With COVID-19 still spreading rapidly across the country and flu season beginning, many urgent care centers are treating more patients than ever right now. But safety guidelines and precautions have introduced new complications to the intake process, often leading to inconveniences like long wait times in the car or even being turned away.
To avoid damaging your practice’s local reputation in the upcoming months, it’s important to prioritize your patient experience. In other words, ask yourself, even if your schedule is busy:
“What can I do to keep current and potential patients happy, informed, and safe?”
Today, most of your patients likely come from one place: the Internet. And with so many people seeking emergency medical attention, there’s an opportunity for practices to establish a strong reputation and attract a larger share of patients online. Since so many people are already setting up appointments, though, now may not be the time to focus on patient acquisition — instead, use the power of digital marketing to provide valuable information and build trust with potential patients in your area.
Building brand awareness is incredibly important for urgent care practices — you want to be the first name that pops in people’s minds when they or their loved ones need immediate medical care. The more you promote yourself and connect with your community, the more local mindshare you’ll gain, the more you’ll prepare yourself for long-term growth, and the more high-quality talent you’ll attract to work in your office.
Put yourself in a patient’s shoes. A medical event that warrants an urgent care visit is already stressful enough, and if they have to dig for information about the safety protocols you’ve put in place and that they’ll need to follow, they’ll probably consider the next option. On the other hand, clear and consistent communication about the processes you’ve put in place will encourage confidence and ensure your patients know exactly what to expect.
Your brand and your patient experience go hand-in-hand — but that experience begins even before your patients schedule an appointment. It begins with your online presence: Is it easy for visitors to find your basic business information (hours, location, etc.) on the Internet? Can patients see the steps you’ve taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19? Can they seamlessly set up an appointment online? When practices get busy, it’s easy to cut corners and not deliver the time and full value with patients that you would if your schedule wasn’t so busy. But over the long term, the recent spike in patients will slow down, and the practices that went above and beyond will continue to reap the rewards of their efforts.
Utilize technology where you can create efficiencies, but don't stop looking at your online experience through your patients’ eyes. Your online presence gives you credibility. If you're not making an effort to stay top-of-mind with patients and remind them that you’re always working to provide the highest possible level of care, you can bet a competing urgent care center will.
Fostering Long-Term Success
In the world of digital marketing, success is a long-term game. The longer you commit to consistently promoting your practice, the more you’ll build up your image and the stronger the returns you’ll see. 2020 may have thrown a wrench into your plans, but if you take a step back, consider innovative ways to fill revenue gaps, and keep telling patients why you’re the best choice in their area, you’ll be positioned for success in the post-crisis transition.
That being said, it’s important to avoid complacency. It’s not enough to simply commit to a marketing budget every year, or to “set and forget” your strategy. As time goes on, new technologies will pop up, patient expectations will change, and your competitors will be looking for any advantage they can find. If you want to protect your urgent care practice and give yourself the best chance at long-term growth, your best option is to find a reliable marketing partner with experience in the medical industry.
If you’re interested in seeing how Scorpion can help your urgent care practice stay top-of-mind with patients during the pandemic, as well as set you up for stability in the years to come, just contact us here.For more helpful content on the latest tips and trends in the industry, sign up to receive our monthly medical marketing newsletter.