Need help improving the customer experience in your healthcare business? Check out our tips to execute good healthcare CX here.
The healthcare industry is bigger than ever. But despite helping millions of patients every day, many healthcare patients routinely encounter less than stellar customer experiences. Indeed, the average customer experience for healthcare patients can be improved in a number of important ways.
But how? Today, let’s break down the importance of customer experience in healthcare. Then we’ll examine improvements you can make in your own healthcare business to ensure patients feel cared for and satisfied with their service.
Why Does CX Matter in Healthcare?
In short, CX matters in healthcare for the same core reasons why it matters everywhere else: it impacts a patient’s perception of their experience. That can impact:
- How the patient perceives the level of care they received (e.g., whether it was satisfactory or not)
- What the patient will say to others considering signing up for your healthcare enterprise
- The long-term reputation of your healthcare business
Healthcare CX can involve a multitude of different factors and experiences. It might start, for example, with a healthcare business’s branding, including its marketing materials, logo, and so on. It can extend to the customer experiences that a patient has, such as interactions with the reception staff, interactions with nurses or doctors, etc.
All of those factors can combine into a holistic experience that each patient receives and feels. Because healthcare is so subjective to patients, despite its roots in science, CX matters more in healthcare than it arguably does in other industries.
The Impact of Patient Experiences
Indeed, a patient’s experience at a hospital, clinic, or private practice can impact whether they will return for a follow-up appointment, whether they will take medication as directed, and much more.
Other reasons why healthcare CX is essential include:
- It can provide your healthcare brand with a competitive edge. If you offer fantastic experiences to each patient, you can bet those patients will tell their family members if they need similar treatments.
- It optimizes your practice. Making things smoother for patients also usually makes things smoother and easier for healthcare workers, which can improve productivity.
- It bolsters retention rates. By providing patients with excellent experiences, you’ll get those patients to come back again and again, stabilizing finances.
- It may even save money. By improving productivity through introducing enhancements to the CX, you might save on operational costs and other expensive factors.
Given these facts, it’s easy to see why healthcare brands need to double down on improving their CX from the ground up.
Major Areas of Improvement for Healthcare CX
Right now, healthcare brands and enterprises face significant challenges surrounding patient experiences.
Seamless Interactions and Experiences
For starters, some healthcare brands don’t deliver appropriately seamless interactions and experiences for their patients. For example, a patient might have to visit one desk to get a prescription, visit a separate online portal to print out a specific paper, then visit another place in town to finally pick up the medication they need.
Not only is this annoying and frustrating for the patient, but it likely introduces bloat and increased administrative costs for the hospital or clinic heading the entire project. All in all, it’s a significant area of potential improvement.
Furthermore, many healthcare brands don’t offer the right level of personalization to their patients.
Whenever a patient has a medical issue or problem, they want to feel seen and cared for. In other words, they want to feel like an individual. Impersonal text messages, emails, and other communications can make patients feel like their doctors or healthcare providers don’t really care for them. This increases the likelihood that they will leave that healthcare brand for a competitor.
Many healthcare organizations need to focus more on providing personalized marketing messages and other communications, particularly surrounding medications or doctor’s appointments. Such simple measures can do wonders to increase a patient’s trust in a given enterprise.
Remote, Live Assistance
These days, more people than ever are interested in remote medical assistance. Unfortunately, many healthcare brands still haven’t leaned into this worldwide shift, partially driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Patient Data Security
In addition, patients are more aware of the potential vulnerability of their personal data, like medical records and Social Security numbers. The threat of digital attacks and identity theft looms large in the minds of many healthcare patients. Medical organizations need to take this into account and provide their patients with greater peace of mind in order to retain large customer bases, as well as stay in compliance with regulations like the GDPR and CCPA.
How To Improve Customer Experience in Healthcare
If a brand wants to improve the experiences of its patients, good news: there are several ways to plan and execute a superior CX for all patients in an organization.
Personalize All Communications
These days, it’s important to treat each patient or client as a unique individual. You can do that by personalizing communications with those patients.
