Is your hospital serious about customer service? It’s often taken for granted in the healthcare industry that customer service comes naturally. Basic friendliness and concern for your patients is the nuts and bolts of good customer service, but it doesn’t always work that way!
This month, take some time to create a new customer service initiative to refine your strategy and review what is working and what isn’t.
Put yourself in the patient’s shoes
Be the customer. You and your team should take some time out and go through what a day looks like for the patient – from reception to discharge. Each member of your team should know exactly what it is like to be a patient. Often what is going through a patient’s head is a lot different from the doctor’s or clinical staff. An important component of customer service is being able to empathize and understand how your patients feel. Try to forget everything you know about what happens behind the scenes and stay in the moment!
Go over your customer service surveys. Take them seriously! They can provide valuable insight into what your patients love – and hate! – about your service. Go over the surveys each month and catalog them. Evaluate trends. Are you getting better? Are things getting more negative?
Educate and train your team
Good customer service is a process. That process needs constant monitoring, evaluation, and training. Remind your staff that every interaction with the patient counts. Your patients don’t know that you have already been on shift for 12 hours and want to go home. Every member of the team needs to provide a consistent level of quality customer service.
Make guidelines clear and identify scenarios in which there could be confusion about what to do or how to best help a patient.
Don’t just train once. It happens way too often that the only customer service training staff receive is on their first day of the job! Training should happen regularly and management should be ready to provide feedback and performance reviews.
Are you speaking to your patients?
Be sure you and your team are speaking the same language as your patients. Are you explaining their health issues and treatment options in a way that they can understand? One of the easiest ways to increase patient satisfaction is to change the way you speak those you are treating. Be clear and simple, and be ready to answer questions!
Customer service doesn’t always yield immediate results. It is a process, and improvement takes time. But if you are willing to invest in a customer service initiative and stick with it, your hospital is likely to see better patient retention and higher levels of satisfaction. Good customer service initiatives build loyalty, which is a huge payoff in the long term.
If all this sounds daunting, don’t worry. Call an expert! Whether its customer service training or coming up with a comprehensive customer service initiative, the team at SRJ has worked with hospitals of all sizes to raise the bar and create plans to yield results!