Customer experience (CX) in healthcare is how patients perceive their interactions with healthcare providers.
A positive approach to improve customer experience assures the company’s growth in terms of revenue and building brand loyalty.
Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing industries. Ever since the global pandemic, this industry has seen numerous technological and medical advancements. It is constantly evolving and adapting to new changes with the changing times. Being a highly competitive sector, healthcare providers need to keep up with the ever-evolving preferences of the customers and ensure superior customer experience across touchpoints.
This blog discusses six ways to improve customer experience in healthcare.
1. Educate and empower company representatives
Customer experience in healthcare widely depends on the quality of interaction between your customers and the employees. Training and educating your customer support representatives with the proper knowledge and equipping them with the right resources like customer service scripts is crucial to delivering satisfactory customer service.
Customer service reps on the frontline, interacting with the customers, are in a very crucial position. They perceive and communicate customer expectations, moods, and perceptions. Therefore, customer service agent need to be empowered with better resources and knowledge, which will help them uncover patient pain points. Once the patient pain points are discovered, the customer service reps can solve the problems more swiftly, thus improve customer experience.
Providing the best medical experience is a challenge for all healthcare providers. Customers are demanding and have expectations which, when not satisfied, will result in them switching to another healthcare provider. This is why fostering brand loyalty in customers is so important. When the problems put forth by the patients are solved quickly, and as effortlessly as possible, it is more likely for the customer to return to the same healthcare provider. Further in the blog, we have discussed more ways to foster customer brand loyalty.
2. Scale customer support via digital channels
Technological advancement is one of the best ways to improve customer experience. Moving to a digital system to engage better with patients is now an essential part of a successful and improved customer experience strategy.
In the healthcare industry, technology strengthens patient loyalty and increases revenues. Data analytics continues to provide a personalised experience to improve overall care and wellness for the patient. AI is also lending a helping hand in the industry. Another is chatbot integration, speeding up and simplifying queues that can lead to quick responses and solutions for patients. There’s also the rise of telehealth channels and online portals that offer convenient virtual consultations.
Every healthcare provider has a huge amount of critical patient data and knowledge from within the organisation. This data is crucial not only to the organisation but also to the patients. Therefore, managing such a vast amount of information is vital. This data can be contained better with digital tools like knowledge management tools. Collecting and protecting data is a key to providing your customers with a streamlined healthcare experience.
This is where knowledge management software comes in handy. When the reps have proper and timely access to right customer service information, they can provide the most accurate and beneficial care according to the customers’ needs. Also, using digital technologies makes responses quicker and thus increases the speed of the whole procedure of problem-solving. Patients won’t get too anxious or frustrated about waiting for hours to get their problems solved. Quicker and more accurate responses will always give a positive and improve customer experience.
Customer self-service opportunities should be enhanced. Since the pandemic, most things have been made online, from making appointments to consultations with the doctor to telemedicine.
A study by Cisco found that up to 74% of patients are happy to communicate with their doctor virtually rather than seeing them in person. AI systems like chatbots with quicker and more accurate responses can be used to make it easier for customers. Chatbots also help ease the tedious and repetitive jobs of customer care executives. This reduces human errors and improves customer experience.
3. Ensure the privacy and security of patient data
Security, privacy, and regulatory compliance are essential in healthcare. Transparency should be maintained as it helps build trust amongst the customers towards the organisation. With the amount of data that customers need to share in this industry, from health care records to payments, it is only legitimate for them to worry about their privacy.
Proper digital management tools should be used to maintain and secure these data as it is imperative to secure the customers’ data. There are countless cases where customers get scammed online; therefore, providing a better and more secure privacy facility helps gain customers’ trust.
With digital innovation, malpractices have increased. This is another reason for customers to be worried about their data. Make sure malpractices are avoided. Since patients entrust crucial information to the organisation, providing essential security is very important.
4. Follow-up care
Customer service executives should be good listeners. Only upon hearing the problems in detail will they be able to solve them accurately. Talking your customers through their queries and concerns to uncover root causes and pain points is essential as it will help solve the problem more efficiently. Customer experience in this industry also means providing customers with a better and healthier life; therefore, patients should always be shown empathy.
Empathising with your customers helps win their trust. And by empathising with your customers, you will understand their problems better, thus, making it easy to find a solution to their problems.
Follow-up care is an important step to ensure a positive customer experience. Doing follow-up calls and emails, checking in on the patient’s health and if the medicines provided were helpful, and personalising interactions is a strategy that helps create a brand perception amongst the customers.
Patients always want and expect individualised care from healthcare providers; therefore, engaging better with your customers is essential. Better patient engagements help strengthen patient loyalty and thus increase revenues. Taking feedback is a significant step in building brand perception.
5. Personalise patient interaction across touchpoints
In this era, patients expect better outcomes and improved access to care. Therefore, every patient interaction throughout the customer journey should be personalised, especially medicine. Personalization, where improving customer experience depends on how well you know your customers and how secure they are in your service, makes customer experience smoother, strengthening the bond between the healthcare provider and the customer.
Personalization in healthcare can now go so far as to predict potential health risks and provide round-the-clock remote live assistance. As a result, customer loyalty and business profits have increased.
Patients may choose an independent practice for a more personalised patient experience. The patient should understand that you value them as individuals and want them to have a positive experience in your organisation. The desktop facility is the first step to personalising interactions.
Scheduling appointments should be made as hassle-free as possible. Customers should be encouraged to do more website visits to help them reap the benefits of remote assistance in the comfort of their homes and even take appointments online.
Instead of using automated or recorded calls, agents should sincerely take responsibility for follow-up care. Agents should be readily available on all platforms to connect with the customers. Emails, WhatsApp, phones, and every channel of interaction should be used strategically to personalise customer interactions to give your customers the proper care and experience.
6. Provide a better atmosphere for patient treatment
The interaction and understanding between patients and doctors should be made more accessible. Doctors should have ready access to patient data to provide better and more accurate consultations. Telemedicine services should also be used. This will create patient-centric management that will provide a positive customer experience. Billing facilities and insurance should also be made more convenient.
Having a clean and hassle-free environment on the hospital premises is also essential. It causes a good impression and helps in conducting the effortless movement of the procedures. Machineries and other equipment should be sanitised, sterilised, and updated. It is seen that most customers tend to return to the healthcare provider who has updated tools and machinery that help in quicker and more efficient responses. Improving Customer experience is all about taking your customers’ preferences and feedback and bettering your service based on that.
Customer service is critical in all industries, but none more than in health care. When we are most vulnerable, healthcare professionals come to our aid. Quality medical care delivered by highly competent professionals is undeniably a part of exceptional customer service in the healthcare industry. By emphasising the importance of the customer experience, healthcare leaders can strategically deploy resources to create positive brand experiences and customer retention.
As healthcare options grow, hospital customer service has emerged as a strong brand differentiator. We should remember that hospitals prioritising patient satisfaction are more likely to be chosen, trusted, and referred. As mentioned earlier, healthcare is a customer service industry; thus, healthcare providers must understand the difference between a mediocre customer experience and a superior customer experience. And with understanding that they can employ the right strategies to build a solid customer base with a positive and improve customer experience.