time with my credit card and a full bladder. What did the provider miss? Any indication that they know me, care about me, and value our relationship. The message was strictly transactional and not personal.
Marketing departments can spend millions of dollars on branding strategy, advertising and communication. The messages are carefully crafted to build image and manage the organization’s reputation. When lab, registration and the business office send out misaligned messages, the hard work of marketing departments unravels.
Your patient experience is NOT just what occurs within the four walls of your hospitals and medical practices. It includes all the messages that touch your patients. Look at how various departments communicate. Do all your written messages align with the brand? Do they support the type of patient experience you want to foster?