Understanding Customer Beliefs and Preferences

By Paul Meade, Patient Engagement Lead 

In 2022, there are hundreds of thousands of healthcare companies in the United States alone. With this level of competition, it can be immensely difficult for organizations to differentiate themselves from the pack and establish a loyal customer base. My advice for businesses looking for ways to set themselves apart is to focus on understanding customer beliefs and preferences. 

Creating Customized Solutions

In order for a healthcare organization to succeed long-term, every interaction must be about, not only meeting, but exceeding the patient’s needs. Whether you run a pharmaceutical company or a private healthcare practice, patient-centric care is no longer an option: it’s a full-on requirement. Patients expect individualized care, and the only way to achieve that is to conduct in-depth research into their opinions. Every patient is different and they have their individual preferences regarding methods of care, the medications they take, and the companies they choose to support. 

Most importantly, each patient has their own beliefs. Beliefs inform all of our decisions and they can originate from any interaction, no matter how small. For example, if a patient has an unpleasant conversation with a customer service representative, this can develop into a negative belief about the company as a whole. Completing a deep dive into the beliefs of customers can reveal whether or not they have a negative, neutral, or positive view of a company. With this information, companies can gauge where they stand within a customer’s mind and what needs to be improved about their practices and/or products.

Improving Public Health Through Customer Research

Ever since my partners and I started Thought Leader Select back in 2006, I’ve been on a mission to guide healthcare organizations through the complex process of getting to know their customers on a deeper level in order to develop better solutions and improve public health. The technology available back in 2006 was nowhere near what we have today, so much of our customer research was done via traditional methods, such as satisfaction surveys, phone and in-person meetings, and email campaigns. 

Fortunately, technology has advanced to the point where we no longer need to solely rely on these methods to get to know customers. My team now utilizes a wide variety of insight generation tools, including digital listening, artificial intelligence, online databases, and advanced data analysis. By utilizing algorithms and machine learning, we can analyze millions of data points to better understand a target segment of consumers. The information we help our clients gather serves as a guiding light for enhancing the patient experience and patient engagement, as well as creating new, innovative treatments that will reduce patient suffering and improve health outcomes. 

Empathy is at the Heart of Healthcare

It’s not enough to collect some data, implement a few changes, and call it a day. In order for a healthcare company to achieve sustainable success by conducting customer research, they need to employ empathy. If there’s not a genuine connection with the customer, the solutions developed will not improve one frequently overlooked aspect of the patient experience: the emotional journey. Taking simple steps, such as developing an on-call service to answer questions from patients, will improve both the patient experience and patient engagement. The best solutions are born from empathy. 

Learn More 

To find out more about how we can help your organization succeed and better serve your customers, please contact our team today. We have decades of experience in conducting customer research and generating actionable insights. 

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