As I was sitting in my acupuncturist’s office today it occurred to me that as a business they need to market themselves in the same fashion that a leading CPG brand or service provider. The adage of “If you build it they will come,” may have worked in the movies, but in today’s congested marketplace we have to cut through the clutter and speak to people that are likely to use our service. This of course requires us to speak with them in a language they understand.
Enter our good friend…the survey. Acupuncturists, chiropractors, massage therapists and other health professionals can learn a great deal from customer insight garnered through the consumer and B2B marketing research. First, to the best of my knowledge, all new patients (aka customers) complete at least one round of initial paperwork. This forms the foundation of our marketing database (useful for both acquisition and customer retention marketing). New patient forms typically include the date of first visit, initial complaint, family information, insurance related data and so forth. At least some of this data can be used for future marketing efforts, within the context of health information privacy standards.
Once we have a patient database compiled there are many options for developing a customer insight management program. This includes:
- Post first visit satisfaction survey
- Healthcare satisfaction survey
- Media usage
- Assessment of value propositions
When used as part of an ongoing program these surveys can be used to refine marketing messaging so that only the most salient points are being communicated; estimate the likelihood of a new patient returning and what the key drivers to that decision are; keep track of what patients are saying about the practice (e.g. wait times, quality of the office experience, etc.) and developing an understanding of how to reach prospective patients.