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With the current COVID-19 outbreak casting a shadow over life as we know it, every business has had to rethink the way it operates and interacts safely with customers. While the significant restrictions on face-to-face interactions massively restrict how you can deliver your healthcare services now, it also provides an opportunity to embrace digital technology to better address your customers’ needs.
Your website will have to do a lot of hard work before any patient steps inside your practice, especially in the context of the global pandemic. It’s a critical business tool you cannot afford to underestimate. Make sure you have professionally presented pages to explain your key services and clearly state your opening hours and contact information, including online appointment booking. Up-to-date health advice via a regular blog is also a good idea. “We have always believed that a good SEO strategy is crucial to increase our visibility and reach, particularly among our locally based customers,” explains one Sussex based dental practice. And of course, your website should be Google-friendly and optimised for mobile.
An active social media presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter should work in tandem with your website to deepen your connection with your customers and extend your reach further. Did you know that Facebook has 1.73 billion daily active users, with more than half checking their feed several times a day? Having social media pages demands good quality content - posts, images and videos - that are regularly updated. It’s your direct voice to your healthcare customers, so keep them informed about your business and respond to their concerns.
If your healthcare or medical practice is now working with reduced teams and number of patients that you can see, how about offering video consultations as an alternative way to start the patient journey? Appointments could be booked through your website or triaged over the phone to enable consultations that don’t require a face-to-face meeting to go ahead. There are many generic platforms available such as Skype, Microsoft TEAMS and Zoom, as well as a growing range of healthcare-specific software such as Attend Anywhere, ClineCall and VideoConsult.
Missed appointments have a negative impact on your healthcare business. To minimise their occurrence, send out an SMS appointment reminder the day before, which gives the patient ample time to confirm, reschedule or cancel as necessary. Did you know that 94% of UK adults own a mobile phone and that 98% of text messages are read within 3 minutes? This makes SMS marketing a hugely powerful way to communicate with your customers.
New technologies don’t have to be expensive to install or difficult to learn. With some careful strategic thinking about how best to serve your customers in the ‘new normal’, even the smallest healthcare business can take advantage of the opportunities available. In an increasingly competitive and complex world, it may make all the difference between success and failure.
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