Word of mouth and healthcare communications
The days of one way communications are over.
It’s time to start listening to what your constituencies are saying about you so you can actively manage your reputation.
For instance, word of mouth is a powerful tool that consumers use when determining what hospital to go to or doctor to see. Consumers listen to each other more than doing their own personal research before making a decision.
Word of mouth can be defined as:
- One person communicating to another
- One person communicating to an audience
- All types of social media between 2 or more people. This can include Twitter, Facebook, television, radio or face to face interaction.
HealthCare Express, a medical practice located in Texarkana, Texas makes word of mouth marketing a priority. They use face-to-face interaction to understand more about how their patients heard about them and learned about the practice. Whenever a patient visits the center, everyone is asked how they heard about HealthCare Express. Most of the patients say that they heard from a friend or colleague. HealthCare Express also sends members of their staff out in the surrounding community to network, hand out goodies and visit small businesses.
Word of mouth can also be used to strengthen your hospital’s current marketing campaign. Baylor Health Care System, located in Dallas, Texas, recently launched twenty-eight 30-second television spots that were patient testimonials and featured them on their website. Since this launch, there has been a significant increase in the number of patients. The testimonials went viral and helped make the center seem more personable, as opposed to ‘intimidating’ and ‘scary.’ These testimonials helped changed a huge misconception in the brand’s image.
In order to fully take advantage of what word of mouth can do for your hospital, it is important to create a list of words that you would like people to use when they describe your brand. A word of mouth audit (WOMA) can help your communications and marketing team better understand what your patients are saying. It is also important to consistently monitor any social media channels that you are using and monitor what is being said on there.
Word of mouth is the best way to understand what others are saying about your hospital and it is important to take the time and listen. In this case, actions don’t speak louder than words.