Strategies for Improving the Healthcare Customer Service Experience

It’s been said that customer service is the most important metric within a company. And at Vital Interaction™, we fully agree.

The quality of a company’s customer service can mean the difference between solid sales, smooth resolution of conflicts, healthy customer satisfaction scores, and standing out from the competition.

In a nutshell, great customer service improves the relationship between your brand and your customer, ultimately yielding a higher customer retention rate.

And the same concept applies to health care—now more than ever. The modern patient has come to expect the same level of customer service from healthcare providers as they get from airlines, hotels, package delivery companies, and other businesses.

In short, the “retailization” of health care means excellent customer service is crucial to a medical practice’s success.

It also means that retaining patients is increasingly harder.

So, to keep pace with the modern patient’s demands, how can medical practices improve the relationship between their “brand” and their patients? More specifically, what are some ways that medical practices can improve the healthcare customer service experience and, ultimately, improve their patient retention rate?

Let’s take a look.

#CustomerService is a company’s most important metric—even for medical practices. tweet.png

Key Metrics in Healthcare Customer Service

Patient satisfaction surveys continue to show the importance of high-quality customer service in the healthcare industry.

Why? Because good service translates to not only good outcomes, but solid patient satisfaction. And that’s why we’re all in the industry, yeah?

While patients expect high-quality customer service, practices can pretty easily deliver simply by providing easy access to their scheduling team, sending important info to patients from providers, and displaying first-rate customer service skills.

But how can you know whether your efforts are successful?

At Vital Interaction™, we have a handful of key metrics that determine our success in providing excellent customer service:

  1. our Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  2. our capacity to manage customers’ requests
  3. having a support request-ticket count under 50
  4. the response rate of our tickets
  5. having a support site

Let’s take a closer look at each of these components and the role they play in improving the patient experience.

Five ways that medical practices can improve and measure the success of their healthcare customer service experience.

The Role of NPS Scores in Healthcare Customer Service

For those who don’t know what NPS is, it’s the score that customers give when recommending your business or service to their friends and/or family.

Why is this important?

Because giving customers—or in this case, patients—the option to recommend a friend or family member shows that you stand behind your business and its services.

This faith and trust in your practice is vital to your success because when trust is higher, the easier and faster it is to cultivate new patient relationships as well as nurture relationships with current patients.

By taking steps to improve the quality of customer service your practice delivers to patients, you can boost your NPS score and, ultimately, set yourself apart from other practices in the area.

Quality Healthcare Customer Service Means Putting the Patient First

In addition to having a solid NPS score, being able to efficiently managing patients’ request is also critical to your practice’s success.

To most callers, there is something irksome about holding on the line for more than a minute. So if a patient is on hold for an extended period of time, his or her trust in your company naturally declines.

For example, say you lead a pediatric clinic. A mom calls in needing to schedule her child for an urgent visit but can’t reach a scheduler or other staff member to help her. Naturally, she’s much less inclined to give your practice her business and will likely take her business elsewhere.

While we’re not a medical practice, we are a business servicing hundreds of clients, and keeping our practice administrators happy is our everyday goal. As such, we have a few measures in place to prevent instances like the example above from occurring and ensure that all requests are promptly and professionally handled.

To achieve this, we strive to:

  • keep our support request count under 50
  • respond to requests in 30 minutes or less
  • keep our phones covered at all times

Likewise, keeping your patients happy is your everyday goal. And the same “ticket” principle can be applied to your medical practice.

Our goal at Vital Interaction™, for example, is to keep the ticket count to 50 or less. When this number begins to exceed 100, we add a team member to help address the requests.

Similarly, when your practice’s providers are getting swamped, you can include another provider to share the load.

Improving the Healthcare Customer Service Experience through First-rate Support

And finally, providing access to helpful resources and information is key in keeping your customers happy.

Such resources include a support site that:

  • is easy to navigate
  • provides readily available information
  • enables the customer to give feedback

And just as important as providing your patients with these resources is consistently monitoring and updating your site and/or resources.

For example, we recently updated our support site to guide to further streamline the customer service experience and help guide our clients in the right direction (Click here to check out the new changes!)

Updating your practice’s site to make it look presentable, include key facts about your practice, and easy to find your locations are all important aspects of a solid support site.

Let our system go to work for you so your staff can provide a more dedicated and effective in-office patient experience. Call (512) 487-7625 to learn more or get started today.

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