The “always” in customer satisfaction

Being from Northern Colorado, I love the Human Bean coffee shop. Here’s why:

  • Their coffee drinks are consistently good
  • The staff is always friendly
  • They have drive-up service
  • I get a chocolate covered espresso bean on top, every time
  • They back up this goodness by donating generously to community causes

My Human Bean visits are a consistently positive experience. As marketers, we know that brand consistency builds brand loyalty. I’d add that brand sincerity does, too.

What do I mean by brand sincerity? They walk their talk. They don’t promise one thing and do another. They don’t fake a smile when they hand you your coffee to hide the stress they feel when cars are piling up behind you. They don’t give to various local causes simply to boost their marketing efforts. They don’t forget to make you feel special by placing that bonus bean on top.

Brand sincerity is a tricky thing, because you have to leave a positive impression every time you touch a customer, from the front door to the final transaction. The 17586583_1659281251047525_2502153972765163520_noutcome—that great cup of coffee—is most important, but customers decide who you are every step of the way. If you hit the mark each time, they’re yours to keep.

If you are in healthcare like many of our clients at Jet Marketing, you know consistency can be hard to achieve when a patient experiences 10 to 20 interactions in just one visit. Consider how many chances you have to be less than perfect: A patient sets an appointment, walks through the door, is greeted, sees a nurse or medical technician, sees a doctor, gets lab tests or imaging scans, gets a treatment plan, receives care instructions, checks out, receives a follow up call with results…and that’s all from one doctor visit. Imagine a hospital stay.

One grumpy interaction with staff or missed step along the way can result in a “usually” rather than an “always” on the HCAHPS patient satisfaction survey where healthcare customers rank their satisfaction on a scale of never, sometimes, usually and always. The only answer that generates full federal reimbursement from Medicaid and Medicare for hospitals and clinics is “always,” the most desired box to check on the survey—hence, hospitals thrive or nosedive by their Top Box results.

How can a hospital that has dozens of outlying clinics and a long list of services deliver top care consistently? How can they maintain brand sincerity when so many fingers are in the patient pie? Here are some ideas:

  1. Choose a motto and give it meaning with action.
    For example, our client Campbell County Health in Gillette, Wyoming chose “Excellence Every Day” which they’ve integrated into their daily team huddles and process improvement efforts.
    Provide scripting for front-end staff, technicians and nurses.
  2. Regardless of what facility your patients call, they get the same greeting and warm response. Some of our hospitals have employed the acronym AIDIT, which stands for Acknowledge (by looking in their eyes, calling them by name), Introduce (say your name and what you will be doing for them), Duration (if there is a wait, tell them how long), Explanation (explain the procedure) and Thank you (for choosing us, for calling).
  3. Enlist volunteers to greet your patients at the front door and offer to walk them to their destination.
    Our client Montrose Memorial Hospital did this with excellence on our first visit—complete with a charming older gentlemen who linked arms with us and walked us to the marketing director’s door.Always Blog graphic
  4. Educate patients they will be receiving a patient satisfaction survey and ask them to fill it out.
    While you can’t ask patients to respond with an “always,” you can let them know you want to hear their feedback, and that it helps you improve and makes a difference with federal funding. With that said, don’t let the HCAHPs survey be the end-all goal. Patients are savvy. They recognize when staff are insincerely nice just to get good scores. At the end of the day, an “always” is achieved by consistent, genuine and positive experiences that create loyal customers who are convinced you are great and expect nothing less. In other words, they trust you to deliver that delicious bean on top.

 

3Lynn Nichols, Copywriter, Publication Specialist

Around the office, our copywriter has earned the facetious nickname of “Dr. Lynn” for her off-the-cuff diagnoses of team ailments from her years of healthcare writing.


Heat things up with great headlines

Nothing cranks the heat up like being asked to write an ad headline, tagline or new campaign slogan. Essentially, you’re being asked to deliver your client’s brand message in 5 words or less—and make it something that motivates people to want to read on and take action, please. Just thinking about it makes my face flush.

Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy the challenge. But I don’t take the words of David Ogilvy, hailed as the “father of advertising,” lightly when he says: “On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

Now you understand the rising blood pressure and red face. To make it easier, I follow a few rules and apply a trick or two. If my headline doesn’t fulfill at least one of these, I know my coffee break has to wait.

1. Does it make an instant impact?

The best headlines, slogans & taglines show personality. They’re clever and maybe even shock or surprise. Take the healthy, real fruit drink alternative, Bai. When launched in 2014 the ad agency went to town creating slogans that were so racy they even had articles written about them. Billboards in Time Square simply showed a picture of the bottle with the following slogan:

Tell your taste buds to stop sexting us

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 1.17.20 PM

Other headlines included:

Flavor that goes all the way on the first date,” and, “Wet. Juicy. Ready. But not in that way,” and, “Naturally sweet. Unlike most men.”

The one that survived the test of time and is on their products today, is:

“Flavor so fresh you want to slap it”.

Talk about instant impact.

2. Does it make your brain do a flip?

A great technique for writing clever headlines is to simply take a cliché and turn it on its head, or apply it to a new situation. The July 2016 issue of O Magazine has some good examples. In an article on no-cook summer recipes, they use the following subheads:

Grain and Simple

Sandwich Generation

Salad Swap Meet

Fit to a Tea

3. Does it make you want to read on?

Not all topics are easy to promote. For example, colonoscopies can be a hard sell. A good trick here is to play on words but also get across the expertise of your client, as in:

Our cardiologists never miss a beat

Or you can go for shock combined with a message of “we care” as the Gastroenterology Associates of Colorado Springs recently did with:

Up Yours, and we mean that sincerely”

Now maybe it’s your face that’s turning red.


3Lynn U. Nichols, Copywriter/Publications Specialist at Jet Marketing

In her spare time, Lynn enjoys reading, running, kayaking and staying young by hanging out with her teenage boys. 

 


Lessons learned on my bike: How to create a great marketing campaign

When developing content for a new campaign, it’s easy to want to jump into the juicy stuff right away—writing headlines that reach out and grab and picking graphics that delight and pop. But it’s best to step back and consider the big picture. Who’s your audience? What are your goals for the campaign? What messaging will you use to carry it through? What calls to action will you make to measure your success? This may sound like basic good sense, but it’s something those of us who have been in marketing for a while can forget to formally do.

It is a little like mountain biking, something I love to do. Sure, I can hop on my bike and lose myself in the immediate—dodging rocks and taking curves that lay right in front of me—but I’m a better biker when I look ahead and see where the trail is going and figure out how to maneuver not just the first hurdle but the next and the next after that. That way when I get there, it’s a smoother ride.

Imagine what I can do when I pull out a map of the entire trail. When I do that, I know when to save my energy for an upcoming big climb, or where I can expect to get wet crossing a stream. Knowing the challenges of the ride are like identifying the components of a marketing campaign—what tools will you use to make it a smooth ride? Will print ads, web banners, social media posts, lobby posters, testimonials, billboards or radio and television ads be a part of the campaign, and to what capacity? How will you tie them all together to support your client’s brand message? Finally, how can you best repurpose content to save your client money?

Now that the plan is figured, and my boss makes it official by putting it all in SmartSheets and sharing it with the client, I’m ready to ride. Give me that blank screen and let me gaze off into the distance. I’m about to write some copy that will hopefully make my clients feel like they are riding an epic single-track downhill—complete with yips and shouts and a little bit of air.

3Lynn U. Nichols, Copywriter/Publications Specialist at Jet Marketing

Lynn came to CSU for a Master’s in Fine Arts 20 years ago and never left. Access to great mountain biking trails is one reason why.