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A Lesson I Learnt about Marketing in Hospital…
Wherever I go, I look out for great examples of marketing and customer service. I see some pretty awful ones too.
We’ve shared a few times on this blog when companies got it oh so wrong, so I thought I’d share a little story with you this week about a lady I met in hospital who got it very right.
I was recently in Stratford-upon-Avon at the town centre hospital for Jo to have a minor op.
It’s a nice place, but my God it’s hard to navigate. We got to the car park thanks to Google Maps, and proceeded to work out how to pay and where to go.
It’s one of life’s little challenges, isn’t it? A car park in a town you don’t visit that often.
We paid with cash, I grumbled a little about not carrying cash as we’re a digital agency and how they were ‘lucky’ we had some change in a bag in the car, and then we headed off to find the entrance.
First issue: there was no signage.
The car park we’d found was at the back (I think) and all we could see were red bricks and the name of the hospital. We were a little lost but went to the side of the building.
We found a door that didn’t scream ‘entrance’ and popped our head in to find something that resembled a foyer.
Needless to say, we didn’t need that part of the hospital, and we were sent out of the door to turn “right and right again” – and there, around the back (or the front?!), was the entrance.
Big doors and large signs – we’d made it.
The letter we had received mentioned buildings and departments, but all we had was an entrance, and there wasn’t really a place to ask now. It was a very quiet building, actually.
Muttering about poor signage, I led the way through the doors and was met with nothing apart from some stairs and a charity collector.
Confused and bewildered…
We obviously emited a signal of “Help! We’re in need of directions,” and the charity collector came towards us.
The elderly lady, who was clearly used to lost visitors, asked us which part of the hospital we were looking for, and offered some help.
She not only knew where the building was, she also walked us out of the building and towards the right one!
That wasn’t her job, so why did she do it?
Her directions were spot on – and she clearly knew how to get people from A to B via F and A, and we soon found ourselves sat waiting for our appointment.
An odd journey in a somewhat strange hospital, but we’d made it on time to sit and wait for the hospital staff to call us in.
After the appointment, we headed back towards the foyer so we could then turn left and left again and head back to the car park at the back/front/side of the building.
On the way out we passed the spot where the kind lady from the charity had helped us. We’d already thanked her, and I wanted to say “Thanks, we found it,” but she’d gone.
She wasn’t there. Maybe she went for a comfort break? No matter, I walked towards the door all ready to go, and then something strange happened…
I turned back, headed to the charity bucket that was still on the table, and deposited the rest of the change I’d dug out from my bag for the car park.
I didn’t need to, she wasn’t there, and at no point did the lady ask me to, but I donated The rest of the change I had to charity.
- I wanted to thank the lady.
- I wanted to pay her back.
- I wanted to say, “Hey, kind lady – thanks for your help.” This was the only way I could do it.
It’s funny, isn’t it? When someone helps you, you feel compelled to help them.
But what does this have to do with marketing?
Had that lady decided to sit behind her desk and ignore us because ‘it wasn’t her job’, she wouldn’t have had the change from me in her bucket. Her entire reason for being there was to get my money, but she didn’t ask for it.
Instead she did exactly what I teach people to do with their marketing – she gave away free content!
Directions to the department were exactly what I needed right there and then, and she was the one who gave them. She didn’t need to, and she didn’t sell either.
There was no rattling of the bucket or knowing nod to her table – she just helped me for free because she could.
And if you really think about it, she wasn’t even ready to accept the sale when I came back… but she still got it!
Being nice, helpful, useful,and just being there got her a sale. Your marketing can do that too.
Don’t exist just for the sale – exist for the good of your leads and prospects!
Spend time helping the very people who will buy from you, and let them decide when to buy from you. And do it whilst you’re working away already.
- Emailed some great help to a client? Turn it into a blog.
- Had a good 121 training session? Record a short video with some tips from it and share it.
- At a networking event? Help someone get a service from someone else you know.
Being useful and helpful can really pay dividends to your business, and if you do it as a by-product of your day-to-day job like the lady in the hospital, you’ll be on to a winner.
Years ago I spent all day on Twitter helping local businesses in Warwick to find great places to work, rest and play. I was a van driver and knew a lot of the businesses around town at the time.
I’m still getting leads and sales from those people even now, and I’ve started gaining loads of interest from the networking event I run in Leamington from the most random of places and conversations too.
Be a useful resource and a helpful person where you can. It’s a lesson I learnt in hospital.
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