Healthcare is a customer service industry. Kind gestures and positive everyday interactions between staff and patients result in healthcare companies known for good quality of care.
The first key to providing great customer service in the healthcare industry is to stop treating patients as customers whose sole purpose is to generate revenue. Great customer service starts with taking a patient-centric perspective – viewing them as people your company is meant to help.
Adapting to this patient-centric approach is quickly evolving, especially after the COVID-19 crisis changed consumer behavior towards medical and healthcare facilities. Keeping patient safety and overburdened healthcare centers in mind, virtual doctor consultations, and telemedicine practices rapidly increased.
A PwC report on global healthcare trends highlights that 91% of consumers had used video virtual clinical care in the past and would do so in the future. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), also noticed a spike of 154% in telehealth utilization1 during March 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
Apart from moving to digital experiences in healthcare, every employee in a healthcare company must also remember that they are potentially a customer service representative – someone whose daily activities should be focused on improving the quality of care provided to patients.
We’ve listed the sections covered in this post below to make it easy for you to navigate the article.
- Why customer service is important to healthcare companies
- Why customer service is important to patients
- What patients expect in the healthcare customer service experience
- 8 Tips to improve the end-to-end customer experience in the healthcare industry
- How a help desk software facilitates great healthcare customer service
Why customer service is important to healthcare companies
The role of customer service is significant in any industry and is more prominent in the healthcare sector for the following reasons.
- Customer service experiences set the expectation for the quality of care: You may have the most skilled physicians and experienced nurses in the industry, but if you can’t provide a consistently high-quality experience for your patients, they won’t recognize you for outstanding healthcare. The goal of healthcare companies should be to develop long-term relationships with patients rather than approaching each interaction as if it was a transaction.
- Happy patients are likely to return to the same doctors, clinics, and facilities for all their healthcare needs: Happy patients are also highly likely to recommend healthcare companies to friends, family members, and co-workers. Doctor-patient relationships may not be easily and/or often recognized, but they are some of the best examples of customer loyalty in any industry and the strongest doctor-patient relationships start with customer service. The reputation your company develops for excellent or poor medical customer service will be critical in determining patient satisfaction and also indicates if they would seek your services in the future.
- Bad data can lead to life-threatening mistakes: The healthcare industry depends heavily on accurate patient data to make diagnostic and treatment recommendations. Errors, incomplete records, and staff’s inability to access needed data can severely impact the quality of customer care – even potentially leading to life-threatening mistakes and malpractice lawsuits. Customer service systems and processes, and the thoroughness of staff, are the first defense against costly mistakes.