Is your healthcare brand experience mobile optimized

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It’s not hard to imagine that at some point in the future, customers (formerly known as patients) might have a mobile-only relationship with your healthcare system or hospital brand.

The numbers bear out this possibility. Consider that between 2010 and 2013, time spent on smartphones more than tripled, while time spent on tablets increased tenfold. By 2020, 80% of adults in the world will own a smartphone.

But even today, your healthcare system or hospital customers increasingly rely on a mobile device (be it smartphone or tablet) as their first screen. This is happening at the same time as the traditional b2b nature of the industry is quickly moving to a b2c model and customers are expecting better, more personalized experiences. As a result, their journey with your healthcare brand must take into account mobile as an integral part of their lifestyle.

If your healthcare system or hospital isn’t leveraging mobile as an integral part of your brand experience strategy, you’re out of sync with customers and prospects. Consider too that mobile is not just another channel, it’s digital, search and social, all wrapped into one.

Here are five ways your healthcare system or hospital can begin to optimize value for consumers through mobile:

1. Responsive website design. At a bare minimum, customers, who have a mobile device within reach 24 hours a day, expect your website to be responsive and work on their phones. If you’re not providing a mobile-friendly experience, they’ll bounce off your site and visit a competitor who is just a click away. More about responsive web design on this previous post.

2. Holistic strategy. Because mobile really is digital, search and social all rolled into one, approach mobile strategy as a fully integrated experience. Not just as a “bolt-on” to current digital initiatives or campaigns, but a mobile-optimized end-to-end customer engagement strategy that recognizes the channel as integral to how customers live their lives.

3. Map the customer journey. Consider how customers want information, when they want it and where they want it. Without understanding their mobile behaviors, it’s impossible to develop a meaningful strategy that aligns with their expectations for relevant, connected and personalized experiences in real time. Remember also, that competitive alternatives are just a click away.

4. Coordinate internally. Customers don’t see departments, they see a borderless brand and want a consistent brand experience. The walls between Cardiac, Oncology and Orthopedics, for example, are of no concern to them. There must be a centralized team internally that coordinates across departments to deliver a seamless and optimized mobile experience.

5. Look at other categories. There’s a lot to be learned from outside industries, based on thinking about how you can differentiate yourself by creating an optimal customer experience. Case in point, Intuit’s Director of Development Mitch Bayersdorfer talks about Intuit’s approach to finding their mobile “sweet spot.” It’s a Venn diagram of three elements around the art of what’s possible based on customer needs, business priorities and device capabilities. “We keep a laser focus on that intersection.”

In the midst of so much disruption, healthcare system and hospital leaders and marketers must be asking “how can we provide the best customer experience and how can we differentiate ourselves from competition”? Mobile is an imperative, as customers’ increasingly expect relevant, connected and personalized experiences in real time – which leads to greater engagement, satisfaction and advocacy.

Eric Brody

Eric Brody is President of Trajectory, a brand consulting and marketing agency specializing in creating momentum for customers, brands and businesses across the related categories of health, wellness and beauty.

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