Despite the important conversations we’re all having about our changing healthcare landscape, one thing remains constant: old-school customer service still reigns.
Having overseen a busy call center in a large academic medical center for many years, I know those over-the-phone touch points are among the biggest moments of opportunity to build lifetime customers. In fact, a call between a patient or consumer and a member of your staff is more than a touch point – it’s a brand moment, and it is often the customer’s first experience with your brand. Its potential to build relationships—or impair them, depending on how things are handled—should not be underestimated.
1. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression, so empower your call center staff to be brand ambassadors. Customers will change brands due to poor customer service, even if the product is good. Great marketing and advertising can make the phone ring, but what happens next will make or break the brand perception. A great customer experience at these moments of impact can build a customer for life.
2. Your call center is a point of brand differentiation, so bypass automation and actually answer the phone. Think about how frustrating it is when you call a company and have to talk to an automated voice, work your way through a call tree, or worse yet, stay on indefinite hold. In today’s world of high-tech, robotic, automated phone systems and online experiences, a friendly, knowledgeable voice makes all the difference for your customers.
3. Control how you deliver on your brand promise. Define your promise and ensure it is delivered at every interaction. People used to ask me why we did not outsource our call center. Outsourcing would have been less expensive, required less management time and taken less real estate. I always asked them back – do you want to have control of your brand and how it is delivered? Define how your brand is delivered by optimizing human interaction.
4. Five dedicated minutes with your customer – priceless. Utilize those precious few uninterrupted minutes to build a customer relationship. With the overload of marketing messages presented to customers every day, a few minutes on the phone is time to build a relationship. I like how Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh says Zappos builds its personal connections with customers primarily on the phone: “We’re actually experimenting with ways to get more people to call because it’s such a valuable marketing and brand builder for us.”
What do all these lessons have in common? An understanding that healthcare is for humans, not machines or robots. Invest in the people who are your brand.4 Reasons to Invest in Human Interaction as a Healthcare Marketing & Branding Strategy. Click To Tweet
About the Author
Julie Amor, President and Chief Strategy Officer for Dobies Healthcare, has more than 20 years of experience elevating healthcare brands. Share your thoughts with her by tweeting @DobiesGroup, connecting with us on LinkedIn, or by commenting on our Facebook page.