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The healthcare industry needs to start improving its customer experience, as it currently has one of the worst reputations among users. This poor quality has begun to affect the number of people using their local healthcare providers.
According to a Harris Poll, around 50% of patients put off seeking healthcare because they view it as too complex and inconvenient. This is affecting healthcare providers' potential income and harming the nation's overall health.
But thanks to various technologies such as AI, automated software, chatbots, and scheduling tools, improving customer experience in healthcare is easier than ever before.
When these emerging solutions are paired with effective customer experience management - which involves understanding and anticipating your patients' needs - customer experience can be improved so patients become far more engaged in the service.
The aim of customer experience in healthcare
Customer experience in healthcare aims to enhance and optimize patients' overall satisfaction and well-being throughout their healthcare journey. Customer experience, often referred to as patient experience in the healthcare context, encompasses all patient interactions and touchpoints with the healthcare system, including interactions with healthcare providers, support staff, facilities, and technology.
Benefits of better customer experience in healthcare
Improving the customer experience for your patients doesn't just affect them; it can also benefit your healthcare team and your business by increasing employee performance and boosting income.
Here are a few other benefits of improving the patient experience at your healthcare organization:
1. Customer retention
Offering a better experience for your patients during their appointments will increase the likelihood of them using your institution again. Retaining patients is extremely valuable for a healthcare business, as it can improve the total lifetime value of that individual.
Research from Hubspot shows that a slight 5% increase in customer retention can result in a 25% increase in profit, as that extra 5% will be spending more money at your clinic over time. Plus, re-marketing to existing customers within your sales funnel is cheaper than marketing to brand-new patients.
2. Streamlined processes
Using technology to improve the customer experience for your patients can also have a knock-on effect and streamline things for your staff. For example, utilizing automated scheduling software can make sending appointment reminders easier and quicker, reducing the time staff spends on menial tasks. This gives them more time to work on other projects, increasing productivity.
3. Boosts brand perception
If you offer an excellent experience to your current customers, your brand perception and reputation will improve over time, helping you attract more business in the future. Patients will be more likely to share their positive experiences, encouraging more people in your area to consider your services. Using customer experience to improve your perception will make you an authority in your area, helping you grow profits and more.
4. Improves quality of care
As a healthcare professional or business owner, providing quality care should be one of your main priorities. Improving the customer experience will also enhance the quality of your treatments. For example, improving the customer experience by offering online consultations will allow patients to get advice on their conditions earlier, helping them get the care they need quickly.
5 ways to improve healthcare customer experience
When boosting healthcare customer experience, you must consider how a patient interacts with your healthcare institution and make these touchpoints as seamless and intuitive as possible. By trying to make things enjoyable and more straightforward, you'll naturally improve the patient's experience.
Here are five ways how to improve customer experience in healthcare:
1. Streamline the registration process
Many potential patients put off getting help with their medical issues because the registration process can be a hassle. By making scheduling an appointment easier, you can improve customer experience and boost the number of people using your practice.
The best way to simplify the process is by offering online registration. According to Experian Health, more than 8 in 10 patients prefer an online registration experience.
Once you've streamlined registration, you should also set up a system to remind patients of their upcoming appointments. Appointment reminders help reduce no-shows and late cancellations, helping you keep your calendar full and ensuring all patients get the care they need. Look for appointment reminder software with critical patient-centric features, such as two-way texting for booking confirmations and personalized messages.
2. Create clear communication options
If you're easy to reach and communicate with, patients will have a better overall experience with your healthcare facility. Be sure to offer as many communication channels as possible so it's more convenient for patients to communicate with you. Think of adding channels like email, SMS, phone calls, chatbots on your website, and even direct messages on your social media accounts.
Clear communication also includes being prompt with your responses. This may be tough if you're busy, but even sending an automated confirmation that you've received a message reassures patients and builds trust, improving the overall experience.
3. Provide easy access to healthcare information
Locking patient information away and making it hard to access is a surefire way to disengage your patients. Making it easier for them to access their data will help improve patient experience and keep them more engaged and empowered to take an active role in their health management.
The best way to do this is to allow your patients to create online accounts on your website. Once logged in, they can view their medical records and information and use that data to make positive changes in their lives. An online portal is also a great way to make booking appointments easier.
4. Personalize your care
Customers crave a personalized experience. Research from Abbot shows that 72% of patients want more personalized, tailored care. This can be done by altering your approach to correspondence and the messages you send to your patients.
By sending informational articles and advice related to their specific ailments and issues, you can provide a more valuable service to them. Plus, making the easy change to address each patient individually can also improve the overall patient experience, as they will feel more cared for.
