Do you stand out from the crowd?

Effective communication is essential in healthcare because it significantly impacts patient satisfaction, understanding and outcomes. Neil Davies discusses what patients are looking for from private healthcare.

Finding ways to stand out over your competitors has never been more important than it is now.  

Longer NHS waiting times mean more patients are looking for a private doctor. One-in-eight Britons used private healthcare in the last 12 months, with a further quarter considering it.

Speed gives you an edge

Regardless of the method potential patients use to reach out to your business, a swift response can dramatically improve outcomes. 

According to a recent YouGov investigation, the main advantage of private healthcare for patients is speed, with over half saying the top reason they went private was to be seen quicker (53%).

The same logic applies when patients are getting in contact with private practices. If you don’t reply quickly, patients will look for someone who does. 

At my company, Cymphony, we offer a lead response service that guarantees a response time of under five minutes. 

Research shows that sub-five minutes is the optimum response time to capitalise on inbound leads. 

And, yet, the average business takes 47 hours. 

It’s little wonder that doctors and patients alike feel frustrated. This isn’t guesswork anymore; a solid communication strategy leads to more appointment bookings and reduces no-show rates. The tangible impact results in growth as well as an increase in revenue, profitability and satisfaction.

 

Crafting a positive and authentic online presence

Your online presence as a private practice is your digital shop window. 

Potential patients will be quick to cast judgement based on your online output. Social media channels and online reviews play a huge role in attracting new business and maintaining a strong reputation. 

Social media outputs need to be tailored to your audience; the most common age range for someone having a private medical procedure last year was 55 to 59.

It’s essential to understand the preferences and browsing habits of your primary demographic to ensure your marketing efforts resonate with them.

In the age of online transparency, fostering genuine, positive feedback is paramount. A recent BBC article shed light on the pitfalls of fake reviews, revealing that several clinics faced a backlash for purchasing such endorsements. 

It’s crucial to implement reliable feedback systems that consistently gather authentic reviews. Post-procedure engagement, such as seeking patient feedback, not only conveys that you value their input but also provides actionable insights for continuous improvement.

Data-driven decisions

A potential patient’s decision to choose one private practice over another often hinges on its relevance to current medical trends and its overall preparedness to offer the most sought-after treatments.

By diligently researching and analysing available data, practices can anticipate and respond to emerging demands in healthcare. 

For instance, data from the PHIN website reveals that between Q3 2019 and Q3 2022, there was a significant rise in hip (+73%) and knee replacements (+58%). 

A private practice that keeps abreast of such trends can better prepare in terms of medical expertise, equipment and other necessary resources, positioning themselves as industry leaders. 

Moreover, these insights not only enhance the private practice’s operational strategies but also its marketing campaigns, ensuring they’re reaching out to potential patients with the most relevant information. 

Therefore, a well-informed practice, backed by data-driven insights like those from the PHIN website, becomes a more appealing choice for patients. They can trust that such a practice isn’t merely adapting to medical advancements but is actively shaping its future.

Seamless interactions

Alongside the speed of your communication, its accessibility is equally vital. If potential customers face obstacles in booking an appointment or reaching a representative, they are likely to turn to alternatives. 

Today’s customers have diverse communication preferences, including Live Chat, social media, websites and phone calls.

In 2024, it’s essential for practices to offer multiple interaction channels, extending beyond conventional 9-5 working hours. 

Leveraging tools like Live Chat can ensure round-the-clock availability for appointment scheduling. This not only increases customer satisfaction but gives you an edge over your rivals as well.  

You don’t have to break the bank to differentiate yourself from your competitors, but it’s important you show the difference.

Neil Davies (right) is managing director of communications specialist Cymphony