It’s said that like there is no ‘free lunch’, there are no easy answers, especially when it comes to health care. The recent radical changes in the healthcare industry have changed all the trends … the healthcare industry is emerging in a new shape, offering new opportunities and ushering in a new era. With the way the industry continues to change, I’ve come to realize, even with almost a decade’s experience behind me, I have as many questions as I do answers.

Marketing professionals are continually faced with the Herculean task of sending exciting new messages to the target audience – messages which evoke interest and make them visit your healthcare facility, enable your facility to stand up to face and fare well in the wake of the constant new challenges.

The problem arises when, in zeal to come up with something new, they forget to cash on the goodwill and equity generated by the previous marketing messages. We forget to be consistent.

Being consistent in all our communications going out to the public at large, enables them to identify and relate to a common denominator which is being conveyed through all messages – it can be the customer friendly approach / hospitable staff or an IT savvy healthcare facility … the message needs to be consistent in all communications to drive home the factor and market it as a USP.

Your marketing message must consistently reinforce the image that you hope is present in every customer’s mind. Losing sight of that message causes the perception you’ve worked hard to develop to slowly erode away.

Consistency is an important aspect in all domains of health care marketing – it’s a key component to outstanding customer service. Have you ever thought about how your customers (patients) view your system’s services after traversing the continuum of care – from the point of entry into the hospital system to the point of discharge from the hospital system- from the emergency department and admissions to nursing units, radiology, and the lab, patients are treated with varying levels of respect and courtesy. These inconsistencies cause the process to seem disjointed, and the patient to feel unimportant.

Consistency is also vital for your non-hospital services, as well.

Are all of your physicians delivering the same high standard for customer service? What about the physician that has a reputation for always being behind schedule? It’s important to remember, in the patient’s eyes, your whole system is only as good as the patient’s worst experience.

It needs to be understood that we need to be explicit when setting customer service expectations for our organization. By giving specific guidelines to all parts of the organization, we can assure a consistent interpretation of what the organization expects when it comes to good customer service.