The Science Behind Why Emotional Connections are the New Customer Service
Companies are always striving to improve their customer experience and achieve high satisfaction rates. However, recent research shows companies that move beyond mere satisfaction and connect emotionally with their consumers develop a loyalty resulting in significantly higher financial outcomes.
In fact, on a lifetime basis, emotionally connected customers are more than 2x as valuable as highly satisfied customers.
Emotionally-connected customers are more likely to:
- book a procedure
- spend more money
- respect and take your advice
- and importantly, recommend you to other people
In the elective medical industry, we often lose sight of all the opportunities to appeal to patient emotions.
There are the fundamental, emotional needs or motivators that drive the patient’s initial desire to have a medical procedure. Then, there are the series of emotions the patient can face at each point of the decision process.
As such, it is important for practices to not only be aware of how they can excel in providing great customer service, but be able to understand and meet patients where they’re at.
“Emotionally connected customers go through the customer process with the feeling that ‘this practice gets me’. That should be the goal of maximizing the patient experience.”
To better connect with patients, we need to understand the types of emotions at play.
There are hundreds of “emotional motivators” or fundamental human needs that motivate a consumer to make a purchase. These are the often unspoken, hidden desires the consumer may not even be aware of that are driving their interest in a procedure from the very beginning. The following are ranked some of the highest impact motivators:
|The desire to have a sense of freedom||An ability to act independently, without restrictions|
|Feel a sense of belonging||They feel they are part of a specific social group|
|Enjoy a sense of well-being||Their life measures up to their expectations, seeking a stress-free lifestyle|
|Be the person I want to be||Live up to their ideal image of themselves|
|Have confidence in the future||Look at the future with a positive outlook.|
When you think about it, there is at least one of these emotional motivators behind every reason a patient chooses to think about having a medical procedure. For a patient with glasses, it is the desire for a sense of freedom to do their daily activities without restriction. For the patient considering plastic surgery, it is a desire to be the ideal version of themselves.
There are countless other examples and practices that can anticipate, identify, and appeal to these desires throughout the customer experience. By engaging in these efforts, not only can you gain more customers, but the value of those customers as brand advocates to future patients will be significant.
“When patients are feeling good about the practice or the surgeon, and feel they are in exceptional hands, they are more likely to trust everything else such as technology and services are also exceptional...“
Emotions Throughout the Decision-Making Process
Motivators are the reasons behind the patients desire to have the procedure, but other emotions throughout their exploration impact every step of the decision-making process. Fear, worry, insecurity, and uncertainty are evident in questions like: “What if I don’t get the results I want?… What if it’s painful? …What if the physician makes a mistake and causes permanent damage?”
Practices need to meet these emotions by making patients feel safe, secure, and cared about.
“We have seen a significant increase in the amount of leads generated for a practice by simply catering to the emotional needs and desires of patients. Patients need authentic, relatable content that compels them to take action in making a life-changing decision.“
Part of meeting patients where they are, is understanding their journey and the time it takes them in their process. It is important to be there when the patient is ready to book, but have a plan in place that nurtures the decision-making process with educational content and targeted follow-up. Pressuring leads to take action when they are not ready or “pushing a consult” can send patients running.
“The area where most practices fail to connect with their patients actually occurs BEFORE the patient even steps foot in their clinic. Many practices are transactional in their marketing instead of seeking a ‘natural human conversation.’ Given that fear is one of the strongest emotions a potential patient feels especially during the early part of their journey, we help our patients emotionally by being transparent, humble, fun, empathetic and informative with how we conduct our marketing and operations.“
One of the best ways to humanize your content is through storytelling. Patient stories and video testimonials that speak to various emotions can be very compelling. Have patients share why they wanted to have a procedure, why they chose your practice, and how their life has changed because of the results. The key is to be authentic, and as personable as possible.
“Nothing sows the seeds of empathy quite like storytelling. You can prime your audience with emotion, directly from your website or social media, by making your patients the heroes of their own epics and sharing their stories of transformation.”
Share your story as well. How was your practice started? What makes you and your staff love what they do every day? Sharing what makes you and your practice unique can be one of the best ways for potential patients to get a good feeling, before they ever meet you.
How you handle patient phone calls is extremely important. Know the difference between an emotional-connected conversation and a customer service focused call by ensuring patient not only feel heard, but understood; that office staff was not only nice, courteous, and addressed their questions, but they felt they actually related to them on a personal level. This requires staff that has both technical knowledge and a high-level of soft skills such as emotional intelligence, active listening skills, and the ability to problem-solve. Click here to request sample calls by our First Contact Counselors.
It is important to note, developing emotional connections is not just up to your patient coordinator, your marketing team, or those answering the phones. A deep understanding of patients must become a part of practice culture.
We strive for this type of connection with our clients. We want to alleviate their stress, provide solutions that solve chronic problems and ultimately grow their business by helping them maximize opportunities to gain more patients.
How do we know we’ve been successful? Many of our clients have used us for over a decade. They say they cannot live without us, and that we are one of the most important aspects of running a successful practice.
The power of building upon emotional connections simply cannot be underestimated. To learn more about how we go above customer satisfaction to maximize the patient experience, contact us.