Tom Hileman leads Hileman Group, an award-winning agency delivering high-touch, data-driven marketing solutions for leading organizations.
Harvard University marketing professor Philip Kotler has a famous quote:
“Over the past 60 years, marketing has moved from being product-centric (Marketing 1.0) to being consumer-centric (Marketing 2.0). Today, we see marketing as transforming once again in response to the new dynamics in the environment. We see companies expanding their focus from products to consumers to humankind issues. Marketing 3.0 is the stage when companies shift from consumer-centricity to human-centricity and where profitability is balanced with corporate responsibility.”
I believe that today we’re headed into the next stage of marketing, characterized by a focus on engagement and personalized content. This means that customer relationship management (CRM) is essential to keeping patients actively connected with your healthcare organization.
What is CRM?
CRM is difficult to define given its size and complexity. Add in the unique aspects of healthcare, and it gets even more difficult. But essentially, CRM is a technology used to manage your organization’s interactions with current and potential clients.
A CRM tool helps companies streamline processes and improve profitability — most often organizing specific areas like contact management, sales management, agent productivity and more. By the same token, this type of resource is invaluable to the healthcare industry; leaders seek to better connect to patients and personalize their care for an optimum experience.
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Where is CRM in healthcare today?
When it comes to healthcare CRM, vendors take several different approaches during implementation. A myriad of solutions can solve individual aspects and pain points to meet the healthcare organization’s needs in engaging both patients and providers. In today’s industry, healthcare CRM point solutions are set in place and growing.
There are also enterprise CRM vendors which are at an early-stage adoption and provide customized versions of their solutions specifically for healthcare but are general purpose at their core. They use specialized standard solutions and industry applications, such as Salesforce Health Cloud. Enterprise CRM solutions focus on the following areas:
• 360-degree view of patient and provider.
• First-party data to support the journey.
• Basic use cases, including missed appointments, financial readiness and more.
What are the main challenges for implementation?
Enterprise CRM projects can be complex and potentially difficult given the nature of the industry and the problem they attempt to solve. In healthcare, departments service customers based on their specific interactions and needs. No singular department in a healthcare organization “owns” the customer (patient); the clinical, call center, marketing, finance and philanthropy all work together to offer customer touchpoints and create a personalized healthcare journey for each patient.
That’s why it’s important for organizations to steer away from fragmented data and adopt a unified model — a single comprehensive view of the customer that the entire team can agree on creates better cohesion among the patient, provider, B2B companies and caregivers involved.
Another challenge can be the people, processes and technologies involved in management. Department users may not understand what CRM can bring and may try to simply reproduce or automate existing processes. It can be greatly beneficial to encourage thorough training for better understanding and execution. It is also imperative to ensure that the adopted CRM process is aligned with IT for the greatest efficiency possible.
Legal and compliance team members should be brought into the project immediately and educated on what enterprise CRM means and will enable for the enterprise. Privacy issues regarding customer journeys are of the utmost importance. Legal needs to understand their usage in the context of a business perspective before giving approval.
Key Considerations for CRM Implementation
The following solutions make for excellent starting points in navigating some of the challenges outlined above. As part of your plan for implementation, keep these tips in mind:
• Executive leaders should drive sponsorship for enterprise adoption. This is an enterprise initiative and must be treated as such.
• Map out the journey and create clear business use cases.
• Use business language rather than tech jargon. This helps your message be clearer and more accessible.
• Governance is vital. Establish agreement on prioritization of business functions and resource allocation.
• Create upfront and maintain a unified data model for your customer.
Because enterprise CRM is vast and sophisticated, here are a few additional examples that show potential applications:
• Integrating your digital ecosystem: Cleveland Clinic, a client of ours, integrated webchat and chatbots into their digital processes and tools to assist current and prospective patients in their healthcare journeys. You can also leverage conversational marketing and direct integrations into your CRM (and, in turn, call center or health access center) to help drive engagement.
• Incorporating call-center-enabled digital campaigns: Another client of ours found success in integrating the call center into demand generation campaigns. Utilizing dynamic, fully trackable phone numbers gave them the ability to test engagement and conversion based on testing of forms versus phone numbers.
• Creating personalized health alerts: A personalized communication strategy leverages an expanded data model that can enhance the patient experience by reminding patients of important preventative care and screenings, leverage an existing martech stack to increase speed to deployment, and support overall patient outcomes by closing gaps in care.
To enhance your digital journey, it can be beneficial to provide an integrated experience across all channels and touchpoints for IT, OPE (overall production effectiveness) and marketing. You should also strive to create more personalized experiences for patients while staying consistent with HIPAA regulations.
A CRM serves as your digital “front door” that leads to a holistic and integrated experience between web, mobile, marketing automation and your clinical systems. It also serves as a centralized model for building your first-party dataset. As you begin to build your holistic view of the consumer in your CRM, the next evolution has already begun to take action. The use of AI and machine learning can enable marketers to reach audiences with higher impact, which in turn, results in greater success for your campaigns. By focusing on these tactics, you’ll see how a CRM can help your organization effectively connect content to healthcare.
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Author: Tom Hileman, Forbes Councils Member