As the CEO for In Touch EMR, a healthcare consulting and software business, I’ve found that personalizing your offers to existing clients lessens the burden of having to gain new customers. It not only lowers costs but significantly increases client satisfaction. Once my team and I started identifying the needs of our customers and tailoring our offers to them, In Touch EMR grew by 40 percent in 12 months — without any increase in the number of clients.
Back in 2007, we provided business consulting and marketing software to physical therapists, but we soon realized they needed help with scheduling patients, documenting visits and insurance billing. Our customers consist of private practice owners and clinics across the United States. Once we offered value-added services to them, we increased our revenue per customer.
There are three tenets of “getting personal” with clients: client segmentation, service diversification and proactive client communication. Combine all of these principles to get personal with clients. The result will be higher client satisfaction, increased referrals, happier staff and a profitable business. Here’s how to accommodate all three tenets and succeed in the new information-driven economy.
1. Tailor your marketing with “client segmentation.”
The best way to serve clients is to collect data points that identify exactly what the consumer needs and tailor your marketing efforts accordingly. This method, known as client segmentation, opens up exciting new possibilities for your business. Characteristics you can collect include the client’s annual income, preferred line of communication, buying history and more. Client segmentation allows our consulting business to tailor content according to these characteristics. Once we identified which clinics needed help with medical billing, attracting more patients, staffing/hiring, etc., we lowered marketing costs and had a higher rate of return with all our advertising and promotions. Try taking it a step further and use precise marketing messages which result in higher client satisfaction.
2. Provide service diversification.
Service diversification expands on your core business service. You can deliver a range of related services using a unique payment model. This allows a business to reduce or eliminate the dependence on referral sources from third-party companies. Oftentimes, clients that come to your business also search for related services. If you can anticipate these needs, why not offer those services in your own business? In fact, this concept has changed the way traditional medicine is practiced. A Time magazine article published in December 2014 and titled “Medicine Is About to Get Personal” states: “Pay frontline doctors a fixed monthly fee directly instead of through the byzantine insurance bureaucracy. Make the patient, rather than the paperwork, the focus of the doctor’s day. The result will be happier doctors, healthier patients and a striking reduction in wasted expense.”
This concept of service diversification can be applied to your clients, potential referrals and business partners. Ideally, your business would have a range of clients with different needs, including companies of all sizes, referring your business to a larger target audience.
3. Proactively communicate with your clients.
Staying in touch with your clients on an ongoing basis (even if they don’t respond to you immediately) is a simple way to get ongoing referrals. It may even take several touch points to get the desired response. Use different media to communicate. Clients can be reached by phone, SMS, email and snail mail. Don’t rely on just one touch point. If someone misses your message via email, they might get it via text, voicemail, etc. Let’s say you are reaching out to a previous client with the hopes of being referred to a colleague. Find as much contact information as possible. If you aren’t able to reach him/her through email, an SMS may be much more convenient for the client to respond to. Increase the avenues through which you can reach clients.
Proactive communication must be an ongoing process for your business. A client needs to be conditioned about the benefits of your product or service, which may take multiple follow-ups.