Let’s Learn From Retail: Strategies for Healthcare to Heighten Customer Experience

Ellie Whims
Ellie Whims

Over the last two decades of rapid technological development and market evolution, a lot has changed in the healthcare industry. Engaged patient numbers have increased and so has the technological variety of ways to pursue one’s health. Healthcare facilities and brands looking to remain relevant and competitive are thinking about how to update practices, outreach, and customer care in an intensely digital and customer-centric new world. When your goal focuses on patients as customers, no role model is better than the retail industry for proven practices. What can the healthcare industry learn from retail in terms of customer experience?

1. Patients Have Choices—Become Their First Choice in Healthcare

Let’s face it, the healthcare industry has always been slow to adapt to new technology and customer experience trends. The medical industry naturally goes slow and steady to ensure every practice is proven safe for patients, but there has also been stagnation due to lack of competition. Patient engagement methods didn’t need to improve because healthcare used to be non-expansive. Patients had limited options and all healthcare offices included long waits and less-than-engaging experiences.

But now, the market has expanded with retail health options and telehealth. This allows patients to become picker with providers, and providers who say “this is what we offer” without attempting patient engagement will be left in the dust. Now, healthcare brands should be trying to engage with patients and constantly assess how to improve the patient experience to remain competitive.

2. Encourage Patient Engagement with Rewards Programs and Tech Accessibility

Retail teaches us that consumer engagement is. best achieved by getting with the times and trends. Today, it’s all about the tech. Patients want website portals and engaging mobile apps to help them book appointments, get information, and provide feedback. Healthcare can also gain an incredible amount of interactive health data from patients through devices, which have doubled in use since 2013.

Wearable devices are powerful engagement tools and can be used both casually and to promote patients to pursue their personal health and treatment plans. Devices range from activity trackers to vital sign and exercise trackers. Thus, allowing remote checkups and notifying doctors of patients in a critical state. Healthcare providers can gain invaluable patient data and build engagement through mobile and web apps.

3. Collect Data to Improve Customer Experience

Retail brands are notorious for collecting every available scrap of dat from a customer, getting insights through advanced data analysis to predict consumer behavior and hone their offerings for better results. Amazon, in particular, has used this data to build comprehensive buyer personas that help inform its intuitive service to customers. Their use of data heightens customer satisfaction with quick, helpful searches and product suggestions.

Some innovative healthcare locations are already putting data collection and analysis strategies to use. The Cleveland Clinic recently turned a disappointing patient satisfaction survey into an ever-improving patient experience with clear goals and objectives for constant satisfaction improvement.

4. Introducing the Chief Experience Officer (CXO ) to Your C-Suite

Of course, with such a big change in healthcare functions and features, it only makes sense to expand your administration to cover the new tasks and initiatives. With the increasing shift in focus to patient experience, many healthcare providers are bringing on a new C-suite member, the Chief Experience Officer (CXO), whose job it is to assist with long-term patient satisfaction services. The CXO oversees essential components that contribute to your healthcare brand’s overall reputation regarding patients. They strategize for experience, service quality, facility safety, and constantly improving performance in these areas.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has motivated healthcare organization to add the position by linking Medicare reimbursements to the patient experience, thus making the position of CXO critical to the income and success of healthcare facilities everywhere.

Find More Strategies for Healthcare to Heighten Customer Experience

So what can healthcare learn from the retail industry in promoting patient satisfaction and engagement? Quite a bit, as it turns out. It’s time for healthcare to jump into online, mobile, and digital-interactive engagement strategies. It’s time to start listening to patients and analyzing the data to improve the patient experience. Whether your goal is to remain competitive or to provide a higher quality of care, using data like retail with an ongoing plan is the future of healthcare.