- Owning your own loyalty program
- Using automation technology
- Bettering patient experience
Owning the ProgramThe best loyalty programs are those that are self-contained and practice specific. The reason for this is that partner programs, or manufacturer programs, are typically able to be used in any practice that offers the manufacturer's products. So, if a patient was to leave your practice, they could use the rewards that they built with you at a competitor’s practice instead. Reward programs like this provide an incentive to continue using the manufacturer's product, but not to continue using you as a provider. This is obviously not good for patient lifetime value.
Make sure that you create a program that you own and that is specific to your business. You can model the rewards of partner programs, but make sure that it is completely unique to you. It should have your name on it, and it should be exclusive to your practice.
Automating the Program
While you can only automate the fundamental communications of a loyalty program to an extent, anything you are able to do saves your practice both time and money. Patients should receive communication about their rewards, and what they can be used for. A good practice management system should include making sure your patients receive automatic reminders, either by phone or email, letting them know that they have points to be used. Your practice should already be using an automated messaging system, but if you don’t, there are plenty of other software tools that can help you send out automatic messages.
You must also be careful with the content that you’re sending to your patients. Don’t underestimate the impact your communications have on overall patient experience. Although you want to automate communication with the patient, you don’t want to annoy the client by bombarding them with messages on a daily basis. Rather, you want all your communication with the patient to be productive. You should strategically message patients when they have reached a certain level of points, or if they have not been in the office for a while. Automating these messages will decrease the workload of your staff, and in turn, increase the rate at which customers return to your practice.
It’s valuable to understand how your loyalty program influences patient experience. Patients will initially hear about the loyalty program from your staff, so it is necessary that they thoroughly understand how the program functions. They must be informed about the mathematical logic behind the programs’ benefits, and they must be able to effectively communicate that to the patients. By making sure that your staff is trained in the program, you’re going to create a much better patient experience, which will ultimately result in a higher patient lifetime value.