obamacare | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Talk About Yourself to Build Customer Confidence - 4/16/24


When you’re dealing with somebody who is anxious or nervous about a situation, a customer who feels like they don’t have much control, an individual who is unsure and uncertain, it’s important to put the customer at ease.  It’s important to build their comfort level.  It’s important to help Read more

The Proven Value in What You Do - 4/9/24


Forbes wrote an article last year based on a compilation of the results of research on customer service and the customer experience; it was titled:  100 Customer Experience Stats For 2023. In reading the article, you’ll note that many of these key research findings are about you – the value Read more

A Tale of Two Texts - 4/2/24


Having to get allergy shots once a week is never fun, and for Janet, it became an even bigger frustration. She had the shots typically scheduled on Tuesday around 10:30 in the morning, figuring she would avoid the morning rush as well as the lunch rush by going mid-morning.  However, Read more

The Secret Sauce for Great Customer Service - 3/26/24


I was working with the League Office for a major American sport several years back, and one of the executives asked me to describe our Secret Sauce that helped our clients improve the fan experience and customer retention.  I gave him a sense of what makes us unique and Read more

The Miracle of an Apology - 3/19/24


Unfortunate but true story… The manager basically lost his mind.  He terminated his employee on the spot.  She had told the customer that there was going to be a delay in the shipment.  The employee called up the customer ahead of time to let the customer know what was about Read more

It’s Not About the 5-Minute Wait - 3/12/24


Robert went into his supervisor’s office to update her on a situation at the payment desk.  Robert said that a customer was about fourth or fifth in line, waiting to be served, and the customer was complaining loudly about the wait.  He was there to make a property tax Read more

Lessons from the Greats - 3/5/24


I was recently facilitating a workshop on the customer experience, and I made the point that it’s usually beneficial to look at your personal life for great experiences; identify what really resonates with you in a positive way in order to uncover ideas to improve your own customer service. So, Read more

The Empathy Roadmap - 2/27/24


For some people, empathy comes naturally.  There’s an innate desire to learn about the other person and to sincerely convey that sense of interest and caring.  But for many of us, sometimes it helps to have a communication plan.  It helps to know what to do in order to Read more

“You’re the Boss” - 2/20/24


Terrence is excellent at what he does.  From a technical standpoint, he knows how to keep the facility clean.  He’s the lead custodian, and he knows that keeping things straight does not necessarily mean keeping things sanitary.  He knows what chemicals to use and not to use, how to Read more

Customer Understanding Leads to Relationship Growth - 2/13/24


We’ve worked with educational organizations at all grade levels over the years.  One special and unique characteristic about the staff who work in these organizations is that there’s a clear intent to know about the students as individuals, to focus on them rather than purely focusing on what’s delivered 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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