How to Improve Customer Service in Healthcare? Top 5 Ways to Patient-centricity

The healthcare industry, like every other industry today, is constantly on the lookout for how to improve customer service for success.
Good customer service is crucial in the healthcare business since customers (Read: Patients) are usually in their most vulnerable state when they seek (healthcare) services and what they feel during such tough times can have a profound impact on their overall care experience. Patients want to be heard, feel cared for, and valued during their medical interactions and they expect a lot of sensitivity from the healthcare provider. Even a single bad experience can have a huge impact on the reputation and credibility of the organization, especially in this age of social media when sharing online reviews and ratings and sentiments is commonplace.

Therefore, it is imperative for a healthcare organization to align its operations and principles toward customer-centricity and continuously build on its customer service capabilities. Let us first understand the importance of customer service in healthcare in more detail before we share some pointers on how to improve customer service in a healthcare business.

The Role of Customer Service in Healthcare
As patients today are becoming increasingly hyper-connected and have access to enormous information across various channels such as websites or review sites, they are far more aware of their choices regarding healthcare services. Patients perceive healthcare as just another paid service like any other and they seek quality before anything else. Hence, for a healthcare business to be successful, providing exceptional customer service becomes vital to achieve the following –
● To set expectations for the quality of care
Remember, consistency is the key to success. Employing highly skilled personnel in a healthcare facility is not enough. Rather, the focus should be on instilling the values of good customer service in each member of your workforce. It is important to deliver a high-quality pre-and post-care experience to your patients consistently. The kind of experience healthcare providers give to their customers during every interaction, sets expectations about the quality of care they receive from the provider.
● To enable better, life-saving decisions with timely and accurate information
Customer service in healthcare isn’t just about answering common queries. In critical times, patients need accurate information and timely advice, which helps them make better decisions that can save precious lives.
● To streamline appointment scheduling, check-in, and service delivery
Customer needs and expectations are increasing more than ever. They look for highly streamlined processes and efficient systems in place that help them in appointment scheduling, check-in, and service delivery.
● To improve the quality of services based on patient feedback
An important part of customer service in healthcare is receiving and acting on patient feedback that can shed light on key issues that are hampering patients’ experience. What patients think of their experience is vital to improving services for better care in the future.
● To increase brand loyalty and referrals
Outstanding customer service can help healthcare businesses create brand loyalty. Happy, gratified patients are more likely to come back to the same healthcare facility/brand. They may also refer other patients to you if they have received excellent care.
Therefore, giving importance to customer service is crucial in healthcare. All workers in a healthcare organization should approach their job with a customer-centric outlook – whether they interact directly with patients or have a more behind-the-scenes role.
Healthcare professionals who fail to deliver exceptional customer service are likely to face challenges with patient retention. It is not just about being empathetic and professional, but also about providing personalized services with quality care.
How to Improve Customer Service in Healthcare?
1. Provide Patients with Customizable Self-service Tools
Today’s customers expect instant gratification. They want a quick turnaround for their queries with accurate information. Providing self-service tools such as knowledge bases or conversational chatbots make this goal attainable. These tools can handle repetitive customer requests effortlessly by providing information anytime from anywhere. This 24×7 availability enabled by technology is a great way to improve the customer service experience.
2. Personalize at Every Customer Touchpoint
According to a survey by SuperOffice, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. To offer superior customer service, healthcare providers must therefore personalize their service at every touchpoint. Health concerns often cause anxiety for patients and their families. They seek personal attention and easy communication tools to discuss their health. A strong bond can be established with patients by making customized follow-up calls, and sending bespoke emails, newsletters, or birthday wishes. This sort of patient engagement could be another effective way to improve the customer service experience.
3. Automate Healthcare Processes/Workflows End-to-end
Providers must make all healthcare processes and workflows as effortless as possible while creating their customer service program. For example, consider automating the appointment scheduling process and patient data management for a single view of the patient, so that quality care is delivered to the patients. Automation can not only help in offering the right treatment strategy for the patient at the right time, but it can also reduce the total cost of care.
4. Enable Omnichannel Customer Experience
Patients, specifically Millennials, want to invest in their digital health experience via omnichannel tools such as live chat, text, apps, web, video, and voice calls, chatbots, and telehealth. Hence, healthcare providers must embrace omnichannel customer service and ensure that these technologies work as intended for customers/patients. This, in turn, will increase customer retention and lifetime value (LTV).
5. Adopt Technologies like AI and Predictive Analytics for Patient 360
With intelligent technologies and tools like an advanced Customer Service Management (CSM) platform, healthcare providers can automate common customer requests, provide answers with AI-powered chatbots, and empower agents to deliver a better service experience. Furthermore, conversational AI helps healthcare businesses offer personalized, delightful responses to their customer inquiries. AI can also analyze patient sentiments to improve on the weak areas and serve them better.
By adopting predictive analytics, providers can understand the customer’s intent and automatically categorize, prioritize, and route cases to the right agents. This enables process efficiencies, faster responses to customers, and improved customer satisfaction.

Key Takeaway

All said, the importance of customer service in healthcare cannot be ignored if you want to build a patient-centered healthcare model. Healthcare providers who are keen on streamlining their processes and offering self-service programs, real-time engagement, reminders, and other such technology-powered handy services to help their patients stay healthy, will ultimately establish brand loyalty that goes a long way. Empowered with data and technology, they can make informed and better decisions, contributing to business growth and success.
Out of our experience of providing IT services and software solutions to healthcare businesses, we found ServiceNow CSM to be the most efficient platform for improving customer service in healthcare. If you wish to know more about how to improve customer service in your healthcare business using ServiceNow CSM,  get in touch with us.

Sridevi Prekke

Sridevi leads Content Strategy at KANINI and brings over a decade of experience in Marketing & Corporate Communications in the IT/Software industry. She was recognized as one of the “Most Influential Content Marketing Professionals” by the World Marketing Congress & CMO Asia for 2018.


Joshua Smith

Joshua is a process improvement thought leader and digital transformation expert at KANINI. Over the past 15 years, his focus has always been on achieving organizational maturity and enhancing business processes through implementing tools and workflows to drive transformation initiatives. With experience in multiple verticals from – manufacturing to healthcare, Joshua brings a practitioner’s perspective when working on business solutions and goals to allow him to advise and guide on industry and process best practices.

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