hospitals | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Find a Connection Point – Part 2: Situational Connection - 10/4/22


Last week we highlighted key topics to consider when you want to find Personal Connection Points with the customer.  Today, we’ll cover some key questions to ask to uncover information about today’s situation that you can use to establish a rapport with the customer.  This is Part 2 - Read more

Find a Connection Point – Part 1: Personal Connection - 9/27/22


Some people are born almost like a master at communication.  They know how to establish rapport with just about anybody, and they do so in a way that seems so natural and so real.  They can form relationships and be laughing with somebody they met two minutes ago like Read more

Be Proactive without being Pushy - 9/20/22


Delivering great customer service isn’t just about responding and reacting.  It’s also about being proactive.  Developing relationships involves reaching out first, not just extending our hand when somebody reaches out to us. But it’s all too clear that those of us who are in service roles prefer those roles to Read more

Be Kind to Yourself When the Customer Isn’t - 9/13/22


I was having a debrief call with one of my clients recently, and this was regarding a survey of employees who work events.  One of the survey questions asked employees for advice on how to improve the customer experience.  When the employees shared their input on the guest experience, Read more

Being the Emphatic Employee - 9/6/22


Empathy is the key quality of somebody who’s great at customer service.  We talk about it often - what it is, how to convey it, what it looks like, and how it makes the customer feel. But along with knowing how to be empathetic, we also need to know how Read more

The Good, the Really Good, and the Ugly of Customer Service - 8/30/22


Here are three helpful customer service stories.  They may not be from your specific industry, but it’s always good to learn from others. The Good… Paula submitted a ticket to the I.T. vendor.  Below the signature line in the reply she received was the following:  Please share your comments or needs Read more

A Great 2-Minute E-mail - 8/23/22


I know.  You probably get e-mails all the time from customers griping about some aspect of your organization or their experience.  You’ve got too much to do and too little time to do it.  I could not begin to tell you how many times I’ve been told by staff Read more

When They Want to Talk to Your Boss - 8/16/22


“I want to talk to your supervisor.” That’s their opening salvo.  Before you can hardly finish your greeting, the customer is asking for your boss.  This is done by a customer who has tried to get an issue resolved, and it hasn’t worked, so they want to go to somebody Read more

When Passive Voice is a Good Thing - 8/9/22


It’s all your fault, Mr. Customer! We may want to shout it from the rooftops, but other than venting and absolving ourselves of guilt, this wouldn’t help much in the grand scheme of things. We have a customer sitting in front of us or on the phone, and maybe they are Read more

They’re Stressed, So You Can… - 8/2/22


Wow!  That customer looks stressed!  Maybe it’s their body language or their expressions; they could be fidgety or talking really fast. In the past, when we offered guidance in these situations, we focused on how to navigate the conversation step-by-step - what points to cover and what points to avoid. But 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

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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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