How does your airline of choice keep you coming back? Frequent Flyer Miles! Whether it’s a trip to Vegas or a pile of free magazines, most are rewarded for staying loyal to a single provider. Healthcare companies don’t exactly have that angle – “Break another bone this month and you’ll get upgraded to a first class cast!” It’s funny to think about, but jussstttt not applicable.  From The Loyalty Effect by Fred Reichheld, here’s a shocking stat that makes a lot of sense:

“Across a range of industries, the average of a 5% improvement in customer retention will yield a 25 to 100% increase in profitability.” So what can healthcare companies do to keep members loyal?

7 Ways to increase healthcare member retention:

  1. Don’t forget onboarding: Develop a formal onboarding process to communicate with members aggressively during the instrumental 90 days after they join. To gain all of the referrals and repeat business from new members, you should thank them and remind them again why they’ve made the right decision.
  2. Use “triggered” messaging across channels – After onboarding, improve retention by building relationships through a series of offline and online programmed or “triggered” sequence or communications based on meaningful events or member behavior.  The Gartner Group, defines triggered marketing as “identifying, categorizing, monitoring, optimizing and executing events that can be applied in a multichannel relationship – such as social, mobile, direct mail, inbound call conversions, lead management and email marketing.”
  3. Personalize your communications: With members overloaded with messages every day, cut through the clutter and make your members feel special and valued with personalized communications. Even the most basic data can easily be used to create personalized variations within a single campaign, each one tailored to the individual member.
  4. Use data analytics to prevent “churn” – Data analytics and customer retention predictive modeling are very effective ways to gain insights into factors influencing member behavior. Fortified with this information, you can allocate more of your resources to those members most likely to leave, or “churn,” before they do so. Minimizing member churn maximizes company profit.
  5. Build loyalty by becoming a trusted adviser – Deliver beyond what is required will make your members more loyal. It takes more than airline miles to build trust. Proactive communications, and occasionally the right proactive disruption can position you as a trusted adviser. Think of an airline alerting you via mobile when your flight is delayed – before you hop in the car. Healthcare providers can proactively update members on program changes and governmental regulations, and utilize brevity to convey the core information.
  6. Measure lifetime value: Everyone knows that is costs three to five times more to acquire a member than to retain an existing one. Once you realize the profit a member represents to your business when they stay loyal to you year after year, then you will know how much time and money you can afford to invest in retaining them.
  7. Test and learn: What can you do to make your member communications more effective? That is the question that cannot be answered without constant testing. If you aren’t doing it, your competitors are – your perfectly good wellness program may be beaten by your competitor’s even better one.  Test and learn then refine!

Jerry Seinfeld posed the eternal question: “Are there keys to a plane? Maybe that’s what those delays are sometimes, when you’re just sitting there at the gate. Maybe the pilot sits up there in the cockpit going, “Oh, I don’t believe this… I did it again.” They tell you it’s something mechanical because they don’t want to come on the P.A. system, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to be delayed here on the ground for a while. I uh… Oh, God this is so embarrassing… I, I left the keys to the plane in my apartment. They’re in this big ashtray by the front door. I’m sorry, I’ll run back and get them.”

Do you have the keys to rev up your healthcare retention strategy? Or will you leave your members waiting for communications on the tarmac? Love to hear your thoughts!