High End Customer Service, Why Bother?

Welcome to Oracle Hearing Groups entry into the blogging world.  Since, we’ve decided to overhaul many of the systems we’ve had in place for years…we’ve decided that it was time for everyone to step back and take a look at their practices too.  What better place to start then with customer service…the backbone of every industry.

You probably already know it, but it bears repeating, health care providers may succeed or fail based on the quality of their customer service.  Poor service drives Americans to switch providers, or drives them away from better-qualified providers, leading to inefficiency, higher costs and lower quality of care, according to a report, by Katzenbach Partners entitled “The Empathy Engine: Achieving Breakthroughs in Patient Service.”

The report says healthcare providers should respond by ramping up the quality of their customer service and becoming “empathy engines”—transforming their organizations to allow frontline employees to focus on patient problems and innovate to deliver solutions.

Americans care about healthcare customer service and will switch providers to find better service. One in four Americans has switched or considered switching doctors (26 percent) or hospitals or clinics (23 percent) because of negative experiences, according to the research. Americans in large numbers give healthcare customer service poor marks – and as a result are making decisions that lead them to seek care elsewhere:

Healthcare customer service lags behind other industries—sometimes in surprising and disturbing ways. While it’s not a surprise that most people (51 percent) think hotels are better at customer service, nearly half (40 percent) thought banks provided better customer service than hospitals and clinics. Shockingly, a significant number (18 percent) think that even airlines are better at customer service than healthcare providers.

These bad perceptions are based on real experiences – nearly a third of visitors (32 percent) and nearly a quarter of patients (23 percent) said healthcare employees did not do a good job of making them feel like their individual needs were understood.  It’s time to step back and re-evaluate.  There are many components to “customer service”.  We plan to devote an entire series of blogs to this topic.  Your reputation is your patient’s or potential patient’s impressions of your practice.  Let’s start with first impressions.

Five Things You Can Do to Provide High End Customer Service

From Start to Finish, beginning with outside your Front Door!

  1.  Does the immediate area and the businesses surrounding your office reflect your identity?  If it’s obvious that your neighborhood is in a state of decline it may be time to consider a move.
  2. Is your signage clearly visible from the road?  Go outside and take a look.  Has it been cleaned lately?  Does it show any visible signs of damage?  If the sign is lit can it be seen at night?
  3. Do you have adequate parking, both for handicapped and non-handicapped patients?
  4. Is the entrance to your building pleasing to the eye?  There is nothing worse than entering an office building that appears disheveled, dated and in desperate need of a landscaping company.  Your office may not be representative of the outside of your building but patients impressions are being formed long before they enter your front door.
  5. Your front door should be transparent.  The prospect of opening a door walking into a waiting room full of people can create an enormous amount of anxiety for many patients.  A transparent door allows your patient to survey the environment before stepping in.

Your patient hasn’t yet stepped inside how do they feel?  Is your patient at ease with their decision? Or, is your patient experiencing pangs of remorse because based on their experience up to this point they’ve seen nothing that makes them think that picking up the phone and calling you was a good idea.