Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Customer Relationship Strategies in Health Industry - Role of CRM

Improve physician segmentation and targeting

With the proliferation of multiple channels there is the need to be able to gather information from multiple sources to better target physicians and maximize sales impact. Only a CRM lets you respond quickly to changing market conditions by providing analytics that are built into the sales force automation and marketing applications, to better target physicians and maximize sales impact. You can use the applications to realign your sales force quickly, validate an alignment before deploying it in production, and model several alignment strategies. Concurrently, you can maintain historical views of alignments and territories to comply with federal regulations. To help unify your sales efforts, the application supports cross-functional processes such as customer targeting, samples and territory and objectives management. The application can be used both online and offline, the sales representatives can easily create target lists to plan routes and calls, add appointments to their calendars, invite medical education event attendees, and more, thus improving their overall sales effectiveness.

Healthcare practitioners and managers increasingly find themselves in clinical situations where they have to think fast and process myriad diagnostic test results, medications and past treatment responses in order to make decisions. Effective problem solving in the clinical environment or classroom simulated lab depends on a healthcare professional's immediate access to fresh information. Unable to consult a library for information, the healthcare practitioner must learn to effectively manage knowledge while thinking on their toes.

CRM and Knowledge management

CRM also supports Knowledge Management (KM) and in turn KM holds the key to this dilemma in the healthcare environment. KM places value on the tacit knowledge that individuals hold within an institution and often makes use of IT to free up the collective wisdom of individuals within an organization. Healthcare Knowledge Management: Issues, Advances and Successes will explore the nature of KM within contemporary healthcare institutions and associated organizations. It will provide readers with an understanding of approaches to the critical nature and use of knowledge by investigating healthcare-based KM systems. Designed to demystify the KM process and demonstrate its applicability in healthcare, this text offers contemporary and clinically-relevant lessons for future organizational implementations.

CRM and Integrated Delivery Systems

Hospitals and integrated delivery systems (IDS) are constantly seeking ways to form the perfect triad: (1) enhance revenues, (2) reduce costs, and (3) provide state-of-the-art patient care. One of the methods used to bring in additional dollars is promoting a multifaceted range of hospital services, such as lab, imaging, rehabilitation, home health care, cardiology, etc. Hospitals exploit a number of marketing strategies such as advertising, news bulletins, field representatives, and health fairs.

The first thing that people need to understand about “brokering strengths” is that one cannot do it de novo. You must have an existing relationship with the customer. In the case of a community-based hospital setting, it is usually not an issue because there are existing rapports with the local providers that may use the hospital for one or several components. Unlike the black-and-white capabilities of advertising and newsletters, the marketing person puts a human touch behind the interaction. He or she needs to function as more than just a vendor of services. He or she must make available several components in such a way that these capabilities contribute to an expansion of the doctor’s success. The term used to define this marketing wherewithal is “cross-selling.”

CRM and Cross selling

Hospital cross-selling is a potentially powerful weapon—and it has become a necessary one due to the competitive pressures from commercial companies and the necessity of growing hospital revenues. Administrators task many of their departments to significantly grow revenues each fiscal year, and the field person plays a large role in that initiative. So Hospitals can cross-sell to their laboratory chains, Wellness Centers and others.

The lab generates around 70 percent of clinical determinations in a patient’s chart. This decision making, however, increases to 80percent to 90 percent if one combines diagnostic imaging. Consequently, from a volume and profitability point of view, it is understandable why hospitals want to market both entities. But it doesn’t rest with lab and imaging. The attraction of selling “one-stop shopping” is mighty marketing fodder. There is often an entire suite of services that the hospital wants to market to area providers.

CRM as Expanding the Relationship

Most industry analyses show that it costs about six times more to acquire a new customer than to retain a current one. On the other side of the coin, it is widely accepted that the cost of losing a customer must include all of the hidden costs of lifetime potential spending, not to mention bad press. Therefore, from a business standpoint, it makes sense not only to do what is necessary to retain current customers but also to expand relationships with those customers. In addition, many astute business leaders strongly believe that if a customer relationship is not advancing, then it soon may be retreating. The field representative plays a significant role in building and growing the bonds between doctor’s offices and the hospital. He or she should aim to intensify the affiliation after the initial sale is over. Cross-selling strategies embody a terrific opportunity to realize both organic growth and help in advancing the rapport.

CRM and Up selling

CRM is not only about Marketing new products or selling via channels, it’s also about:

Selling the right products to the right members at the right time.
Personalizing member communications.
Measuring cross-selling and up-selling in relation to the totality of the member experience.
Increasing member lifetime value and profit per member.

Customer Analytics via CRM assessment is very critical in retaining customers in healthcare. As the role of today's contact centers continues to evolve, the need for successful cross-sell and upsell programs, strategies, tactics and agent sales performance becomes increasingly important. To improve results, contact center agents need to grow beyond service thinking and become sales successes using customized CRM.

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