Medichecks CCO Helen Marsden talks to Post Office Magazine about our innovative service.
Online platform Medichecks offers blood tests and health screening through the post - Helen Marsden, its chief commercial officer, explains the attraction.
You started your career in the City - how did you become involved with Medichecks?
I spent more than 20 years as an investment manager, but I’m fascinated with health. For example, the effects of low vitamin D levels, or what bloodwork might indicate a thyroid problem. However, it’s difficult to access health screening services without a GP referral, especially given the pressure that the NHS is under. I had a look online to see if anyone was offering this service already and came across a very small business at the time. I spoke to the owners and made an offer to invest in the company.
Can you tell us how the process works?
Customers simply visit the website and decide what tests they would like done. The kit is sent to their home - most just require a finger-prick test. We give our customers the opportunity to have their test kit delivered using the Guaranteed Next Day delivery service from Royal Mail during the checkout process. Many do select this option as those buying a blood test are often doing so because they are worried or because they want to have the test results as quickly as possible. If people choose express delivery, we make sure the test kit gets to them the next day and back to our lab the following day. Customers then get an email to let them know that their results are available, and they access them by using the MyMedichecks dashboard, which is a secure online server.
Why do you think Medichecks is so popular?
People are realising that there is an alternative to waiting two weeks for a GP appointment, and then even longer referrals and results. With Medichecks the tests are done in days, you get your results online and you’ve got them forever. We offer convenience and speed, and charge a fraction of what a private doctor would, which is one of the benefits of being based online. Additionally, we offer a nationwide service - even if you live in a really remote area. You’ll still have access to a postbox.
What happens if test results are atypical?
Abnormal results are reviewed by two doctors on the team. Our advice will often be that customers will need to go and see their GP. In special cases we pick up the phone to talk to people directly. We’re dealing with sensitive subject matters, so having people there to talk to customers and advise them is vital.
How do you attract new customers?
We invest heavily in digital marketing - such as SEO and Google Adwords. We also write blogs as we understand the need to provide useful and engaging content. We write about current health trends as well as our tests and packages. We might tell them, for example, about vitamin B12, and how this deficiency might be affecting them. We send regular emails too, which include offers and discounts.
In what way do you collect and use data?
Right from the very start we have used our own bespoke back-office system - a database that drives everything we do - and the data is monitored so we can segment our customer group. For every single test that we sell, we know the customers age, their gender, and we’re even beginning to track the reason that they wanted the tests. This helps us to really understand who uses our service, and will help with more targeted communications.
How do you ensure that you are continually adapting and improving your service?
An online business has to be very agile. We’ll never stop gathering customer feedback and updating what we do as a result. When I first got involved in Medichecks, the business was an online catalogue of blood tests, and we discovered people had too much choice - so we simplified our services. Then we wrote more consumer-friendly test descriptions, moving away from the language of the lab. Consumers are the ones buying our products, so they have to be at the heart of our offering.
“we offer convenience and speed, and charge a fraction of what private doctor would. And we are nationwide-even if you live in a remote area, you’ll still have access to a postbox”