Posted By Hitchcock Marketing & Communications on 01/31/2020

Don’t Waste Another Dollar on Marketing Until You Do This

Don’t Waste Another Dollar on Marketing Until You Do This

Healthcare marketers sometimes feel as though they’re caught up in a never-ending, and vicious cycle of being on the hook to bring more patients through the door, only to hear about dismal patient satisfaction and engagement results and poor HCAHPS scores.

The marketing/patient experience disconnect exists in many healthcare organizations. Marketing staff feel pressure to do more—and do it better—to achieve great results. Yet, they’re stymied by the fact that the patient experience in their organization isn’t all it should be. Instead of turning out positive patient ambassadors who will share glowing word-of-mouth recommendations with friends, marketing efforts all too often do just the opposite.

Sure, those carefully planned and exhaustively vetted marketing campaigns bring in more people. But if those people instead of spreading positive word-of-mouth do just the opposite nobody wins. Least of all the patients.

Here are some actual patient comments posted on Yelp for various healthcare organizations. (Note: even though they’re clearly identified by name online we’ve chosen to remove any identifiable information.)

  • “The front desk and Clinic Manager are terrible at best. Dr. X was good until she wasn't. She hides behind the Clinic Manager and leaves voice mails when she disagrees with you.”
  • “Dr. X saw my son, took X-rays, did nothing (and) then sent him to another X medical center so they could treat him and bill us again. All for a dislocated finger. Do not go here.”
  • “I have been with this clinic for 15 years and it's sad to say it has gone downhill. A few months ago the lady (or maybe a nurse) was so rude to me on the phone, after she hung up on me, I called to talk to we boss which she didn't answer so I left a VM and no call back ever.”
  • “Poor Service! Do not use this clinic unless you want to be ignored. Most likely you will get put on eternal hold and have to leave a voicemail. It says they will call you back within 1 business day, but they never call you back.”

Are these the kind of impressions you’re leaving with your patients? Are you sure?

Certainly, in some cases, patient perceptions may be skewed or “wrong.” But it doesn’t matter. The danger has been done. Healthcare organizations need to both strive to provide high-end service and care, and also must have processes in place to learn about times when patients were not satisfied. Then, they need to take steps to appropriately and satisfactorily address these concerns directly before they end up on Yelp or other similar sites.

One of the tools that I’ve used as I’ve worked with various healthcare organizations is mystery shopping—getting real people to pose as real patients to really test the system and deliver detailed reports on what’s working, and what’s not.

Don’t invest another dollar in marketing until you determine what kinds of experiences your patients are really having when they come through your doors!

About Us:

Trust...the healthcare marketer who has been in your shoes! Jean Hitchcock has spent more than 25 years at some of the nation’s most respected health systems. As a healthcare marketing and communication leader, she understands your competing priorities. Your strained resources. The pressure to differentiate your services and distinguish your brand. All amid seismic changes in our healthcare system. You’re busy. We can help.


Visionary marketing and PR leader blending consulting and corporate experience. A deep knowledge of all aspects of the healthcare and hospital industry. Life-long advocate for bringing the voice of... Read more


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