The Power of Membership

This week, we’re shifting the focus to membership programs, a powerful tool for maintaining loyalty and creating a steady stream of business. Membership programs provide an easy mechanism to bundle a suite of products and services together that meet the basic, and in some cases, advanced, needs of customers.  They typically have a modest monthly price that is paid over the course of the year in which the customer consumes the services. Let’s take a look at the effects of membership programs in three healthcare fields.

Veterinary Medicine
In veterinary medicine, membership plans simply make it easier for vets to provide care to pets. According to the Bayer 2011 Veterinary Care Usage Study, pet owners overwhelmingly want quality veterinary care for their pets, but fiscal concerns often put price before loyalty. Many pet owners find themselves bouncing between lowest bidders for each procedure, instead of creating a lasting relationship with a particular doctor. By creating Veterinary wellness plans with an affordable price and level payment structure, Veterinarians can give pet owners a viable avenue to consistent, preventative care, while ensuring the pet receives the best care possible. It’s no surprise that over 1.5 million pet owners are currently enrolled in these programs.

Dentists face a similar challenge in terms of providing consistent and affordable care to a population that desperately needs it. Only about 50% of the U.S. population has dental coverage. The other half pays for each procedure out of pocket, and as a result, may go longer than recommended between check-ups, wait around for a favorable coupon deal from a site such as Groupon, or completely forego treatment. As time goes by, problems compound, creating the need for more expensive procedures down the line. But if a dentist creates a simple oral care plan (say, $25 a month for basic coverage), patients are much more likely to keep up with regular check-ups, saving them from serious problems in the long run. And once again, the benefit to the practice is loyalty. According to data compiled by Quality Dental Plan (an Extend Credit partner), a new patient is, over the course of the first year, worth $1,502 to a dental practice. Doing simple math on 20 new patients, that is an additional $30,000 in new revenue the first year, from patients that now have a great reason to remain loyal.

While many associate Cosmetic medicine with surgical procedures, many practices also offer non-surgical procedures such as Botox/XEOMIN, collagen, various peels and laser treatments. Some of the practices also operate med-spas to expand their offering including anti-aging treatments, dermabrasion, massage therapy and more. These elements can be a fantastic source of supplemental income, but once again, the challenge is loyalty. Especially in markets such as Beverly Hills, where both demand and supply of med-spa treatments are high, Cosmetic surgeons and med-spas need the extra edge. Compelling bundles of services that can be customized into personalized membership options help businesses both stand out from the competition, and motivate customers to consume services from one practice.

No matter how you look at it, membership offerings provide healthcare providers with a compelling way to get needed and/or desired services to their patients, while generating loyalty and a predictable monthly revenue stream to the practice.

Next week, we’ll take a look at a key element in executing a successful membership plan: training your staff to communicate value to the consumer.


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