As many sectors are moving towards customer service excellence, healthcare providers are not left out of this trend as patients are less forgiving of providers with whom they have had a negative experience. PwC Health Research Institute released a report detailing that healthcare customers are becoming more difficult to please. Today’s health care customers are getting used to certain standards and benefits like 24-hour service and mobile access. As it is, the ideal experience is no longer only built on clinical factors but also personal experience like convenience, customer service and staff attitudes. Price is also no longer the only purchasing consideration consumers have to make. They are more likely to choose a hospital or doctor because of personal experiences and not because of the price.
Healthcare patients demand respect from healthcare providers as well as high quality and safe procedures. The information gap is also closing as savvy consumers research hospitals, clinics and procedures online and come in armed with questions and expectations. As healthcare providers are adjusting, patients’ wants and expectations are also increasing, looking for:
- Facilities that offer multiple services in one location
- Ability to exchange information through online and mobile channels of communication
- Patient education during visits
- Cafeteria, access to Wi-Fi and other forms of entertainment
Patients want information. They want their doctors to tell them what is wrong with them no matter how small it might be and why they are having certain tests done. They also want to know if their medical information is being shared and what exactly is being shared with other doctors or nurses. Most patients hate filling in paperwork. When they call in for an appointment, they want all their information ready before they arrive for a visit. Patients also prefer to visit a hospital where doctors and nurses treat them as old friends. Providers need to try and accommodate patients who are getting used to better customer service.
Patient experience affects customer loyalty. If patients feel at home, they come back and recommend their doctor to friends and family – just like with any other service. The voice of healthcare customers may be the best kept secret, but that is changing as consumers exert greater control over how their healthcare money is spent and exercise power to vote with their feet and wallets. Hospitals and insurers are competing for loyal customers. The more satisfied customers are the more they are willing to return to a particular healthcare provider.