How Australians Find and Choose Health Services

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Click-to-call is the new house call for Australians looking for health service providers, as Aussies turn to mobile to find help for everything from toothaches to tendonitis. We’ve put those intent-rich moments under the microscope and have new insights into how practitioners can connect.

For many Australians, “health is wealth” are words to live by. Even for a one-off visit to the dentist, they pick up their smartphones to help locate and research reputable professionals for treatment.

In partnership with market research firm TNS Australia, Google conducted research to better understand how Australians choose health service providers—specifically dentists, chiropractors, and physiotherapists. This is the latest installation in our comprehensive micro-moments guide for marketers and businesses.

We looked at where Australians go for information about providers, what they value in a practice, and how mobile can help foster a more trusting patient-practitioner relationship.

1. Where-can-I-get-treatment moments

When ailing Aussies need spinal adjustments, sports injury massages, clinical Pilates, or those dreaded root canals, smartphones are their first sources of relief. Among smartphone owners, 77% have used their smartphones to find local health services in the past six months.

In those initial moments of need, people look for information, advice, and where they can get treatment. On average, Australians conduct 3.1 searches when finding a new health service provider.2 Top searches focus on availability, prices and quotes, and directions.

Local convenience is key as “near me” searches for health-related services have doubled since 2015. People don’t want to travel too far for treatment, particularly in an emergency, so they’re on the lookout for local practices they can get to easily.

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How to win where-can-I-get-treatment moments

  • Be there for local searches: Showing up for “near me” searches will help your business be considered. Make it easy for people searching on mobile to find your office by bidding on location-specific keywords and using location extensions.
  • Show up for a variety of terms: Treatment-specific keywords are a must, as are keywords that reference specific preferences, such as “open weekends,” “online appointments,” and “comfortable waiting room.”
  • Showcase the essentials: Health service providers can be highly specialised. Be clear about available treatments and the services you offer in your online business listing. Also include up-to-date business hours, a phone number, and a street address.

2. Who-can-I-trust moments

Once options are narrowed down to those that are convenient and offer the right services, consumers do more in-depth research to decide on a practitioner. After recommendations from friends and family, online search is the preferred method for Australians researching new health service providers. On average, Aussies consider two health service providers.2Helping people choose your service is about building trust and being transparent.

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In these moments, people are looking for high levels of specialisation, patient testimonies, proven results, and a sense of professionalism from providers’ websites. These factors help people feel confident in your ability to deliver tangible results.

Transparency and simplicity are key; people don’t want to feel lost in a mire of medical jargon or vague pricing. They expect to find clear, relevant information. Seventy-five percent of users reported that information sourced online through their smartphone helped them make decisions about local professional services.1

How to win who-can-I-trust moments

  • Include reviews on your business listing: Allowing patients to post reviews on your online business listing is a great way to foster trust.
  • Make a positive first impression: Your website is a patient’s virtual window into your office, so make it inviting. Upload clear, high-quality photos of your office and write detailed treatment descriptions with benefits clearly communicated. Include a page with detailed practitioner bios, qualifications, and photos to help people see how your practice aligns with their personal needs.
  • Make sure the price is right: Highlight insurance coverage and costs for specific treatments to give patients the assurance they need to confidently book an appointment.

3. I’m-ready-to-book moments

Patience may be a virtue, but it is not a trait you should expect from your patients. The days of filling out contact forms and waiting on callbacks are behind us; people want to be able to go straight from researching to contacting a provider in an instant.

Talking on the phone adds a comfortable, human element to the process: 66% of Australians say it is extremely or very important to have the ability to call a business directly from a smartphone search results page. Aussies we spoke to also liked the convenience of booking an appointment online, as it provides more flexibility and control in fitting treatment into their schedules.

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How to win I’m-ready-to-book moments

  • Mobile-optimise your website: Test your site for mobile-friendliness to ensure that the booking process is simple and seamless. Almost half (43%) of health service customers wish more businesses had mobile-optimised sites.2
  • Offer convenient conversation starters: Aussies researched your practice on mobile, so why not allow them to start the conversation there? Click-to-call buttons and click-to-message ads help people contact you from their smartphones.
  • Shortcut the online booking process: Have an online booking tool so people can book appointments instantly. Showing which practitioners are available on specific days and times adds another layer of convenience and personal service.

Australians want to know their health is in good hands. When they turn to their smartphones to find new providers, make it easy for them to choose you. Give them the thorough treatment they deserve even before they enter your practice by featuring clear and easy-to-understand pricing and treatment information on your site, making it easy to get in touch, and keeping the booking process simple.

Source: Think With Google — Micro-moments Guide

Need help on finding and choosing the best health service provider for you? Search at Top4, the new Australian social media, business and brand marketing platform. Top4 connect trusted local businesses and national brands with Australian customers who are actively looking for their services or products. Bringing together complete business profiles, curated content and social network integration, Top4 helps businesses and brands create engaging customer experiences in a user-friendly, versatile and cost-effective way.

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