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.


Change Happens in Life and Marketing

It seems like change has been in the air, especially with the whirlwind of our recent presidential election. For me, being the newest member of Jet Marketing, change has been at the forefront of my most recent days. Starting a new job is filled with a tremendous amount of change. Every day presents me with new information and knowledge to internalize, analyze and sift through. For some, the changes that come with starting a new career can be rather intimidating. There is no denying that change comes with a certain amount of discomforts; however, if you remain steadfast in your pursuit and open to change, your extra effort will be sure to pay off.

Just as in life, change in business happens too. Because of this fact, your marketing should too. By remaining open and accepting of change, a company has a better chance of staying current and finding new opportunities. With the ever-changing times (and the high frequency in changing consumer tastes), it’s not a bad idea to evaluate your marketing strategy on an annual basis. Through consistent analysis you can effectively make adjustments needed to remain current and find new opportunities otherwise overlooked. You may find that there is a brand new resource or avenue that can help you better reach your target customer and ward off competitors. Maybe there is a new social media tool or B2B product that can boost your appeal?

A change in marketing strategy can also help you increase your product’s natural life cycle and respond to any outside factors that may arise. In an article in the small business section of The Houston Chronicle, entitled, “Why Is There a Constant Need for Change in Marketing?” it was suggested that small companies should change their marketing strategies during different stages of the product life cycle. For example, in some cases a company may be forced to lower the price of a product in order to stay competitive as the market expands. On the flip side a need for marketing change may arise from fluctuations in law, technologies, or reductions in resources. One example being the scarcity of cork in the wine industry.  Many wine producers are moving to alternate materials, such as, plastic and twist lids in order to combat the reduction and higher prices of cork.

In life and business change happens. Because change comes with a certain amount of discomforts it is a natural impulse to want to avoid it; however, it is imperative to remain steadfast in your pursuit and open to change. In the big picture, all of the discomforts due to change are only temporary and your extra effort will be sure to be rewarding.

Jet Staff photo_JHJenn Holm, Account Manager

Jenn has never been one to avoid the discomforts of change. She enjoys adventures both big and small and really, sometimes, what better adventure is there than challenge?


Value of the Face-to-Face Meeting

A certain commercial has stuck with me for more than 25 years. Here’s the plot: a boss gathers all of his sales reps to let them know that a long-time customer had fired them earlier that day.  Their boss informs them that the client said, “he didn’t know us anymore,” and was tired of just getting a fax.  The boss proceeded to hand out airline tickets to every member of the sales force and announced a new plan to hold a face-to-face meeting with every one of their customers.

The message of that commercial is powerful. Fast forward to 2016.  It’s no longer a fax, it’s email, Skype, GoToMeeting, texts, tweets and posts.  Turns out it is even easier than before to think you are connected to your customers and to avoid (probably unintentionally) the face-to-face.

Having been in business in some fashion or another for 34 years, I know the value and importance of building relationships with customers beyond the virtual world we so often live in. At Jet, many of our clients aren’t found across town, but across the state and beyond.  So while we need and use all the modern conveniences of email and FedEx, we also make intentional efforts to build relationships which might require the occasional road trip and plane ride.

Jet ensures that our customers know who we are through site visits. There’s no better way to get a sense of the organization you work with than to meet with people face-to-face. This month I’ll be visiting some of our very valuable clients.  I’ll gas up the car, make a few hotel reservations and get out the suitcase (which upsets my dog more than my husband), and hit the road.

On these trips, I like to meet with multiple groups at an organization – to hear the CEO’s perspective, to meet with the communications team and talk about specific projects, and to meet with the heads of other departments and hear their point of view. Then depending, I take whomever is available to lunch, dinner, drinks, whatever.

It’s an opportunity to simply say “thank you” — but it’s also a great opportunity to talk about the health of the organization and see how we might help in new ways.  The average amount of time a client stays with an agency is 3 years. I like beating those odds, and I think the best way to do that is to connect on personal stuff first, business stuff second.

These site visits are also a great way to get a sense of what is going on locally. There is no replacement for seeing first hand what is happening in a local market.  I try to catch the local radio stations, check out the billboards and pick up the local publications. Sometimes I check out the local competition or visit with residents in line at the local coffee shop. It’s important knowledge that you can’t just get online.  It’s being involved in and part of your clients’ community.

Granted when the weather is nice, it’s more enjoyable.  But like the post office says, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” (source:  “National Postal Museum: FAQs”. National Postal Museum. 2011)

In the same way, Jet Marketing is committed to our client partners, no matter where they are.

Jackie O’Hara is the owner and co-founder of Jet Marketing.