Great customer service plays a significant role in the success of any business organization. However, the need for these skills is nowhere greater than within the healthcare sector. This is despite the fact that traditionally, the healthcare industry has never been viewed as a sector that would require any kind of customer service skills. The manner in which the different professionals operating within this sector interact with patients can deeply influence their experience and satisfaction levels. This has resulted in bringing about a significant change in the traditional approach of healthcare professionals towards patient interaction and has actually helped in redefining their attitude.
Significance Of Customer Service In Healthcare
Any type of healthcare problem is stressful on its own, and the stress is considerably greater for patients suffering from financial woes. In such cases, the patients expect health care professionals to have a more empathetic and humane attitude towards them. The patients need to be assured that the healthcare service providers are concerned about their specific situation, needs, and well-being.
This is irrespective of whether the patients are dealing with someone having a B.Sc. in Cardiovascular Technology and working as a technical support professional or the even the HOD of cardiovascular division. Every interaction with health care professionals should give them hope rather than add to their stress and worries. Some of the key reasons that have been responsible for making customer service skills such an important player in the healthcare sector are discussed as follows.
* Large Scale Commercialization Of Healthcare Services
The wide choice of options available to patients today have made healthcare services similar to any other paid service. This fact, combined with the constantly increasing costs of healthcare, has created greater awareness among the patients with respect to what they can expect from the professionals working in this field. Consequently, patients today do not hesitate to shift their allegiance to a new medical care professional if they have a poor customer service experience with the current one. At the same time, healthcare facilities offering a great experience to their patients can be sure of winning their trust and loyalty in a relatively effortless manner.
* The Growing Influence Of External Surveys
Patient surveys conducted by external agencies are becoming increasingly common and are influencing the choice of people with respect to health care facilities. People are giving greater preference to hospitals and clinics, which, according to such surveys, employ good doctors and offer great customer service experiences. At the same time, they are not too keen about being treated at the most renowned health care facilities employing the best doctors, but ranking low in terms of customer service experience in such external surveys.
* Emergence Of The Concept Of Patients Being Customers
As mentioned before, healthcare services in modern times have become similar to any other paid service. This has resulted in the development of the concept of patients being customers of such service providers. This, in turn, has ensured that the patients have also started to think of themselves as customers, whose needs and satisfaction levels need to fulfilled by health care service providers. The patients consider it the moral responsibility of the hospitals and clinics, along with that of the doctors and support staff employed by them, to set themselves up for offering the best possible customer experience.
From a major multispeciality hospital to a small vision care center being operated by someone with a Bachelor in Optometry, every healthcare facility today needs to focus on enhancing its customer service skills. In this context, they need to focus on improving end-to-end patient experiences, comprising of various touchpoints and interactions. Healthcare service providers need to understand that each of these touchpoints and interactions influences the patient’s perception of quality.