hospitals | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

How to Fix Other People’s Problems - 1/31/23


I was helping a friend navigate some healthcare processes recently, so I conducted a 3-way call with my friend and the physician practice to try to get things cleared up.  The employee I spoke with on the phone - let’s call her Katie. There had been poor communication between different Read more

What to do When You’re in the Middle - 1/24/23


Bob and Sarah are arguing, and you’re in the middle.  Bob’s an employee, and Sarah is a customer, and they have a difference of opinion.  Somehow you’re involved even though you didn’t have anything to do with the interaction in question, the complaint being addressed.  You find yourself being Read more

Is the Customer Issue an Organizational Issue? - 1/17/23


Customer retention is vital.  Most of next year’s customers are going to be those who are this year’s customers. So, the more you lose today, the fewer you will have tomorrow.  Organizations conduct research, data mine, or bring in consultants to help identify those customers who may be most Read more

Decide Who’s Driving the Bus - 1/10/23


I once heard a speech titled: Who’s driving the bus? I knew the speaker beforehand, so that made his talk extra special.  It was funny and relatable and held many words of wisdom.  The crux of the speech was that every one of us has our own facets, our own Read more

Create a Personal Vision for the Year - 1/3/23


This time of year is all about the New Year’s resolution.  We’re going to exercise or eat differently!  Then…2 months later, who knows what’ll be happening, but at least you set a goal.  For many of us, that’s progress. For businesses, that New Year’s resolution often has to deal with Read more

Avoid Making a Bad Situation Worse - 12/27/22


Twitter.  When you hear that word, does your temperature rise?  Do you roll your eyes?  Do you ask: What is Twitter? From a customer service perspective, Twitter has evolved into a virtual place for consumers to complain about businesses.  For those businesses savvy enough to understand the importance of communicating Read more

2022 Holiday Poem - 12/20/22


The year is winding down. The work is still up front. We’re making that transition to close out the 12th month. We’re trying to find a balance between personal life and work. Trying to be kind to people even if they’re acting like a jerk. It’s taking all of our patience and our Read more

Open Minds and Ornery Customers - 12/13/22


We all have to deal with some crazy customers, at times.  They might be loud or sad.  Flighty or mad.  They may have unrealistic expectations or think it’s OK to skip past people in line because their need must be more important than the others.  Some are rude, some Read more

Apply These Values for Great Customer Service - 12/6/22


One of the industries where we do a lot of our work is local government.  These CSS clients are not necessarily selling a product or having the number of competitors that a lot of our private industry clients and our sports clients face.  But they need to deliver a Read more

Redefine “Access” to Treat Customers Special - 11/29/22


One of our clients puts on major events throughout the country.  When we conduct post-event surveys, many of the attendees rave about the access they had to certain entertainers, locations in the venue, parking lots, or even information.  Others decry the fact that they lacked that access. This does pose Read more

Patient Experience Pros Don’t Have Unlimited Resources, Therefore…

Posted on in Business Advice, Healthcare Please leave a comment

Blog 10-8-14The healthcare industry is seemingly struggling to come up with a common and manageable definition for the “Patient Experience.” Maybe it’s because “experience” is such a broad term just like terms such as “feeling, perception, opinion” – which are often the words used to evaluate the Patient Experience. As an example, when the article Hospitals Focus On Patient Experience Through Design addresses Patient Experience, virtually the sole focus of the experience is the facility – the layout, the furnishings, the look/feel of the physical surroundings.

Therefore, Patient Experience could reference a facility, an employee, a phone call, or a website. It could reference a process, a wait time, other patients, communications, quality of care, cleanliness, food quality, or noise. It’s just too much to consider in terms of the multitude of definitions and aspects of an encounter or relationship that the patient has with the provider.

Patient Experience professionals don’t have unlimited time or resources. They can’t redesign a facility, turn all employees into Disney cast members, and get processes working like a Toyota assembly line to create the optimal Patient Experience. Instead, to make Patient Experience management…well…manageable, ask yourself this one question:

How do we focus “Patient Experience” efforts on that which has maximum impact on the patient’s feelings, perceptions, and opinions?

I’m going back to those 3 words – feelings/perceptions/opinions – because patients make the decision about whether to return if needed or seek care elsewhere based on feelings/perceptions/opinions. The answer to that question helps you to determine what impacts the patient’s willingness to recommend your organization to others. The answer to that question results in your understanding what can make a patient decide to give you the positive or negative rating. And the answer to that question helps you to better understand how they decide to be compliant with their self-care or post-discharge instructions. They decide all of these points based on their feelings/perceptions/opinions.

