Get them to return with rewards

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A. In these trying and difficult times as a Medicare supplier, it's essential that you implement new procedures into your business to maintain patient loyalty. Relationships have a tendency to drift out of view when there is no ongoing contact. Try developing a frequent communications plan for your existing customer base to generate brand awareness and to reactivate the relationship. Why not try implementing patient loyalty programs, such as earning points or giveaways on products purchased for cash within your store? Stay in touch with existing clients by sending out satisfaction questionnaires or surveys. These small adjustments to your existing business can help ensure patients visit your location when in need of medical supplies a second and third time.

As consumers, we consistently see loyalty programs being offered by various businesses. Why should your store be any different? These programs are developed to encourage local buying behavior with a rewards card similar to a credit or debit card. By presenting the card, the purchaser is entitled to some sort of discount or an allotment of points that can be used with future purchases. Rather than losing potential cash business to a pharmacy chain or retail outlet, start using a loyalty program to increase patient consistency.

Satisfied customers will usually return and buy more, tell others about their experiences, and may be willing to pay a premium price for the privilege of doing business with a supplier they trust.

An effective customer satisfaction survey program should focus on measuring customer perceptions of how well the company is delivering its services to existing patients. The questions should focus on important factors such as service promptness, staff responsiveness and understanding of the customer's problems. The most important thing about conducting a survey is what you do once you have answers. Analyze the return results and value the customer's opinion to make necessary changes in your policies.

Jennifer Sowards is COO of HME Providers, Inc. Reach her at or 321-267-7576 ext. 222.