Patient communication is more challenging than ever because we have four generations with different communication preferences: traditionalists, boomers, Gen X and millennials. Whether you are following up on a procedure or telling them about a new product, how you communicate makes a difference.
Thankfully, there’s common ground for patient communications among the different generations, so that’s a good place to start when crafting your message(s). Blogs, posting in social media, eblasts and other patient communications should be more than just specials and pictures. Tips and your views count. Some common values that you can consider are:
- Good health. News and tips for health improvement are always good to communicate to patients
- Self-esteem and body image. Most people enjoying being the best they can be, so communications about products and procedures are welcome
- Lifestyle trends. Today’s lifestyle news ranges from radical to intelligent choices, and people enjoy hearing a doctor’s opinion on the new trends.
- Medical news. Internet offers a host of plastic surgery and/or product news. Patients and potential patients appreciate your views on this as it relates to them.
In the past, generation gap referred to the gap between parents and children. Today, the generation gap is more about the preferences that each generation developed because of the life they experienced growing up. Patient communication topics are just a starting place. You also need to think about your patient communication preferences for each generation. That includes the content (details vs. summary), the mode and the follow up.
Traditionalist Patient Communication Preferences
Most traditionalists (born 1922-1945) prefer mail and phone communications. While a some have computer know-how, online communication doesn’t come to mind first.
Boomer Patient Communication Preferences
While many baby boomers (born 1946-1964) like email communications, not all computer savvy. They often like cell phones, voice mail and landlines. This generation enjoys doing things in groups and looks for referrals from friends and family. They make up the largest group of new users on Facebook.
Generation X Patient Communication Preferences
This generation (born 1965-1981) likes to be connected to peers and friends at all times via their cell phone. Their communication preferences tend to be texting, IM, cell phones, Facebook and Twitter. When information is pushed to them, they want enough relevant details to make a buying decision.
Millennials Patient Communication Preferences
Millennials (born 1981-2001) were the first generation that grew up with computers. They take pictures, selfies, like social media and texting. They like bite-size chunks for information that is relevant for them. Because they are computer savvy, they can access information electronically when they want it.
Marketing is challenging for medical practices, but it’s an important function for plastic surgeons and medical spas. Many things need to balance, especially when dealing with the preferences of multiple generations. If you find it difficult to achieve the right balance, contact PUMC. We enjoy designing patient communication plans that are just right for your practice.