Customer service is literally a matter of life and death in the healthcare industry. It depends on the daily interactions between the care team and patients and the best way to provide quality care in the healthcare sector is by stopping treating patients as customers. It’s more about caring for their well-being rather than trying to sell them something. It’s more of a patient-centric environment rather than a customer-centered one, where the patient’s health is priority No.1.
Everyone working in a healthcare company is directly or indirectly a customer care representative. Their daily tasks are to improve the quality of care to the patients.
In this article, I am going to talk about the importance of customer service in the healthcare industry and how companies can provide top-notch customer care service for their patients.
Why customer care matter so much in the healthcare industry
The whole customer service experience is defined by good quality of care service
No matter how skilled or experienced the doctors and nurses working in your healthcare company are, if you can’t give your patients a consistent care experience, you won’t be able to keep them for a long-term relationship.
Happy satisfied customers give good reviews and recommendations, the same goes for happy patients who receive a consistent care experience. They are more likely to recommend your healthcare company to their family and friends and your company’s good reputation skyrockets.
Accurate data can literally save lives
Diagnosis and treatment mainly depend on accurate patient data. Incomplete data and errors can lead to life-threatening mistakes and impact the quality of care service which might cost your company to lose patients and receive bad reviews.
Why customer care matters to patients
Patients are usually worried about their health conditions so when they contact the care service team, they want care as well as treatment. They want the healthcare companies and employees to show care for their patients’ well-being and needs which is demonstrated in every interaction through the entire patient care experience
How to improve end-to-end customer care
The customer or patient journey includes many touch points and interactions with the healthcare company. Each single interaction is a gate for the company to influence the patient about the quality of service they’re receiving.
Choosing a healthcare service
Customers or patients will look for reviews, recommendations, advertisements, referrals to decide on which healthcare company to go with. They will compare the options and the services healthcare companies provide before selecting one.
And to help your customers or patients to choose your service, you need to impress them with marketing materials, your good reputation and relationships with other providers.
Setting an appointment
The first interaction between a patient and a healthcare company is scheduling an appointment where the company collects basic information about the patient such as name, phone number, age, and other health information. This interaction determines the urgency of the appointment scheduling for the patient.
How to improve the customer experience for the patient?
- Cut down the wait time for a patient to speak with an agent
- Shrink the time needed to collect patients’ data.
- Have accurate updated data, to know the most convenient time to set an appointment .
- Provide appointment confirmation and reminders through SMSs, WhatsApp, Messenger, or email before the time of the appointment.
Checking in for an appointment
Patients hate to wait, especially if they are in pain and want to be treated quickly. So waiting in line to meet a physician or completing a health questionnaire is Not your patients’ cup of tea. They will complain if they wait long for their appointments. It’s not easy to shrink your patients’ wait time but it’s possible. The patient/customer care team can track the wait time using systems provided with accurate data to estimate the wait time for each patient to be seen by a physician.
Timely messages of patients’ medications and dosage
You patients might forget their medications, especially if they are elderly people. So the best way to provide great care for your patients is by sending them reminder messages through their prefered channel e.g Whatsapp, Messenger, SMS etc.
Great customer care service in any industry is set through the customer care experience. The more consistent the experience is, the higher quality of care service you company can provide. And always remember that showing care and empathy to your customers/patients is all that matters to retain your customers and definitely guarantees customer’s loyalty.