patient experience | 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

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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Improve the Patient Experience from the Inside Out

Posted on in Business Advice, Healthcare Please leave a comment

Blog 4-17-14There is no shortage of patient satisfaction “experts” and CEOs in healthcare wanting you to implement the latest measurement tool, rounding format, physician best practice, script, or leading-edge technology – all with the promise of launching patient satisfaction scores to the stratosphere! Okay, maybe I’m overstating it, but it’s not overstating it to suggest that many of these experts offer a tactic or tool as the panacea.

However, the article on Park Ridge Health in Hendersonville, N.C. suggests a different approach. They did implement a new training program, but after the description of the training, the Director of Patient Experience notes that “When we changed the culture, that’s when we saw the scores improve. We always want the patient to be involved in their care, and we try to provide them a voice to be able to talk to us in layman’s term about their experience and their needs.”

The key words? Changed the culture.”

The consistency required for sustainable excellence comes from inside. It comes from culture. If a hospital wants to have a great patient experience, they need to look inside at the people, processes, policies, services, and facilities that comprise the experience.

The best scripting results in merely words if not delivered with interest, empathy, and sincerity. The best leader preaching on efficiency and marketing a “2 minute wait in Our E.D.!” are setting staff up for failure until the organization internally has communication and service delivery processes that are efficient and high quality. The great customer service techniques that we and others teach won’t be effective long-term if they are not reinforced on an ongoing basis and modeled by leaders.

To get a great patient experience, “provide them with a voice” as they did in Hendersonville. But also start with each other; start with culture.

Improve the Patient Experience from the Inside Out.

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ACA/Obamacare Emphasizes the Patient Experience…for Physicians

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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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