Part 1: Customer Relationship Management – What are You Waiting For?

A Point of View from Guest Blogger Les Stern.

Sophisticated customer relationship management systems for healthcare organizations have been around for almost 15 years.  Yet only 15% or so of healthcare providers are using them.
Before we understand the benefits of CRM, let’s agree on what the three key components of a CRM program for healthcare organizations.
  • Capturing data from across the enterprise and consolidating it into a database
  • Analyzing the database to determine the best marketing opportunities and the best targets for those opportunities
  • Identifying the return on investment from those campaigns
 Here are the benefits of implementing a CRM solution:
  1. It improves the bottom line.  A CRM program allows you to target your efforts on your most profitable customers (consumers or physicians) and people who “look like” your most profitable customers.  For example, if you are doing a promotion for mammographies, CRM will allow you to target women who not only are most likely to need these services, but will also be more profitable customers for you. CRM also can improve your bottom line by lowering marketing expense.  Since you know the best people to market to, you don’t have to spend money marketing to others.
  2. It is quantifiable.  CRM allows you to track the return on investment of your programs.  By using control groups, you can measure the impact of the marketing campaign, and counter the objection that “they would have come anyway.”  As one hospital marketer recently told me: “It is a great way to substantiate that marketing decisions are valid, that marketing does move the needle, and that we need to continue to market, even in bad economies.”
  3. It enhances relationships (and your brand).  Your CRM program will enable you to send the right message to the right people at the right time, thereby allowing them to take better care of their health.  Programs such as these can boost customer loyalty.
  4. It can help you achieve your mission by improving the health of your community.   This may seem counterintuitive, since you may be reducing the number of people to whom you are marketing.  But think about it:  (1) Through targeting, you are sending your messages to the people who most need the services; and (2)  Improving the bottom line will free up resources for charity care and other initiatives to help you better serve your entire community.

So how do you go about setting up your CRM program?  That topic next time.

Les Stern is president of L. Stern & Associates.  He can be reached at 

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