Customer service and the customer experience is something that is most often associated with retail businesses, but it is also an important part of healthcare, as well. With more and more being spent out of pocket, it is important for patients to feel as if they are valued as a paying customer. Here are five simple ways that you can improve the customer experience in healthcare businesses.
Streamline Intake Processes
It can be frustrating for patients to fill out the same forms, over and over. Plus, arriving early every appointment to manage insurance information and other paperwork can be a hassle for many. Create online options for your patients to update their information. This will allow you to handle pre-authorizations quickly and make your patients feel as if you value their time.
Long waits are sometimes the nature of the business, with some patients needing more of your time and attention than you have anticipated. Have a policy in place to regularly update patients whose appointment time is delayed and offer options to reschedule if at all possible. Though no one likes to wait, people will be far more understanding if they are kept informed and are given an alternative if they are unable to wait until the doctor is able to attend to them.
Improve Listening Skills
Anyone who must communicate one-on-one with patients should have strong listening skills. Give patients the chance to share their thoughts and concerns. Ask them open ended questions to prompt them to provide the information you need. Repeat back their responses so that they understand that they have been heard and understood.
Provide Payment Options
Giving your patients a variety of ways to manage their bills serves a couple of different purposes. Not only are you increasing the likelihood that your patients will take care of their payment obligations in a timely manner, but you also will make it easier for them. Patients are naturally much happier when they can use the payment options that they prefer, rather than needing to go out of their way to pay their bills.
Set Aside Time for Follow-up
Make sure that you or another healthcare professional in your practice makes time to follow up with each patient after their appointment. This will help them to feel as if you are concerned and dedicated to their health and well being. It also can alert you to any problems with treatment or changes to their condition. Let them ask questions that might have come up since their appointment, which may prevent them from having to come back in for a small issue that could be addressed over the phone.
Take time to evaluate your current office procedures and discuss any changes that you need to make with your staff. Help them to understand the commitment to customer service that is necessary for customer satisfaction and why it is so important to make it a priority. You’ll quickly find that your patients are happier and that your days run more smoothly on a patient care side.
Have any other suggestions on improving your patient experience? Share with us in the comments below.
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