A shift is underway in the contact center industry as customers derive both power and…
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Improving Customer Experience in Healthcare
- Christa Heibel
- 22 November 2017
Is the patient experience really any different than the customer experience? Healthcare organizations have traditionally viewed patients as “care receivers,” but that is only one piece of the big picture. Like consumers across all industries, patients expect to engage with healthcare brands where and when they choose, which means healthcare organizations need to design patient experiences like other companies design customer experiences and shift their thinking toward treating patients as customers.
According to a study published by the Journal of Practice Management, 96 percent of patient complaints are related to customer service, while only 4 percent are about the quality of clinical care or misdiagnoses. Yet only 43 percent of doctor’s practices surveyed by The Beryl Institute say that improving the patient experiences is among their top three priorities (nearly an equal percentage, 39, say reducing and managing costs is.) Compare that to other businesses: according to Forrester Research, 72 percent of them say improving customer experience is their top priority.
All of the things that frustrate consumers, from complicated, broken websites to getting the “run-around” with automated call routing, also confound healthcare consumers! In their case, the frustration is heightened by the anxiety that can come with healthcare diagnoses. At a time when they need it most, patients don’t receive a seamless experience that anticipates their needs and provides personalized service.
Start with the Patient
The first step for improving the customer experience, whether in retail, B2B or healthcare is to understand the customer experience. This means starting with the patient, not the provider or payer. In a past blog we covered customer journey mapping, which in my experience, is always an eye-opening and beneficial experience for businesses.
Begin by using the data you already have to identify common service patterns during customer interactions. From there, determine the next best action and shape options to meet patient preferences. The goal is to help them navigate the simplest route to their destinations, from finding test results to scheduling appointments or getting treatment advice. The most successful companies have adopted a customer-centric approach, which is what healthcare organizations need to do. Put patients at the center of operations, understand their needs and expectations and then design solutions to make their lives easier. When you provide patient-centered care and allow for patients to engage as partners in their own care, you can help to foster a culture of loyalty and trust.
According to recent research, the average person taps or swipes his or her phone screen 2,617 times per day in 76 separate sessions. Therefore, the key to healthcare customer experience may lie in the palm of patients’ hands. Think of your mobile presence as you would your front door, as both are often where the patient experience begins. Making a good impression is crucial. Design your mobile strategy around specific tasks, such as making an appointment, rather than trying to deploy it as all things to all people. It’s also important to define your mobile goals. In order to know if you’re succeeding, you have to measure results with tools that specifically target customer experience success and identify areas for improvement.
Measuring for Improvement
Data is at the heart of any customer experience strategy. In order to make meaningful improvements, you need to gather and analyze data from all customer channels in as close to real-time as possible. For most healthcare organizations, this requires working with outside vendors and partners who can effectively and securely collect, store and analyze a large volume of data. It also means breaking down internal silos so that every department within your organization is doing its part to deliver a better customer experience.
Businesses are making customer experience a priority because they recognize that today’s consumers have choices and base their decisions on the brands that provide the best experiences. Similarly, healthcare consumers have options, and the organizations that put patients at the center of the clinic and hospital experience will be the ones who succeed moving into the future. CH Consulting Group has helped healthcare organizations navigate the changing landscape of customer expectations to create and implement customer experience strategies that drive growth. For more information, contact us today.
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