affordable care act | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

A Story of Willie and Aubrey - 2/8/22


The gift shop was a great experience!  Aubrey had bought items online from the shop for years, but she had never stepped foot in the store itself.  However, when travel plans took her on a trip to new surroundings, she took time out of her day to go to Read more

It Matters Who You Know - 2/1/22


The season ticket account holder has an issue, but he’s not too concerned about it:  I’m going to call my guy, and he’ll take care of it. The patient is confused about their bill.  The family member says: I know someone who can help. The husband discovers a problem in the Read more

Put an End to 1-Star Ratings - 1/25/22


If you ever had service performed on your car, I would not doubt it if you received the immediate e-mail asking for that 5-star rating. They want the big ratings because that makes them look good, and to get the big average rating you have to avoid the 1-Star Read more

Signs of Service Recovery Situations - 1/18/22


As we continue the slow trend of more and more customer interactions becoming in-person again, we need to remember those signs that we’re about to enter one of THOSE conversations.  It can typically take only 5-10 seconds to realize this is going to be a high-risk situation with the Read more

In Survey Development, Think in Reverse - 1/11/22


We often meet with clients interested in conducting a survey, and when we discuss the project, many clients come with questions in-hand.  They are interested, curious, even excited sometimes about the possibility of tapping into the voice of the customer! And when we review their questions and start to see Read more

Foster Positive Feelings - 1/4/22


I bet a lot of you all are like me - when you’re asked to share your feelings, it’s not always something that feels comfortable.  It obviously depends on the situation and who’s asking you to share your feelings.  So, many of us might hesitate in sharing our feelings. However, Read more

How to Make the Situation Right - 12/28/21


The manager in the field office felt that - when problems arose with customers - the company didn’t do an especially good job of responding effectively.  He felt like this was hurting customer renewals of annual service agreements.  The company developed many customer service and retention initiatives with little Read more

2021 Holiday Poem - 12/21/21


Breathe and rest and relax and rejuvenate. Close the eyes, and fill the lungs. Take a break, and be with friends. This is a time to begin. Renaissance is called a rebirth. Birth can bring new life. Life gives opportunity for living. Living gives opportunity for joy. We have so many outside factors, So many things that tug Read more

“I’m Sorry” Doesn’t Mean “I’m Guilty” - 12/14/21


Individuals and organizations mess up; that’s part of life… They told me that they were going to be at my home at a certain time; they were REALLY late.  The customer service representative said they would get a message to a co-worker, and the co-worker would call me back; I Read more

Apply Selfless Service - 12/7/21


Andrea had worked in human resources for years, and the company decided that it wanted to hire employees who were more customer service-oriented, regardless of the position.  After making that decision, they added some creative questions to the interview process. One of the most interesting questions that Andrea had to Read more

ACA/Obamacare Emphasizes the Patient Experience…for Physicians

Posted on in Business Advice, Healthcare Please leave a comment

According to the article Physician Practices Seek Patient Satisfaction Surveys As Obamacare Emerges, payments for physician practices could be based in part on the patient experience – similar to what’s already happening for hospitals and home health providers.

“If you look at today’s environment under the ACA, patient experience is going to become more important,” said Todd Evenson, vice president of consulting services and data solutions at MGMA. “It is not clear what vehicle they are going to use as to how quality is evaluated but there will likely be clinical as well patient experience components the value equation.”

If this turns out to be anything like the hospital-focused HCAHPS evaluation tools for patient satisfaction, there will be a number of survey attributes dealing with communication, feeling cared for, frequency of activities, and consistency of service. They’ll ask about people, processes, and facilities when gauging the patient experience. The physician practice surveys will measure physician group v. physician group as well as how well an individual entity improves its own performance over time.

Therefore, physician groups should prepare by learning some of the key lessons of HCAHPS. It’s about getting ALL staff to ALWAYS introduce themselves, listen to the patient, and convey they care. It’s about having consistency from part-time to full-time staff, regardless of time-of-day or day-of-week. It’s about getting customer service standards in place, best practices identified and implemented, about hiring people with the natural inclination to be patient-focused, and it’s about constantly monitoring and improving today to get ahead of the ACA curve of tomorrow.

Find the gaps in performance today to begin moving toward the consistency needed tomorrow.

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Federally-Driven Health Insurance and the Future of Customer Care

Posted on in Business Advice, Healthcare Please leave a comment

Who would want the Federal Government telling them what to do? Well…for a price…a lot of businesses. Many observers wonder why the insurance industry is behind the Federal Government mandating insurance coverage for all. The quick answer is this – if your product was mandated, how much would you fight Government involvement? If you’re Dunkin’ Donuts, and every individual in the country is required to eat a glazed donut every day, would you object? If you were Schwinn, and every person in America had to buy a new bike every year, would you object?

Yes, with that requirement will come a lot of oversight, but the insurance companies are looking in the short-term more at the increase in demand, not the increase in oversight.

And why are we discussing this? Because the structure of the legislation should result in at least one good thing for citizens – improved customer service from insurance companies. According to an article in Forbes magazine titled Why Customer Service Matters in the New Healthcare Insurance Landscape, insurers will “have to deal with challenges such as competition, price and margin pressure, and consumer education. In this environment, cost-effective, yet, reliable direct-to-consumer customer service before, during and after the initial “sale” will be a critical competence for success.”

The tips provided for the insurers in the article include the following:

1. Hire/retain great staff.

2. Make it easy for the customer to do business with you.

3. Go to the customer to serve them.

I made these tips a little more generic to illustrate the broader point of the article. No matter what kind of business you’re in, great customer service involves three core pieces: Your people, your processes, and your customers. Take all the strategies in the world on customer service, and boil it down to these three. Consider the following questions:

1. What are the characteristics of your best employees? Identify them, build those skills, and look to acquire others that have these best practice qualities.

2. How can you make things quick, self-evident, and simple on the customer do business with you? How can you make it equally as easy for your employees to deliver great service?

3. Determine where your customers make decisions, where they use your services, where they get information about your company and your competitors. What can you do to be more present with your customers?

If your business (or the health insurers themselves) answer these questions and take action, maybe the future of customer care may be a little brighter.

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/

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