They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression – and that’s just as true with your practice brand as it is with people. This week, we’ll talk about brand touchpoints – and how physicians can make the most out of every patient opportunity.
Episode Transcript: Let’s Talk About Brand Touchpoints
Hello everybody, and welcome to the Medical Marketing Podcast from Messenger – the show where we give physicians and practice marketing managers actionable tips and advice to help improve your marketing, grow revenue, and take patient experience to the next level.
I’m your host, Crawford Ifland, and this week we’re going to be talking about brand touchpoints: what they are, why they matter, and how you can make the most out of every opportunity to build your practice brand.
What is a Healthcare Brand?
If we’re being honest, much of the healthcare industry doesn’t “get” branding. In fact, most businesses, regardless of industry, don’t “get” branding.
Many people think that branding is about your logo or your website – and while those are important elements of a practice brand, I believe brands are far more encompassing than that.
Brands are all about touchpoints.
Here at Messenger, we like to define a brand as the sum of all touchpoints people have with your organization.
Yes, your logo and your website are parts of your brand, but there’s more to it than that. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says that “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
Put another way, your brand is what your patients say it is.
Statistics show that it usually takes 5-7 interactions before people will remember and begin to trust your brand. So it’s not just about getting off on the right foot the first time your practice interacts with a patient – you have to deliver a great first impression, and second impression, and third impression, and so on and so forth. Only paying attention to a few marketing channels while letting others fall by the wayside is a recipe for disaster.
There is no such thing as an unimportant or inconsequential “touch” with your brand. One inconsistent “touch” can ruin the whole patient experience and harm your practice. You have to nail the patient experience every time – if you don’t, you could be leaving money on the table.
What are Brand Touchpoints?
Your logo and website are examples of touchpoints patients can have with your brand, but there are many more:
- Social media channels
- Content that your practice produces
- Signage outside your office
- Appointment reminders, sent via text or email
- The way your staff answers the phone
- The appearance of your office
- Reviews left by other patients online
- How patients can schedule an appointment: online? Over the phone? Both?
- Employee dress code at your practice
- Whether a patient gets a real person when they pick up the phone, or whether they have to go through a phone tree
All of these are potential touchpoints that patients can have with your brand, so it’s important to pay attention to everything.
Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression – and today’s patients evaluate practices on the entire patient experience, not just one element, like a doctor’s bedside manner. If you deliver excellent clinical care but one of your office staff was rude to a patient, you haven’t built a positive brand, and that patient won’t be coming back.
That’s why it’s important to audit all of your touchpoints across every channel. You need to look into every potential touch a patient could have with your practice and evaluate it to see if there are ways to make it better.
At the end of the day, brand touchpoints are all about answering three key questions in a patient’s mind:
- Familiarity: How well do I know this practice or provider?
- Quality: What do I think about them?
- Consideration: How do I want to interact with them?
Healthcare is built on trust and reputation, and so are strong brands. If you want to build a lasting healthcare brand that attracts new patients, you need to be paying attention to your touchpoints.
Touchpoints and People
It’s also important to note that good branding isn’t just for the benefit of your current patients.
Your practice brand is influenced by everyone, regardless of whether they have an established relationship with your practice or not.
Think about fast food: whether you eat at McDonald’s daily or haven’t had fast food in ten years, you have some sort of relationship with the McDonald’s brand – what you think about them (the quality of their food, etc) and what you believe about yourself (your own diet, your lifestyle, etc) informs your purchasing decisions. These factors influence your perception of the McDonald’s brand.
So yes, the reputation of your practice is impacted by current patients and what they have to say about you, but it’s also shaped by prospective patients, your employees, and vendors that your practice uses. All of these audiences make it important to portray a consistent, reliable message across every channel in order to build a strong practice brand.
So, let’s recap what we learned today:
- Your brand is the sum of all touchpoints people have with your practice.
- It’s crucial to pay attention to all potential touchpoints and ensure that you’re delivering a consistent, reliable, and positive experience – no matter where patients may find you.
- Touchpoints are incredibly comprehensive. They include obvious things like your logo and your website, but there are some more subtle touchpoints, too: the way your staff answers the phone. The technologies you use in your practice. How you message your services and competitive advantage in your marketing. How your employees dress. Etc, etc…
- Touchpoints are all about answering three questions: How well do I know you? What do I think about you? And do I want to have a relationship with you?
If you can help patients answer these questions by delivering consistent, positive touchpoints, you’ll be well on your way to a healthy practice brand.
Well, that’s all for this week’s episode of the Medical Marketing Podcast – thanks for listening.
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Whether you’re new to the show or have been listening for a long time, check out our website at www.messenger.md. We’re always sharing helpful resources and know-how to help you improve your practice marketing, grow revenue, and take your patient experience to the next level.
That’s all for today’s episode – I’m Crawford Ifland. See you next week.