Sunday, September 23, 2018

Do Your Employees Like Your Patients or Customers?

I may seem like I am asking a silly question, but truth be told, beyond the customer or patient satisfaction numbers, chances are, your employees may not like your customers or patients all that much.  I am not saying that your employees are treating customers and patients with open disdain or contempt. They may be exhibiting behaviors and using language in internal meetings that demonstrate a lack of respect in a “we know better than you attitude.”  

Really?  

The lack of employee concern and caring, communicated verbally and non-verbally in the workplace, with average to mediocre employee satisfaction surveys, may be a pretty good indication that leadership behavior is sending a powerful unspoken message.

When little differentiation exists (a service, is a service, is a service) to tell vendors, hospitals, doctors, and other providers apart, employees are liking their customers, can set you apart from your competition. And with little opportunity existing now, and in the future, to differentiate yourself in your competitive healthcare vertical, success and growth beyond a simplistic single strategy of the acquisition will only come when attitudes towards prospects and customer's change.

Besides, employees in the office and the field are your front-line brand ambassadors. The visual and emotional representation of your brand.  And if they behind closed doors speak with contempt and disdain, then what does that say about your brand, your leadership, and strategy?

Leadership and employees are the best brand ambassadors that exist. They can do more to create customer evangelists than you may even imagine. But, if internal attitudes and actions are arrogant, condescending, and pejorative, then growth just got a lot harder. And marketing with all the creativity and tactics in the world, can’t fix that.

Can't have one without the other. 

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist, and thought-leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters is read in  52 countries and listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs, and Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing & social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, call Michael at 815-351-0671. Opinions expressed are my own.


For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join his group, Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

"Hey Alexa, I Don’t Feel Well. Find A Physician Near Me." Hospital Marketer, Is Your Website Optimized for Voice Search?

How does this grab you? Thirty-eight percent of all internet searches are now by voice using a digital assistant like Siri, Alexa, Echo, and others on a smartphone or home voice internet connected device. Additionally, most voices activated searches are using the term “near me” sometimes combined with the term “near me today.” 

Putting it another way, will the healthcare consumer and potential patient voice searching for a physician, find the hospital via your “Find-A-Physician” portal on your website?

I ask the question about finding a physician because I don’t think people are going to voice-search the hospital, except maybe to get directions. And the other reason is that no matter the payment system, the hospital still needs a physician’s order for any diagnostic testing or treatment.

What to do?

Now that I have your attention and it very well could be an OMG moment, with now I have something else to worry about, optimizing the hospital or health system website is possible in short order. The following seven steps should enable you to start optimizing for voice searches. 

1.       Ditch the old fashion search keywords like hospital Plainfield or Cardiovascular Service Line. Nobody talks like that conversationally. Searches are in the natural language of the person. 

2.       Move to long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords generally run from three to five words. Long-tail keywords are important due to the preference of digital assistants to use natural language for processing requests. If you use a digital assistant for shopping, think about how you speak to Siri or Alex for example, you speak conversationally and naturally to the devices whether you realize it or not. 

3.       Exploit the power of near me searches. Voice searches are local. All healthcare is local. That’s the connection for you. The healthcare consumer isn’t looking for an exotic specialty; they are searching "near me" for the solution to their problem. 

4.       Make sure it's easy for bots and spiders to crawl your site and know what the hospital business is. Make sure you submit your sitemap to Google and Bing. Start incorporating microdata, schema, rich snippets, and so on. These little pieces of code give the search engines even more information about what your business is all about. 

5.       You also want to make sure that your online business directories (aka citation sites) are accurate as well. For example, if one address is on Yelp, and another is on Citysearch, the search engines won’t know which address is the correct one and will be less likely to pull your hospital up in voice search results. 

6.       Take a look at your analytics. Google’s Search Console reports show you what queries are bringing people to your site. Now that being said, you can’t tell if the search query came from voice search or the good old-fashioned way. You can get some good ideas based on how people are finding you right now. 

7.       Since most voice searches take place on mobile devices, you must have a mobile-friendly site. If a person does a voice search, goes to your site, and has a bad experience, it’s over. This not only impacts that individual searcher but a high bounce rate because your site is difficult to use on a smartphone can also negatively affect your rankings on Google.

"Hey Siri, find a hospital near me that has the best satisfaction and experience ratings."  

Can you hear me now?

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist, and thought-leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters is read in  52 countries and listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs, and Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing & social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, call Michael at 815-351-0671. Opinions expressed are my own.

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join his group, Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.