8 tips to strengthen healthcare customer service
Patient satisfaction and your home healthcare organization’s reputation go hand in hand. A key component in achieving a higher satisfaction rating is customer service. The way you interact with both patients and their family members will make all the difference in how the world perceives your business.
1. Communicate Effectively
Nurses, doctors, administrators, and other healthcare staff spend a lot of time talking to patients—but are they really communicating? They might diagnose conditions and prescribe medication, but real communication involves both verbal and nonverbal cues to make patients feel valued and secure in any situation.
It starts in the clinic where healthcare professionals can make eye contact, explain what’s happening, answer questions, and reassure their patients. Administrators and marketers can also take steps to ensure quality care.
For example, they can send out email surveys and promotional messages to their patients asking for feedback and offering discounts. They can also create a blog that communicates information about common illnesses or other frequently asked questions, such as this blog from a home care service in Massachusetts. This kind of above and beyond communication is what makes your facility stand out against the competition.
2. Take Complaints and Concerns Seriously
It’s true that some patients are simply hard to please, especially the elderly. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore their feedback. If a patient is constantly complaining about something, take it seriously. It might turn out that you’re doing the best you can, but the patient will often be appeased because you looked into the issue.
3. Put Systems in Place
Systems keep healthcare providers safe and help patients feel more at home. Scheduling algorithms and routines limit tardiness and provide enough time to spend with each patient. Billing systems help both patients and providers stay on the same page, and when regulations are broken, there’s a standard to revisit and repair the damage.
Automate as many processes as possible. You never want to take the human element out of your patient-healthcare provider interactions, but these robotic processes can keep things running smoothly.
4. Make Follow-Up Calls
It’s harder to monitor your staff when they’re making house calls instead of working inside a clinic. This makes follow up incredibly important. A simple phone call or email survey is all it takes to learn if the visit was up to the patient’s standards and if there are areas of improvement needed for the provider or system as a whole. It creates a standard of quality control for reputation maintenance and top quality care for all patients.
5. Measure Satisfaction
After you receive feedback from each visit, keep track of the information. Satisfaction management is essential for strong patient service. Maintain a system that will monitor strikes against certain employees and against certain systems within your organization. Before long, you can identify patterns that will direct your training efforts and resources in the future.
6. Hire the Right Staff
Much of an organization’s success depends on the skills and personalities of your staff. Personality is particularly important. You can always teach new skills, but it’s a lot harder to coax out a friendly, upbeat personality that’s not naturally there.
Look for staff members that love what they do. They should love caring for seniors and the disabled so they’re able to maintain a positive attitude. The right staff will reduce turnover and increase customer satisfaction.
7. Go By the Book
Though there’s always room for empathy and compassion, make sure your healthcare providers understand the importance of sticking to federal rules and regulations. You know better than anyone how strict HIPAA, Medicaid, and other government agencies can be. For the health and safety of your patients, let the predetermined regulations be the standard.
8. Create a Blame-Free Environment
Mistakes will happen, but there’s no need to point fingers and increase drama. As a general rule, if a mistake happens once, it’s likely the fault of an employee or circumstance. If it happens twice, it’s a problem with the system. Try to give your staff the benefit of the doubt and work to fix errors here.
Patient satisfaction comes naturally when your staff members are doing their job and delivering a high level of service. As your team’s customer service skills strengthen, you’ll develop a healthier, happier atmosphere for your patients and staff.