Customer service goes beyond patient care

If your customer-service strategy focuses only on the interaction between nurses and patients, you are ignoring a huge component of the hospital experience. Today’s patients demand the same level of service as they get in other types of businesses, which means that every person who interacts directly or indirectly with patients and family members—from the receptionist to the environmental-services staff—needs to have a deep understanding of the way to provide excellent customer service at every point in the hospital experience.

Hospital staff should understand their purpose rather than just their job description

Regardless of individual job descriptions, the purpose of each member of the hospital team is to take care of the patient (and family members). This means training the team to understand that whatever their specific roles—processing payments, moving equipment, communicating with family members—their purpose is to help the hospital provide a compassionate and positive experience for patients. Once all team members understand that their jobs have a purpose, they can begin to think in more critical terms about how to provide helpful service to each patient.

Patients demand speed and courtesy

Whether it’s the restaurant industry, retail or healthcare, people demand efficiency, and there is no avoiding the fact that customers (patients) are becoming more impatient than ever. Thus every minute they spend in the waiting room or on hold on the phone builds anxiety. All members of the hospital staff should be trained to deal with patients quickly and efficiently, from anticipating potential wait times to finding information fast. Maximizing efficiency is one of the easiest ways to increase patient satisfaction.

Make good first—and last—impressions

Though nurses usually spend the most one-on-one time with patients, the patient’s first interaction with the hospital is not always with the clinician. The patient experience often begins admissions desk or with a phone call so that’s why excellent phone courtesy is crucial in making good first impressions.

The process starts with training to make friendly “hellos” and to eliminate the perception that a phone call is an interruption of office work. Rather, a phone call is an opportunity to leave a positive impression with a patient or family member, whether that call is an inquiry or a complaint.

Phone calls also lead to important last impressions. A simple follow-up call after an appointment can leave a patient with the feeling that the hospital staff cares about outcomes and is invested in that patient’s health.

Customer service for the whole hospital

Providing excellent patient care is more than just having a high-quality medical staff. It includes developing a holistic approach so that each member of the staff is helpful and courteous to patients. From making a good impression to providing an efficient and compassionate experience, improving patient satisfaction starts with a thoughtful and deliberate customer- service strategy.

If you want to take the patient experience to the next level, get in touch with SRJ. With more than 25 years of experience, SRJ Marketing Communications has built a reputation for working with small and rural hospitals to develop effective customer-service strategies. We work with leadership teams and hospital staff through coaching and training to hone customer-service techniques. To learn more about how improving customer service can help your hospital succeed, call Steven Jolly at SRJ Marketing Communications, 214-528-5775 for a free consultation.