How Hospitals Can Create a Customer Service Culture

Posted by Brian Lee in Public relations |

INTRODUCTION

patient-pickup-signThese days, hospitals have strong incentives to improve the patient experience. One reason is that the CMS reduces Medicare payments for poor-performing hospitals. Another is that the CMS publicly releases the results of patients’ perspectives of their hospital experience in its Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey.

Need another reason? Accenture reported that hospitals with “superior” patient experiences achieved 50 percent higher net margins.

Your hospital would be best served creating a culture where customer service is every employee’s focus; otherwise, customer service traits will never be consistently or universally performed. Here are some tips.

USE DATA TO IMPROVE YOUR SERVICE

Working on improving your hospital’s patient experience is actually a form of reputation management, and one objective of reputation management is preventing a reputation crisis, such as bad ratings. One way to work on reputation management is by figuring out what areas or services to shore up.

You already have your patient satisfaction scores to use as baseline numbers. Use the data that you have to guide your direction. For example, the Cleveland Clinic discovered that low rankings in the ED were because of communication issues, not wait times.

KEEP HOSPITAL STAFF MOTIVATED AND ENGAGED

The onboarding process for new employees is an important time in which customer service must be explained. But once training is over, managers, department heads and team leaders need to keep their staff members accountable. They can drive employee engagement by aligning activities with the hospital’s larger strategic plan and organization-wide goals, according to Gallup.

Your communications department should help the hospital president or CEO to promulgate his/her strategic plan and goals and provide regular (e.g. quarterly) status or progress reports. It is hoped that accountability and seeing improvement will keep staff motivated and engaged in providing outstanding customer service.

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