Millennials are wired differently, having come of age in a digital era. While some might call this generation “entitled,” it’s undeniable that millennials are highly informed, with access to a wealth of information and on-demand goods and services right at their fingertips. Mobile devices are a lifeline to almost every activity: 63% of millennials shop on their phone daily, 72% have used Tinder, and 78% use their devices to find employment.
So what does all this mean for healthcare professionals? Millennials are now the largest living generation in the United States. This means they’ll soon make up the majority of the patient population as well as the workforce. And believe it or not, millennials value health and wellness more than previous generations: 73% say they would rather be healthy than wealthy. So, if your goal is to run a thriving practice for many years to come, your practice may need to undergo a millennial makeover.
But fear not! Appealing to millennials isn’t all that complicated. Further, the “upgrades” you make to your practice will bring long-term benefits to your bottom line while improving the satisfaction of your entire patient base. If you’re not convinced, read on for four undeniable benefits to making your practice millennial friendly.
1. Millennials are as loyal as they are discerning
Like a knee-jerk reaction, a majority of millennials perform extensive online research before making any kind of purchase. The same goes for decisions about healthcare. When millennials conduct these searches, it seems that authentic patient feedback factors highly when choosing one provider over another. In fact, 61% of all patients use reviews to choose a provider, so in order to even register on the millennial radar, you need to have a strong online presence and ensure that your practice’s information appears correctly and prominently on the most searched consumer sites. And if you don’t have a reputation management strategy, now’s a good time to start.
You might ask, why go through all of this trouble? One word: loyalty. Loyalty is getting harder to come by in an era of comparison shopping. Millennials, however, are more likely than baby boomers to be brand loyal, and 81% of all patients who browse sites like Yelp are looking to select a practice they can visit multiple times. If you’re going to make the effort to attract new patients, you may as well invest your time and energy in loyal millennials.
2. Millennials pay it forward with reviews
Another major benefit of engaging the millennial crowd is that they can score you well-deserved online reviews. How? A study by Pew Research Center showed that 71% of consumers age 18–49 provide reviews, and 86% of consumers shared their feedback after having had a good experience. Considering that more than half of patients today begin their search for care by reading online reviews, millennial “oversharing” has become an important currency in healthcare.
But remember, in order for millennials to review you, you need to win their hearts. While delivering quality care should be your first priority, focusing on providing great customer service can go a long way with this crowd. A whopping 96% of negative reviews are due to customer service issues (e.g., staff brusqueness), which can be easily avoided.
3. Millennial-friendly tools makes for a more efficient office
Communication preferences are changing for all generations: Texting has become the most dominant form of communication for Americans under 50. Millennials especially avoid making phone calls since it results in hold times and inhibits the ability to multitask or “multi-app.” So it makes sense that 74% of millennials value online scheduling and 44% of all patients prefer doctors who offer online scheduling. Not having online scheduling is equivalent to a “closed” sign in many millennials’ minds.
Sure you may roll your eyes, but consider that unnecessary phone calls equally hamper staff productivity too. Not to mention that a primary care provider with open slots in their schedule is missing out on revenue — about $100–$150 per slot, according to Physician’s Practice. The same technology that patients are increasingly demanding — online appointment requests, accurate online practice information, and text appointment reminders — can free up staff time and fill gaps in your schedule even when no one’s manning the phones. Implementing these simple upgrades to your online strategy means a stronger in-office experience, which, in turn, means more satisfied, returning patients.
4. Digital behavior is contagious
Millennial demands may be spearheading the digitization of healthcare, but they’re not the only ones embracing more convenient tools. Far from it. In fact, more than 50% of patients of all generations say online and mobile health tools make them more satisfied with their care. This same percentage is willing to switch providers if it means receiving better responsiveness and convenience. The last few years have seen an uptick in digital care-seeking behaviors, even from older generations. For example:
- 70% of seniors are requesting to refill prescriptions online.
- 67% of seniors now prefer to book appointments online.
- A majority of people 65+ use health tech at least a few times a month.
These age-agnostic statistics paint a clear picture for the future of the healthcare industry. Patients want convenient ways to find, choose, and get care. Just as digital trends have permanently disrupted industries like retail and travel, the healthcare sector is soon to follow.
In sum, investing in millennial-friendly tech can grow your base of loyal patients, help generate online reviews, and even improve your office’s productivity. Is your practice millennial friendly? Test the strength of your online presence with our free diagnostic tool today.
Sources referenced in this blog post:
- RBC Capital Markets Consumer Health & Information Technology Survey, December 2014
- Health Online 2013, Pew Research Internet Project.