5. Collect feedback
Asking for feedback can be a great way to demonstrate to your patients that their opinion and experiences matter to your institution. By getting patients to answer simple surveys and questionnaires, you'll get valuable information on areas you can improve on, helping you boost customer experience in the future.
How technology can improve customer experience in the healthcare industry
Technology is making it much easier for medical professionals and organizations to provide better services and improve patient experience in healthcare. This technology can reduce workload, increase accessibility, and more.
To get the most out of your healthcare business, consider adding this technology to your processes:
1. AI implementation
AI is the next big emerging technology that shows much promise in improving customer experience, especially in the healthcare industry. Artificial intelligence can be used to help give patients support through chatbots that can be accessed at any time. These AI-enhanced chatbots can be used to answer simple questions, schedule appointments, and access certain information.
The company's flywheel strategy emphasizes increasing interactions, engaging customers in health management, and expanding integrated services. Technology, including AI, automates processes across units, optimizing pharmacy workflows and improving overall efficiency.
The CVS Health App, with 55 million digital users, offers a personalized experience, while digital engagement seeks to enhance satisfaction and build lasting connections. The tech stack includes a mix of cloud platforms, BI tools, and diverse databases. Overall, CVS Health strives to provide seamless, personalized healthcare services and drive engagement for its extensive consumer base.
2. Virtual care options
Virtual care encompasses online video calls, chatbots, and online appointment bookings, which are all excellent ways to make things more convenient for the patient.
Video calls are one of the best virtual care options, as they can help patients get seen quicker from the comfort of their homes. Using this technology in your practice can reduce wait times and work well for initial screenings to ensure that people who need critical attention can get it.
Utilizing technology for the collection of essential patient data not only saves valuable time for providers but also enhances the overall patient experience. Secure communication between patients and providers regarding health concerns and the ability to check in for appointments on mobile devices contribute to a more seamless process.
As Luma Health extended its services to larger clients with more intricate requirements, Zendesk played a pivotal role in reducing wait times by 30 percent, improving customer satisfaction scores by 5 points, and ensuring compliance.
3. Process automation
Software that automates specific processes is having a significant impact on boosting both customer and employee experience in the healthcare sector. With automation, repetitive tasks such as scheduling appointments, data entry, and correspondence can be taken off the hands of staff and be done by technology.
As less effort is required to perform these tasks thanks to automation, staff can instead use their time on other aspects of healthcare, which can improve the customer experience. Plus, automation helps reduce errors, meaning no faulty messages or appointments are sent out to patients ever again.
One of the easiest ways healthcare providers can incorporate automation is through appointment scheduling apps and tools.
The heightened efficiency did not compromise patient outcomes—the Net Promoter Score® (NPS) for its round-the-clock medical service increased from 5 to 8.5 out of 10. By having the appropriate technology in place, Saludsa demonstrated agility in responding to significant changes within a short timeframe.
With the help of digital platforms and mobile applications, Saludsa has streamlined appointment scheduling, facilitated secure communication between patients and healthcare providers, and improved access to health-related information.
The integration of telehealth services has allowed for virtual consultations, reducing the need for in-person visits and providing more convenient healthcare options for patients. Through these technological advancements, Saludsa has demonstrated a commitment to improving overall customer satisfaction and engagement.
4. Rewards technology
Rewards technology is a great way to improve customer experience in healthcare and is very effective in boosting patient engagement. This technology incentivizes engagement by offering repeat patients perks and benefits, making it more beneficial for them to keep using the same healthcare organization. It adds an increased sense of value to your service, boosting the customer experience each time they use it.
Rewards technology is one of multiple strategies that help maintain customer loyalty and is worth implementing if you want to keep a consistent base of repeat customers.
The solution provided extensive redemption choices, offering over 15,000 options, including experiences, gift vouchers, and perks from 70+ countries. The Xoxoday admin dashboard granted HR managers visibility into the entire process, enabling them to track rewards, recipients, and redemption patterns for program efficiency evaluation.
One significant improvement was the introduction of instant rewards. With Xoxoday, managers could seamlessly reward doctors with a simple click, eliminating the cumbersome procurement and distribution process. The e-reward coupons had zero operational overheads, streamlining the entire rewards and redemption process.
Xoxoday's complemented Aster DM Healthcare's commitment to doctor development and motivation, resulting in increased efficiency and effectiveness in their rewards program.
Customer experience within the healthcare industry is essential and something that needs to be improved. A better customer experience means patients will be far more engaged, improving profit and ROI.
There are many ways to improve customer experience in healthcare and various technologies to make implementation easier. To make a difference in the quality of the care you offer your patients, start by incorporating the above methods. Doing so should help you see improvements in the overall customer experience, making your healthcare facility a better-performing one.