Ghosting is a phenomenon that’s just as scary as experiencing paranormal activity itself. It’s when people stop engaging and disappear without a trace, leaving you with questions as to why, but with no explanation at all. They’re just gone.

Ghosting is a term that was first introduced to the dating world a few years ago to add a definition to these inexplicable disappearances. We’ve found that ghosting isn’t just limited to romantic relationships either. Businesses that rely on consumer engagement—like healthcare organizations—can experience ghosting, too.

There are many reasons why health plan members and patients may ghost you. From operating on deceptive data to telling the wrong story, here are the top four reasons why your members and patients have stopped engaging and what you can do to avoid future paranormal activity.

#1—Member Abrasion

Too many touch points from a single organization is exhausting to recipients. When messages are frequent and disjointed, people don’t feel like unique individuals—they feel like they are receiving batch-and-blast communications that are checking a box rather than driving positive outcomes.

This happens a lot when organizations are running multiple programs, but aren’t coordinated. This means the same member or patient could be receiving multiple messages from an organization about a variety of topics, rather than receiving one well-coordinated communication.

The fix? Don’t overwhelm your members and patients with disjointed and excessive communications.A multi-modal approach can work well to engage your members and patients as long as you’ve created a coordinated communication plan to make the most of your touch points.

#2—Deceptive Data

We know healthcare organizations have the best intentions to use member and patient data to drive health engagement and motivate people to better health action. More and more healthcare organizations are understanding the power of healthcare consumer data and working to utilize that data for the best outcomes possible. At the core of an effective engagement strategy is high quality, complete member and patient data.

If the data you are using is incomplete or siloed across your organization, you aren’t getting a complete picture of your members and patients. This means you may be engaging the right people, but it’s likely you are sending the wrong types of messages at the wrong time. And what happens when people receive messages that don’t speak to them? They ignore it and disappear.

The fix? Implement a data management strategy that unifies siloed data and updates your data to create a fuller picture of each member. When people receive a personalized message at their preferred time they are less likely to ignore it and are more likely to engage and take action.

#3—Lack of Personalization

There’s nothing worse than feeling like just another number. This is especially true when it comes to healthcare—what’s more personal than an individual’s health? Healthcare consumers want to feel like the unique individuals that they are—and messages from their health plan and providers should reflect that.

When people receive messages that don’t resonate or feel generic, they’re likely to dismiss them, disengage, and take the opposite action of what the message intends. Lack of personalization often drives a lack of action.

The fix? People are demanding an Amazon-like experience from their health plans and providers. As healthcare becomes more data-driven, personalization of messages and channels becomes the norm (and a lot easier, too). Take the time to treat members and patients as individuals, create unique messages, and reach out with relevant communications. As a result, you’ll see a spike in engagement and a rise in people taking the intended action.

#4—Boring Stories

People respond to messages differently—there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to healthcare communications. Some people love fact and figures, others love a well-crafted story that moves their emotions. If you get the story wrong? The message won’t resonate and they’ll go silent.

Even worse, you may tell a story that doesn’t have a clear call to action or doesn’t motivate people to action. When people don’t have confidence or clear direction about the next step, they are much more likely to do nothing than try to figure out the next step on their own.

The fix? Tell a clear, concise, and compelling story. It’s important to know the difference between people and what matters to them. There’s a lot you can learn about varying your messaging to discover what kind of story compels someone to action. Once you understand what matters to individuals, you can tailor the story you tell to have the most influence.

Ghosting is a real problem that can cause extreme pain for healthcare organizations working to engage their members and patients. However, with the right tools, a coordinated strategy, and a drive to keep the individual at the center of engagement, you can drive out the paranormal and increase positive health action.