From patient to guest: Improving customer service in healthcare
Like consumers of any goods and services, patients seek convenience, read reviews, and comparison-shop. This approach reflects the importance of customer service in healthcare. As much as patients value the relationship with the provider, they also want to be treated like guests.
Improving customer service in healthcare doesn’t require a major renovation or website overhaul. Your practice can apply principles of service and hospitality using tools already at your disposal, starting today.
Consumers are comfortable booking travel online with a few clicks of the mouse. But patients often do a lot of legwork before they set foot in a practice. Whether it’s navigating phone trees, waiting on hold, or going back and forth with insurance companies, the process can be lengthy.
A patient portal can improve the customer experience in healthcare.
Using a portal, patients can request appointments, fill out forms online ahead of their visit, and update insurance information.
Lisa Eads, office manager for Pulmonary Associates of the Southeast, said Greenway’s patient portal has improved interactions, sped up turnaround times, and simplified communication.
“Patients can get to us more actively, and be more specific,” she said. “There’s no miscommunication because it’s coming from the patient.”
Check out our blog series to read more about unlocking the power of the patient portal.
A pleasant stay
Think back to your most recent hotel visit. Did you receive a friendly greeting at the reception desk? Did special touches make you feel appreciated?
Reading materials, bottled water, and comfortable furniture can make your waiting room more inviting. Still, no matter how pleasant the setting, a long wait will detract from the experience.
Patients appreciate communication and transparency. If they know upfront how long they should expect to wait — from a staff member who treats them with courtesy — the delay will cause less stress.
When hotels offer shops and restaurants, it spares guests a trip down the street. Adding services to your practice gives patients greater convenience.
Teverbaugh Croland & Mueller OB/GYN & Associates has considered bringing mammography in-office. It already offers aesthetic skin services and non-invasive body contouring.
“That way, it will be a one-stop shop,” said Billing Manager Tammy Barker. “That's what we're looking for, for our patients — to incorporate everything so they feel like they can come to one place and be completely satisfied.”
"That's what we're looking for, for our patients — to incorporate everything so they feel like they can come to one place and be completely satisfied.”
When you treat patients like guests, they are more likely to give your practice a positive review online.
For patients looking to speak out, the internet provides a platform, as this blog post describes. Even if your practice doesn’t use social media, patients can sound off on Google, Yelp, Healthgrades, and other review sites.
Prospective patients are listening. Online reviews influence 66.3% of consumers seeking a primary care physician, according to customer feedback platform ReviewTrackers. This level of influence is the second-highest of any industry.
In healthcare, as in other industries, convenience, customer service, and reputation matter.
Practices have followed the lead of hospitality organizations … and yours can too.
For more information, CLICK HERE to schedule a conversation with a Greenway representative. Or watch our 3-minute overview video HERE.