While the core elements of excellent customer service are generally the same, there are stark differences in the way it is managed within the healthcare industry and outside of it. Customers typically do not want to visit their medical practitioner or the hospital; but when they have no choice their nerves can quickly be worked into a frenzy. Consequently, healthcare entities should go the extra mile in providing their patients with exceptional customer service. Below is a list of 5 tips that can enhance customer service strategies among healthcare entities:
Make their experience comfortable
A successful healthcare entity is dependent on happy patients, so it should show how much it values them by making them feel relaxed and at ease. Doctors have two roles to play in the healthcare industry: while their main task is to follow up on the health of patients, they are also key customer service ambassadors for the organisation. They must keep in mind that the anxiety of patients about their health will only be multiplied by poor customer service. Unfortunately, there has been a recent trend of patients speaking out about how their healthcare providers make them feel like a burdensome waste of time, even though they spend large sums of money for their consultations. While it is important that a healthcare organisation maintain a short waiting time, rushing patients out of their appointments is not a sustainable solution. It is the organisation's duty to go above and beyond to ensure that its patients leave feeling happy or at least comfortable.
Avoid mistakes as much as possible
Customers of other industries may be forgiving of a bad experience, but a healthcare patient typically will not be. This is because the information entrusted to the provider is extremely personal, sensitive and may even be life threatening. Consequently, they expect their issues to be given as much attention and care as possible, while securing their data in the process. They have little tolerance for mistakes, as even a small mistake can have a detrimental effect on their well being. However, if any lapses do occur, the healthcare provider must be quick to apologise and fix the error. Absolving an organisation of any responsibility and blame, and pointing fingers at patients, does not bode well for either party.
Communication is key
Healthcare professionals often forget that they are talking to regular people. There is a thin line between underestimating and overestimating a patient's intelligence, and it is often crossed. Doctors need to simplify things for their patients, while making sure not to make them feel inadequate, so much so that the patient should feel comfortable enough to ask their healthcare professional to repeat instructions as many times as needed until they understand them well. Additionally, they should provide them with the opportunity to discuss any concerns they may have. When diagnosing a patient, doctors should put forth the effort to understand the reasons for any health issues. The only way to do this is by asking questions and getting a clear background on a patient's health habits.
Shorten response times
While this may not always be in the doctor's hands, healthcare providers should find ways to reduce the waiting time for test results and treatment plans. A long waiting period often brings a patient's life to a standstill and leaves them feeling aggravated and helpless. Therefore, healthcare organisations should work alongside testing and imaging centers to provide fast and direct services.
Follow up with patients
It has been well established that patients want to feel that their doctors care. This can be accomplished very easily by proactively sending out routine follow up messages to monitor patient health. Another way to achieve this is to provide customers with various points of contact that they can use to speak to their provider for minor inquiries or issues. Not only do such solutions improve the customer experience, but they are also efficient ways to cement customer loyalty while decreasing the number of follow-up appointments in the process.