National Headlines

B. Walker | What Drives Patient Loyalty in Healthcare?

By Brent Walker on Wed, Jul 18, 2018

Asked about Apple’s interest in healthcare during an interview with Fortune, CEO Tim Cook was clear: “We’re extremely interested in this area. And yes, it is a business opportunity. If you look at it, medical health activity is the largest or second-largest component of the economy, depending on which country in the world you’re dealing with.” He concluded by saying, “I do think it’s a big area for Apple’s future.”

Does that make you nervous? With consumer loyalty leaders like Apple, Amazon and Google announcing forays into the healthcare space, organizations from hospital systems to primary care practices are under pressure to step up their game when it comes to patient loyalty in healthcare.

After all, these tech giants have a leg up in terms of existing loyalty, plus some serious advantages when it comes to digital engagement, customer experiences, and leveraging consumer data—three arenas where healthcare struggles to keep up.

If you want to avoid direct competition with future innovators in healthcare, however, using psychographic segmentation to understand what motivates different patients can help.

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Gain more insight into patients with psychographic segmentation

Today, healthcare organizations face an uphill battle. According to a Prophet | GE Healthcare report, “An alarming 81% of consumers are unsatisfied with their healthcare experience, and the happiest consumers are those who interact with the system the least.”

You might wonder, “If they aren’t happy, why haven’t they already left?” An Accenture study may have found the answer: 40 percent of healthcare consumers say that switching providers is a hassle. But do you want that to be the reason patients stick with you? Probably not, especially when healthcare faces disruption from innovators and consumer experience front-runners from other industries.

Where does psychographic segmentation fit in? Segmentation based on demographics or diagnosis can only take you so far because people approach healthcare differently. Psychographic segmentation, by contrast, classifies patients based on their attitudes about health and wellness, their motivations and priorities, and their communication preferences.

Using these insights into what makes patients tick enables healthcare providers to customize how they communicate with individuals and drive engagement and loyalty. Take the c2b Psychographic Segmentation model, which divides healthcare consumers into five distinct types:

  • Proactive, goal-oriented Self Achievers
  • Proactive, independent Balance Seekers
  • Busy, family-focused Priority Jugglers
  • Traditional healthcare-oriented Direction Takers
  • Live-in-the-moment Willful Endurers

The communications, services and experiences that will drive loyalty with a Self Achiever are likely to fall flat with a Willful Endurer. Likewise, a Balance Seeker that wants to understand options and looks beyond a physician for healthcare information is likely to reject a prescriptive approach that would satisfy a Direction Taker.

Two ways to improve patient loyalty in healthcare

Just as the retail and hospitality industries have optimized consumer engagement, healthcare providers need to focus on delivering seamless, personalized experiences to drive patient satisfaction and brand loyalty.



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