Among all the hot topics in the healthcare industry, patient satisfaction continues to remain a top issue. It is with reason that wise hospitals continue to focus more human and financial resources on the patient and family experience they provide. It not only provides a competitive advantage and positive image of their brand, but it has the potential for a significant impact on their bottom line.
Having a great team that can deliver superior customer service is a win-win for all parties involved (personal satisfaction, the patient, and the facility). Great customer service won’t happen overnight however, and will require additional time and energy to ensure that patients receive the service they deserve.
There are many reasons patient satisfaction pays off, but I’ve decided to focus in on areas: technology, reimbursement, and internal morale.
Patients have a louder voice with today’s technology.
Long gone are the days where if a patient didn’t like your service, it was pretty much tough cookies. Sure word-of-mouth had its impact, and yes, it could have real impact on your volume. Today, however, technology has made it possible to amplify their voice.
In particular, patients and family members are turning to social media to praise or rake a hospital over the coals for their customer service. Good or bad, online social networks like Facebook and Twitter have become popular venues for showing approval or disdain for local hospitals.
I could go on and on with example of how companies have faced crises because of poor customer service, but I’m sure plenty come to mind for you as well. The best way to avoid negative word-of-mouth in your community and online is to simply provide patients with reasons to brag about their experience and why your facility is the only logical choice for healthcare services.
Your reimbursement depends on it.
By now all hospital administrators and board members should be well aware about the financial impact patient satisfaction has on your hospital. With the government tying Medicare reimbursement to patient satisfaction via HCAHPS Survey results, customer service is more than a marketing communications element—it’s a financial necessity.
Depending on the size of your hospital, you can lose hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in reimbursements. This critical revenue source can have a ripping effect across your facility should full reimbursement be compromised.
A happy patient builds happy team members.
Let’s face it, low morale can destroy an organization like the plague. Nobody wants to work in an environment they loath, and patients wouldn’t want to subject themselves to that kind of environment either.
When patients are happy, it’s typically a reflection of a strong team. This creates not only a positive image for your hospital, but increases employee satisfaction and strengthens internal morale.
It takes a lot to build a strong team, but like customer service, employee relations take commitment towards the development of a positive relationship with stakeholders.
Patient satisfaction can create positive word-of-mouth, valued at more than any advertising campaign can buy. Your facility’s bottom line can be compromised by poor patient satisfaction scores. In addition, your work environment can be affected by both morale and happy or disgruntled patients.
Ongoing customer service training is key to sustaining a positive environment for each of these three areas discussed. The key is to make sure it is a priority and taken seriously by every team member, including board directors.
When it comes down to it, there’s no reason for a patient to be treated badly. Your hospital is there to provide a service. Why would any company want to provide bad service, and why would any customer choose to receive it?