Customer service: more vital now than ever

With so much competition between businesses in a tough market, customer service matters when it comes to attracting and keeping clients.

In the healthcare industry, customer service is absolutely essential. I’ve worked with healthcare providers for decades, and having done a lot of customer service training lately, I can tell you that customer service can make or break a hospital.

The phrase “customer service” often brings to mind restaurant wait staff and call centers for major corporations, but customer service means much more than that. It touches every aspect of your customer’s experience—from the first impression when they walk through the door and speak to a representative of your company to the way they are treated by every member of your team throughout their experience.

In the healthcare industry, this goes far beyond simply being able to provide information and support. It includes common patient concerns such as time spent in the waiting room to providing care that really solves problems. Perhaps no field touches people more personally than those that deal with their health.

Recent studies suggest that one in four Americans has considered switching healthcare providers because of poor experiences. That number is telling, and it doesn’t simply mean patients are sensitive to the doctor’s demeanor during a visit. People pay attention to how the administrative team treats them, how they are treated over the phone, office presentation, and, of course, speed of service.

Another huge factor that we cannot forget is a facility’s ability to handle people of varying diverse backgrounds. Especially in a border state like Texas, patients come from countless backgrounds. Your ability to effectively communicate and provide quality service to your patients can have serious consequences.

A good way to address customer service is to establish best-practice standards by looking at other contenders in your field and setting benchmarks. From there, you can see where your company is lacking and work to exceed your customers’ expectations.

Additionally, it is always good practice to monitor customer satisfaction. By hearing directly from your clients about your services, you are in a better position to adjust your practices to better suit their needs. Sometimes a business that is highly responsive to customer critique is better off than one that never had a problem in the first place.

For some businesses, customer service can have an impact of anywhere between $300,000 and $1.5 million in the next fiscal year. How much of an impact does customer service have for your company?

The most important thing to remember, especially in the healthcare industry, is how you would want to be treated if you were in a customer’s shoes. Showing your customers that you care lets them know that you care not just about sending people in and out of the door, but that you care about their wellbeing and want to establish positive, long-lasting relationships.