Why customer service matters in healthcare
Terri Phillips | Jul 27, 2021
Medical offices, like many other businesses, depend on professional customer service. From medical receptionists who answer phone calls, to the waiting room experience, the doctor consultation itself, and post-appointment follow-up. All those moments can make or break customer experience and have a substantial impact on whether patients will return to your practice or recommend it to friends and family. Making sure every single person that represents your medical practice is well-trained, experienced, and can provide comprehensive care is crucial.
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The first point of contact between the patient and the medical practice is integral to strong customer service in healthcare. Most often, this initial contact takes place when a patient calls to make an appointment for the first time. Many practices fall at this first hurdle. Specifically, patients’ phone calls need to be answered quickly. Eighty percent of callers who reach voicemail will hang up and look for another medical practice. If you can answer every call within 2-3 rings, you’ll book more appointments and build a highly professional image in the eyes of your patients.
Due to ever-increasing demands from consumers, medical patients have higher expectations of customer service in healthcare than ever before. In addition to successful diagnosis and treatment of their condition, patients want to be surrounded by people who’ll provide them with high-quality care during that process. For many patients, a visit to the doctor can be a stressful—and even scary—experience. Those patients in particular value the attention and focus that staff members put on their health and overall comfort.
Medical practices, like many businesses, rely on the opinions of their customers, which is why customer service is so important in healthcare. A 2020 survey found that 71% of patients look up recommendations and reviews before they choose a medical practice. It’s therefore critical that every patient has a great experience and that medical practices work on the assumption that a review will be left after every interaction.
It is worth remembering that care and support for patients shouldn’t end when your practice closes for the business day. Many patients often want to contact medical practices after hours, and they value practices that provide consistent support during that time. Of course, staffing in-house to achieve that level of service would be extremely challenging. That’s where a live medical answering service can be a great solution. 24/7 coverage from live medical receptionists will allow you to focus on the health of your patients, knowing every call is answered around-the-clock.
Why does customer service matter in the healthcare industry? It is important to remember that patients who receive proper care at every step of their experience with your medical office are more likely to come back and recommend your practice to others. Each positive encounter builds trust between patient and healthcare provider. However, this can go both ways: every adverse event can discourage patients from coming back to your medical office. By leaving a strong first impression, answering calls quickly, and providing after hours support, you can make sure your patients have a positive customer service experience every time.