“Cold calling” is a marketing tactic that’s been around for a long time and tends to get a bad rap – for a good reason; it’s not very effective. A Baylor University study found only about 1 percent of cold calls ultimately convert.
With today’s technology, outbound initiatives look much different – they are data-enabled, targeted, and personalized, all of which increases effectiveness and drives results.
This type of outbound calling doesn’t simply cast a wide net; it’s about engaging with the right person at the right time with the right information.
It’s made possible with a combination of healthcare CRM and a proactive call center. With these technologies, healthcare marketers are able to view relevant information and have more effective customer interactions across multiple channels, including outbound calls.
Let’s take a look at some examples of how engagement center and healthcare CRM tools can work together to support three key marketing objectives: patient acquisition, engagement, and retention.
Say a hospital is running a multi-channel marketing campaign for their bariatric surgery department. The campaign includes some television and radio ads, as well as informational materials on the hospital website. A prospective customer sees a television ad and is compelled to check out the website. Once there, he fills out a form with basic contact information in order to download some of the campaign’s digital content.
This initial bit of data is the start of the hospital’s customer profile in the CRM – and signals the start of their relationship.
As a result of the customer’s download, his contact information is added to an outbound calling queue for agents at the CRM-enabled engagement center. The customer, while his website visit is still fresh in his mind, receives a phone call from a call center agent asking if she can provide more information on bariatrics or schedule a consultation. While the customer is on the phone, the agent is able to ask for more information about the caller, which is added to the CRM to create a more robust caller profile.
The prospective patient is impressed with the customer service provided and opts to schedule appointment consultation with one of the hospital’s specialists.
This is just one example of the beginning of a patient journey and the integral role marketing technology plays in modern-day patient acquisition. Marketing teams can also employ a marketing automation tool to nurture potential patients. For instance, some customers may not be ready to make an appointment at the first phone call. Automated emails containing information about bariatric surgery, hospital’s expertise and success stories keep the issue top of mind.
After the bariatric campaign has been running for a period of time, engagement center agents can create an audience segment targeting prospective clients who have opened the follow-up email. This way, agents are reaching out to potential customers who have already shown interest in the service and are more likely to convert.
Consistent and personalized customer experiences are among the hallmarks of patient engagement. Delivering an experience that builds a relationship, not just a series of unconnected interactions, increases patient loyalty. With a centralized CRM, each customer interaction can be recorded in their customer profile to create a 360-degree view of the patient.
Using this robust data in a centralized hub, call center agents can have more personalized interaction with patients using their preferred communication channel. They can quickly respond to common requests (such as physician referrals or class registrations) and initiate follow-up communications across multiple channels.
One of the ways hospitals are increasing patient engagement is with post-encounter follow-up calls. These calls, typically made by a nurse, review discharge instructions and ongoing care. This type of personalization from providers is what genuinely matters to healthcare consumers, according to a Deloitte study. It can also lower cases of re-admittance, improve transition care management, and provide an additional revenue stream.
Proactive care is another important piece of the healthcare marketing puzzle. It not only provides incremental revenue to the healthcare system, but also lowers healthcare costs in the long run by reducing the risk of chronic disease and instances of acute care. Unfortunately, life can get in the way of proactive healthcare. Patients simply forget to schedule annual physicals, bypass routine care related to a chronic condition, or skip their annual flu shots.
The good news is that an HCRM and engagement center can work together to support proactive care initiatives. How? For example, patients overdue for annual physicals can be segmented and placed in an outbound call center queue. Agents can then reach out to the patient and ask if they’d like to schedule their annual physical.
Once engaged on the phone, agents use their customer profile to identify any other potential ways to engage the patient, such as an upcoming flu shot clinic in their area. A similar process could be implemented to follow up on outstanding physician referrals or missed appointments. A friendly phone call about routine care shows the patient that the healthcare system is not only invested in their well-being, but also striving to add efficiency to their processes.
Outbound calling initiatives informed by data and enabled by technology could be the missing piece in your marketing campaigns. By leveraging engagement center and HCRM, health systems are able to more effectively target and engage patients. More importantly, all of these elements impact the bottom line. Health systems with more engaged patients see higher patient satisfaction numbers and other important benefits such as higher acquisition and retention rates and increased revenue.