For example, begin all medical-related text messages with the patient’s name and a personalized greeting. Even if you send out SMS messages en masse to many patients, including each patient’s name will go a long way toward making them feel seen and cared for.
Extend the same philosophy to all other communications, like emails, documents, letters, etc. The more you do this, the more attached patients will become to your healthcare organization.
Get Rid of Unneeded Costs
Administrative bloat is a major plague on many healthcare enterprises. In addition, medical service consumers face high costs everywhere they turn. You can improve patients’ CX by trying to reduce or regulate costs for patients in any way possible.
Luckily, there are lots of ways in which you can do this, such as:
- Optimizing patient flows
- Standardizing contracts to reduce administrative time and expenses
- Outsourcing office work to organizations like Awesome CX so you don’t have to pay for full salaries for many different secretaries
- And so on
By reducing costs throughout your organization, you can then pass on those cost savings to your clients.
Cut Wait Times Down
In a similar light, reduce wait times throughout your medical organization. Long wait times are a major pain for medical patients, and they can reduce the quality of your CX. Some resources indicate that 62% of healthcare clients report long wait times as one of the major discouraging factors preventing them from working with a given healthcare provider.
To lower wait times for patients:
- Try to use automated chatbots to answer brief, basic questions on your medical website.
- Offer self-service check-in functions on mobile devices to limit wait times and waiting lines at your medical facility.
- Automate most of your appointment scheduling. This will enable patients to choose the best appointed times for their needs.
- Make and optimize an online patient portal that allows patients to access their medical data whenever they like (see more below).
Be transparent with customers and consumers wherever possible. Patients have to feel safe in order to trust you, so they need to feel like you won’t lie to them or obscure the truth under any circumstances.
Therefore, always be upfront with patients about costs, medical information, and policies. Even if the news is bad or maybe what clients don’t want to hear, they’ll appreciate transparency more in the long run.
Offer Multiple Communication Channels
Giving medical clients multiple ways to reach an office is vital, both for making it easy to set up appointments and for enhancing trust in an organization. Try to set up and maintain a range of communication channels, like chat rooms, email addresses, and phone lines.
If needed, use a call center to ensure that patients have someone to contact 24/7, even in the middle of the night.
Lean Into Remote Assistance
A healthcare organization can further boost patients’ customer experiences by leaning into remote assistance rather than leaning away from it. Remote medical and healthcare advice, support, and other forms of assistance are the way of the future. Invest in remote telecommunications technology like teleconferencing software and platforms, webcams and microphones, and more.
Medical personnel should be trained to offer excellent healthcare services over the Internet. While it’s true that many procedures must still be done in person, basic things like checkups can oftentimes be done online, saving you and the patient time and money.
This is also true for things like customer support, of course. If you don’t have the staff to make this happen, organizations like Awesome CX can help. Our staff members can fill in for your CS agents or train CS agents so that they perform their tasks comfortably and to the satisfaction of their clients/patients.
Enable 24/7 Access to Patient Information
Lastly, try to offer all patients 24/7 access to their personal information, like their medical records, prescriptions, and more. This is easier than ever with a steady, consistent online portal.
By offering patients access to their key information, they never feel like you hold total control over their medical futures. This, in turn, will help build up trust between you and your key customers, improving your reputation over time as well.
Awesome CX Can Help With Healthcare CX Execution
Executing the above healthcare CX improvements and strategies can be done alone, but that’s not necessary. Instead, you can rely on the expertise of Awesome CX.
As a trusted CX improvement enterprise, we’re well-equipped and ready to provide customer support assistance, UI and UX improvements, and much more to your healthcare brand. Depending on your exact needs, we’ll formulate a winning strategy to bolster the customer experiences patients encounter.
Let’s chat today to get started.
What is CX (Customer Experience)? | McKinsey
Telehealth: A quarter-trillion-dollar post-COVID-19 reality? | McKinsey
California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) | State of California – Department of Justice – Office of the Attorney General
Press Ganey 2021 Consumer Experience Trends in Healthcare Report | Digital Health Times