Excellent customer service is critical to every industry, including healthcare. Your patients depend on the quality of care you provide — and their interaction with your staff will affect their trust. In effect, each person on your staff is a customer service representative — ensuring patients get the best healthcare possible. That includes physicians, assistants, and office staff. They all represent your healthcare practice, so their interactions with patients must be positive.
Healthcare providers and staff must demonstrate:
- Empathy and a sense of caring
- Professionalism and efficiency
- Accurate and timely information
- Trust and protection of patient’s privacy
Research shows that 70% of patients want to connect with their healthcare providers instantly, either via the phone or email. They also want more convenient management of conditions and improved access to experts. Also, 56% of hospital patients view the privacy and security of medical information as integral to choosing their healthcare provider.
Patients are more aware than ever before, with easy access to information about physician choices and costs for visits. They are treating healthcare like any other paid service. Whether they are unhappy with a doctor, office staff, or a technical issue, a patient will take their business to a competitor. Also, a happy patient will return for future visits and recommend the clinic/doctor to their friends/family.
And yet, patients don’t rely on word of mouth to find a new doctor. They can check sites like Healthgrades, Vitals, and ZocDoc which provide reviews and ratings. Yelp, Angie’s List, and Google My Business also provide patients the opportunity to give feedback on their experiences.
Create a patient-first mentality
Your office staff must have a customer service attitude, as they are the first point of contact for patients. They must understand that patients can feel intimidated and uncomfortable in a medical office. When patients call your clinic, they must sense empathy in your office staff, as well as a friendly, helpful attitude.
Essentially, you must have a well-thought-out customer service plan for every touchpoint in the journey towards providing excellent customer service at your clinic.
First, hire the right type of people. All staff — doctors, nurses, assistants and office staff — must display empathy and communicate effectively. So make sure you check for these customer service skills during the hiring process.
Train employees and set goals that are aligned with your main goal of becoming more patient-centric.
Monitor their interactions with patients: Are they courteous? Do they respond in a timely and accurate manner? Do they know how to find the correct information? This can feed into your customer service training program to ensure that your employees provide patients the best customer experience.
Overwhelmed? Let us handle the details
Somnowell Marketing has a team in place to work with your front-office staff, who certainly are your top sales team. We can help you enhance your practice flow and patient communication. We can ensure your staff’s language, behaviour and attitude always build positive customer experiences.
When a prospective patient is on the phone or in the practice, your team needs to understand how to respond to the types of questions they ask before they’re ready to book an appointment.
If it’s time to automate redundant tasks, we take the burden off your shoulders. Emails, messaging, web content, blogs, social media — we can handle it all. The information is always from respected sources, and will dispel any misinformation. Your online content and social media posts are an investment in your practice’s reputation — and that’s undeniably priceless.