What can you do to ensure your patients receive great customer service? You could make your wellness department similar to spas that put patients at ease and make them visit again. Or, you could hire healthcare BPO for patient-centric answering services and billing support that makes operations hassle-free and quick for both hospital staff and care seekers.
Significance of customer service in healthcare
Excellent treatment and care are significant in the healthcare sector because both patients and companies live and die depending on the quality of the care provided and received and the communications between patients and staff pre and post-treatment.
Every touchpoint between customers/ patients and the healthcare organization can be a customer satisfaction parameter. From reception help desk to behind-the-scenes roles, every employee in a hospital is a customer service representative. For frontline support that includes direct interaction with customers or patients, outsourced BPO services are more customer-focused, optimizing patients’ experiences.
Why people mainly consider retail and hospitality brands for great customer service?
Speaking of good customer service, most people think of retail and hospitality brands, but rarely a healthcare brand. Why? What makes customer satisfaction so apparent in the retail and hospitality industry that healthcare companies don’t have? Finding answers to these questions is important in today’s healthcare landscape, where customer service can make or break a brand. Let’s take a look at some factors that set the retail sector apart.
The lifeline of restaurant and hospitality business is the repeat buyers. The marketers deliver experience that tempts customers to come back and also refer to their friends and family. However, one advantage retail sector has over healthcare is that you can return or replace it and get a refund if you get a bad product. The healthcare business doesn’t work that way. It would help if you were right the first time and every time. With healthcare, patients will refer a hospital or physician to others if they receive good care and customer service every time.
For a better customer experience, the retail companies demonstrate consistent competency in the collection of products, website user-friendliness, and delivery. Hospitals, clinics, and medical caregivers have no choice but to provide a consistent patient care and support.
Customers name retail brands or travel agencies when asked about amazing customer experience because they get the convenience of communication. Customers enjoy the convenience of connecting to a brand over the phone, messaging apps, or live chat. If healthcare institutions want to provide that level of customer service, outsourcing phone support, social media support and live chat support services can help.
Serving customers in real-time without postponement is the key to improved customer service. Unhindered and complete accessibility to support keeps retail brands ahead. A hospital business can pave the way towards retention and loyalty by providing round-the-clock availability. Most BPO services for healthcare ensure 24/7 answering services and virtual reception support. Fully informed answering services from expert employees can boost patient satisfaction rates by multiple times.
Retail customers are running after the latest trends, whether about new arrivals or the latest customer care platforms. So, the brands make sure that they follow the trends and provide products and services accordingly. When it comes to healthcare, there are trends in treatments, medical science, and functions. For instance, the momentum grows to outsource hospital tech functions and ancillary tasks in 2021. There are different healthcare branches like pharmaceutical, pathology, insurance, public medical offices, clinics, fitness centers, physiotherapy clinics and laboratories that relied on healthcare BPO. For better customer experience, most of the on-demand services to be outsourced are:
- Prescription filling and re-filling
- Pathology and laboratory billing services
- Healthcare operations
- Telehealth services
- Teleradiology services
- Post patient care coordinator
- Insurance eligibility and verification
- Patient liaison
- Medical records management, and so on
With advanced treatments, patients want a better experience. However, customer service is more than just being polite and professional. Good customer service requires competency to meet patient’s expectations while treating and curing them. If a patient is getting surgery, it is the hospital’s responsibility to make the patient believe that he will get the best care ever. Many medical care providers also have processes to extract post-discharge feedback from patients, making them feel valued.
What are the most common complaints you hear from patients?
The most common complaints and grievances that patients have from hospitals are:
- Emergency calls remain unanswered
- No support during odd hours
- Rude reception services
- Not getting enough time with physicians
- Too long waiting hours
- Confusion with billing and insurance claim processing
- Appointment scheduling and rescheduling difficulties
Apparently, to a healthcare giver, long wait times, impolite behavior, delayed customer response might be little things, but these can often go beyond control like too much paperwork, appointment overlapping, etc. Patients are not here to see what is going on behind the scenes like shortage of workers, contingency planning for crisis, extra training for new process implementation. If you want to ensure the patients is satisfied with your service at your clinic, you have to play active role to safeguard the interest of the patients and deliver world-class services.
What have we learned from patient satisfaction surveys?
The often-overlooked feature of delivering healthcare is practicing good customer service. According to patient surveys, the factors determining satisfaction are staff attitudes, medical facilities and pre-and post-treatment experiences. Healthcare providers and researchers have understood that patients also need an optimized experience like what customers get from travel companies and retailers.
Surveys have also pointed out how good services and measurable data offered by Healthcare BPO KPIs are directly proportional to patient satisfaction. Healthcare facilities of all sizes and types partner up with BPOs and incorporate service standards that set expectations.
Outsourcing is the solution for quality answering support, reception services, billing and coding, claim processing, telehealth and tele-pharmacy support, appointment scheduling, and physician’s referral services and several other highly-specific services.
Some tips for healthcare givers to improve customer service
There are several ways for healthcare companies to improve patient satisfaction. The following can be considered:
- Showing transparency in pricing, letting patients know how much will the procedure cost
- Patients should get virtual support over multiple platforms, before they visit the hospital
- Be clear to patients about realistic expectations and results
- Make it easy for patients to find information online, schedule appointments and get telehealth support
- For more transparent communication and improved patient engagement, hospitals and clinics outsource to healthcare BPO
It is easy to create higher patient satisfaction by taking care of factors like warm greetings, timely and well-informed explanations, and prompt support.
Making customer service a priority policy
Healthcare organizations are now combining patient experience schemes throughout their administration. A facility of any size can introduce the fundamentals of exemplary customer service policies in line with what their brand entails. A caregiver who communicates information and empathy can make a huge difference in how patients see healthcare brands. Each patient has a unique set of circumstances and should be treated accordingly for outstanding customer service. Even when receiving phone support or routine care, good customer service makes a difference.
Alicia Johnson is an outreach consultant for multiple technologies industries. With expertise in corporate communications and practical knowledge about different technologies, she has spent the past 7 years working in the technologies industry and she loves to share her experience with readers.