In hospital marketing, we talk a lot about strategies and objectives, different media vehicles, public relations, physician relations, administrators, budgets and budget cuts.
All things Brian Parsley, the final speaker at this year’s CHPRMS fall conference, didn’t touch. His topic was us. The marketers. The coordinators. The PR specialists. The VP’s. The people behind the positions.
Brian is part entrepreneur, stand-up comic, dot com survivor and one time chicken-cutter-upper. His message ranged widely, but touched on a handful of points that we, as people and as healthcare marketers, should embrace to achieve greater success.
People have choices.
People choose where they spend their money (or co-pay). Businesses have to care about acquisition and retention. One tweet I saw earlier this week by Eric Brody contrasted a morning doctor’s office experience with an afternoon visit to a Trader Joes. The difference? He blogged that he felt appreciated at Trader Joes; the exact opposite of how he felt earlier in the day at the doctor’s office. The ultimate question today is not how satisfied patients and customers are, but would they recommend us to someone they cared about?
It’s not about selling services and products.
It’s 100% about serving others. The more you serve the more you win. Brian talked about the honeymoon phase of a relationship and what makes it so good. It’s not the newness; it’s the willingness to reciprocate. Loving customers is something more and more brands are becoming known for: Zappos, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Southwest Airlines, and, more locally, Chick-fil-a. Their philosophies are customer-centered and strive to provide the best experience possible.
Brands are managed, not owned.
Brands are no longer limited to ads and buildings or stores; they’re everywhere. They are things, people, even feelings. Brands are written into e-mails, websites, collateral and social media. They are verbalized in voicemail messages and answering systems. There are even visual brands: how we carry ourselves, how connected we are to our live and work communities. Our personal brands are our reputations. Our personnel are a brand’s reputation.
Take care of customers; they take care of you.
Patients tell other patients. Moms talk to other moms. Word of mouth marketing is a very powerful marketing tool. Brian shared the experience of a physician practice that implemented a “patient first” policy where patients are given exceedingly good service from the front desk all the way to checkout and beyond. The whole practice was rewired for customer service. Not surprisingly, their referrals went through the roof. Make it easier for people to do business with you.
Build your value.
Know and live your values. Look at your willingness to serve other people. Don’t rely on excuses. Get better at social intelligence. Know you can always bounce back. Learn to love criticism and learn from it.
Not sure if this is verifiable, but it sure feels right: 80% of all yeses happen between the 5th and the 22nd contact.
However you communicate and whatever you communicate, you’re sharing a story. Many times, stories are retold, while facts are forgotten. Stories entertain in rich detail and create a vicarious experience.
It was an inspiring hour and a great way to close CHPRMS where so much of the conference centers on “talking shop.”
As Brian spoke, I found it very easy to think about what he was saying in the context of both my work life and personal life. We hear a lot these days about how brands need to interact with their customers. But it’s not just interaction we crave, there needs to be meaning, too.
Do we really want more from brands? Or do we want more from ourselves? It’s worth thinking about.