an-easy-quick-and-effective-way-to-engage-patient-loyaltyThis question is a tantalising, but kind of-easy, riddle. How can one of the largest retail operations in the world have no stores? The answer, of course, is that the Internet (and online shopping) has given us Amazon.

But Amazon and other online shopping centres have a high-priority need to remain connected with the customers they never see or meet, and to earn their loyalty, repeat business and referrals from a distance. Here’s a small but effective technique that transfers from their retail playbook to healthcare.

Use it to gauge and grow a positive patient experience and to inspire positive patient reviews.

The HAPPY or NOT HAPPY card…

Products purchased online often have a small note enclosed that asks the most fundamental consumer survey questions: Happy? (or) Not Happy? Plus, it provides instructions about what to do in either case. One side of the card reads:

HAPPY? We’re just happy that you’re happy. If you don’t know how to express your newfound joy, we’ve got a few suggestions…

  • favicon Tell your friends and family.
  • favicon Share your experience by writing a review on ___ (site and address).
  • favicon Connect with us via our website [address], Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

NOT HAPPY? Our friendly customer service team will work hard to put a smile back on your face. Here’s how we can connect:

  • favicon Phone number with hours of operation.
  • favicon Email address for support.
  • favicon Link from website.

A healthcare practitioner’s office has the additional benefit of asking for “Happy / Not Happy” patient feedback in person and in the office (while the experience is fresh and motivation to act is high.)

  1. Designate one or more people to be responsible, and make this a regular routine in the office.
  2. Ask each patient, personally and directly: Happy? Not Happy?
  3. Provide everyone with an index size card, printed two-sided, with the instructions.
  4. If they are not happy, you have an immediate opportunity to address the problem and turn “Not Happy” into “Happy.” (Then refer to the HAPPY instructions.)

Why this works…

Patients who you have helped are generally pleased to be asked, and are receptive to making a positive online review. But the common stumbling blocks are that:

  • favicon Unhappy patients often don’t say anything; you never hear their concerns or have an opportunity to rectify. They quietly disappear forever.
  • favicon Happy patients do not know how or where (or don’t remember) to go online to provide a review. The majority of practitioners reviews are positive, by the way, but the printed card, with the URL link/address, reminds and instructs.