How to improve the quality of customer (patient) service?
In recent years, the healthcare sector has been undergoing very dynamic changes. Increasing awareness among patients with regards to their rights, an increase in the number of private facilities competing for patients, a growing percentage of patients willing to pay extra for medical services – all this means that every medical facility must make sure to provide the highest quality of services. This manifests itself not only in the necessity to provide patients with care of experienced specialists or access to modern diagnostics and treatment methods. The quality of provided services also refers to the service the patient receives as a customer of the facility – whether or not their expectations and requirements are met. How can we improve the functioning of a clinic in this area?
1. Adapt the way you operate to the needs of your patients
The quality of customer service, among other things, refers to the extent to which the functioning of the medical facility is adapted to patients’ needs. This is exercised through different activities. For a significant share of patients, it may be important that the facility provides services in the evening, which allows them to visit after work. Others may appreciate effective customer service over the phone in the morning. Another group may like the ability to make an appointment with a specialist who only attends their patients at this particular location, while others will appreciate affordable prices. The Medidesk system helps gather this type of information and provides means for comprehensive processing and analysis of patient inquiries. Registration team employees can indicate reasons why patients eventually decided not to make an appointment (no available date, high price etc.). For the management of a medical facility this knowledge invaluable. It can be used to improve the functioning of the facility, adapt it to the needs of their patients and improve the quality of services as result.
2. Enable communication with the facility through different channels
Not so long ago the communication between the patient and the medical facility was only possible in two forms: in person, or by telephone. During the COVID-19 pandemic making appointments in person is not advised for safety reasons, and the telephone may be the only means for remote contact. We should enable patients to use different ways to get in touch. Email, contact forms on the website, social media, Messenger, online chats with the front-desk staff – there are plenty of possibilities, and each of them allows the facility to reach potential new patients. Moreover, it builds a positive image of a medical facility which is innovative and focused on the needs of their patients.
It is worth noting that Medidesk collects information regarding the number of contact attempts through each of the channels. This way the manager can verify the effectiveness of each channel in real-time.
3. Introduce schemes and standards for particular situations
During the everyday functioning of a medical facility, many unexpected situations may occur, which may have a negative impact on its perception if left unattended. Examples? A doctor is late for their shift, there are no more dates available for appointments with a particular specialist, an unsatisfied patient files a complaint, etc. Schemes of service prepared beforehand will enable front-desk staff to successfully overcome these situations, without any harm to the perception of the facility, and sometimes this may actually result in solidifying a professional image.
A doctor is late? The registration employee informs patients, apologizes to them, and if possible provides the reason (like an unexpected procedure at a hospital). No dates for appointments? Immediately suggest alternative possibilities. A complaint of an unsatisfied patient? Hand them a complaint form to fill and calmly explain how it will be processed. There is a way out of even the most difficult situation.
4. Invest in a professional, highly qualified front-desk team
There isn’t a shadow of exaggeration in the statement, which says that the front-desk is the real “command center” of a medical facility. This is where any person interested in the services of the particular facility goes first. The first impression of the registration team is usually the basis for a patient’s opinion about the facility. Organizing the work of the front-desk translates into the work of the entire facility. Therefore, it is important that only highly qualified staff with proper substantial knowledge and soft skills work at the reception. All this greatly influences the quality of customer service.
The training courses prepared by Medidesk experts are helpful in creating a perfect, professional registration experience – including such subjects as providing services to difficult patients, selling medical services, or GDPR at a medical facility. The courses are delivered by trainers with many years of experience in the industry and allow you to put together a team that will meet all patients’ requirements!
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