Through research, you can determine – statistically – what aspects of the experience have the greatest bearing on willingness to return, willingness to recommend, ratings, and compliance. By asking patients what impacts their feelings/perceptions/opinions, you allow them to guide you toward what would move their experience from good to GREAT! Don’t view your role as a Patient Experience professional as one that requires you to fix all the people, process, and facility ills in the healthcare world.

Let the Voice of the Patient guide your plans and priorities.

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The “Patient Engagement” Conundrum

Posted on in Business Advice, Healthcare Please leave a comment

Blog 8-27-14

One of the latest healthcare buzzwords is “Engagement,” as in “Patient Engagement.” Unlike patient satisfaction, clinical care, customer service, and other service-oriented terms, Patient Engagement is a little more nebulous to the average healthcare consumer.

However, the term’s definition is abundantly clear to most healthcare institutions. In the article Patient engagement creates Stage 2 challenges for providers, Patient Engagement requires that “5% of patients be engaged in their care through an online portal or electronic medical record. Hospitals that don’t achieve 90 consecutive days of meaningful use at Stage 2 during the 2014 fiscal year will be penalized financially. They must do this to continue receiving their incentive payments and avoid losing 1% of future Medicare reimbursements.​” Ouch!

Essentially the Federal Government has narrowly defined Patient Engagement as getting consumers to sign-in to a system with their electronic medical information. There are many reasons given why this is so difficult, and many suggestions followed: “Updating organizational policies addressing patient EMR access (particularly looking at gaps in the system); continuously educating patients and providers of their roles related to the engagement; making sure information is robust, including more than just appointment dates and lab results; staying current with standard development that supports consumer engagement; and eliminating patient fees for electronic health information.”

But much of this is missing one key point. The culture of America, in particular, revolves around the fact that we don’t have to directly pay for a significant portion of our healthcare. Sure, we pay premiums and pay taxes, but it’s not like paying cash for a car – where you either keep the $20,000 in your bank account or write a check today for $20,000. Many Americans pay virtually nothing out of pocket for a visit or procedure, and the others spend the vast majority of their healthcare expenses on premiums. We’re a culture that’s focused on requesting the best procedure and expecting physicians, hospitals, and other institutions to deliver the best care. Whether that happens or not is another debate, but that’s the current state of the culture.

Until this culture changes, Patient Engagement – as it’s defined by the government – will continue to be a challenge. I have had 2 medical procedures lately, and it was like pulling teeth (healthcare pun intended) to determine my out-of-pocket costs before the procedure. Even then, they were only rough estimates. There was no proactive sharing of that information on the part of the healthcare providers, so it was all on the customer to determine the cost and make an informed decision.

Also, I was asked to create a log-in to my EMR last year, but I was just given a copy of a detailed form with instructions; there was no incentive, no promotion – just “here’s the form if you want to login.” To change a culture, the provider has to share what’s in it for the patient to do something different, to begin changing behaviors.

For Patient Engagement to truly succeed, the culture has to change.

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Patient Satisfaction…from a Child’s Mouth to Our Ears

Posted on in Business Advice, Healthcare Please leave a comment

Blog 2-11-14In the Forbes article This 15-Year-Old Absolutely Nails What ‘Patient Centered’ Is – And Isn’t, the author addresses patient satisfaction (or a lack thereof) in today’s hospitals. He shows the video of a 15 year old patient who discusses her complaints about her current inpatient stay and her suggestions to make it a better experience.

She talks about the need for sleep, the need to be a part of discussions about her care, and the desire to feel cared about as a person. A key quote is “I am a patient – and I need to be heard!

Whether we’re working with our healthcare clients or those clients in other industries, this desire of customers to be heard can be overwhelming at times. The desire is often so strong because too many organizations are too deaf to the voice of the customer. Too many organizations strategize on what customers want instead of asking the customer. Too many leaders are focused on the product, service, or technical aspect of what they do that they lose sight of the people for whom they provide those services.

Too many hospitals preach customer care but haven’t taken the cultural approach to trying to embed the customer service mindset into every fabric of the organization – from hiring to training to processes to the facility to leadership modeling and internal communications.

They react to the complaints, they review the quarterly patient satisfaction survey results, but they don’t work to create a culture that encourages the ongoing engagement of the customer.

When you think of how to deliver a great customer experience, start with creating a culture of individuals and teams whose collective heart is focused on caring for its customers, and conveying that care for its customers.

Patient Satisfaction…from a Child’s Mouth to Our Ears.

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