5 Reasons Healthcare Contact Centers Should Embrace Social Media

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As social media grows in importance, it’s clear that patient experience doesn’t begin or end in the four walls of the clinic, hospital, or doctor’s office. In today’s connected world, patient engagement can happen online anytime, anywhere. That means opportunity—if you have omnichannel contact center infrastructure.

Nearly half of U.S. adults say they value social media-related sources for healthcare information, according to a 2017 MARS Consumer Health study—although they may not always trust the information. The average American spends more than two hours each day on social media, whether browsing Facebook or Twitter, catching up on YouTube, or engaging with friends on Instagram or Snapchat. Many share medical experiences, looking for information about providers, and scouting out symptoms online before even seeking care.

Still, time is a problem: How do under-staffed, under-resourced healthcare organizations find the time to pursue a social media strategy? So far, many have not. According to one 2017 report, only about one quarter of the nation’s hospitals are using at least one form of social media.

Through your contact center, you can augment the care experience through multiple channels—including social media. For example, you could provide care reminders on Facebook, participate in online discussion and proactively address comments in online forums, among other tactics.

Five ways social media benefits the patient experience

Social media presents an untapped opportunity for most healthcare organizations, but the benefits are becoming increasingly clear. The following are the ways a social media strategy can help your organization thrive.

1.  Build a positive brand image and counteract negative perceptions. Consumers often take to their favorite platform to rant or rave over their daily experiences—and medical encounters are no exception. When your contact center includes social media monitoring and interaction, you can proactively respond to complaints, offer encouraging solutions and provide information.  

2. Educate patients. Forty percent of consumers say that information on social media affected how someone coped with a condition, their view of diet and exercise, and their selection of a physician. Rather than being inspired to act by brochures, they prefer to ‘read the fine print’ in video form, in infographics shared on Twitter or Facebook, or other visual content that brings medical information to life.  

3. Extend and enrich the patient experience. When a patient gets the care reminder they need on the platform of their choice, they’re more likely to actually see it. For example, a patient could opt to have medication reminders sent via text—or via Facebook Messenger. Care reminders help reduce readmissions and can also contribute to preventive health goals.

4. Contribute to ROI on other contact center investments. Today’s contact center technologies, including Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise, make it easier to integrate social channels into contact center operations. With omnichannel communications, you can provide a consistently positive experience for consumers no matter what channel they prefer while optimizing the return on investment in your technology.

5. Uncover patient insights. With the right team of communicators and data analysts at the helm, social media can provide valuable data about patient behavior and attitudes to support your larger patient experience strategies.

How can you turn the tide? For starters, consider the multi-pronged benefits of integrating social media into your contact center operations. By unifying communications strategies under the banner of improved patient experiences, you can effectively reach patients where they are—even when it involves an emoji.


 

May 24, 2018