In spite of misconceptions, customer relationship management (CRM) does not impeded or disrupt existing systems within a hospital. Of course, we refer to this effort as patient relationship management and similar methods along with the very same benefits apply to the process.
The truth is, ineffective systems are common within hospitals in the United States. In fact, many studies refer to this system as being ‘broken’. For patients, this can mean slow service, poor communication and a distinct absence in terms of a sense of care. As for the hospital, this lack of attention will bring about an increase in costs, risk and bad feedback.
But how can hospitals avoid this from happening and establish better relationships with patients?
Let’s take at look at how hospitals might create a long lasting relationship with their customers:
How Hospitals can Create a Long Lasting Relationship with their Customers
Deploy Five Star Communication to Show that You Care
Communication is everything in business and an area in which many patients feel let down by their hospital. It’s true, you simply cannot please everyone all the time but there is still a responsibility for hospitals to make information and assistance readily available. With this in mind, it’s important to keep all contact details visible and up to date on the hospital website. Similarly, social media accounts should be managed on a daily basis and this includes replies to all messages or comments.
Moral of the story: Your accessibility and response rate will show patients that you care about them.
Improving the Features and User Experience of the Hospital Website
While every hospital will require different features and resources, it’s important to provide as much information as possible to online users. Moreover, this information should be free and easily accessed, while certain features should be tested and monitored to improve performance.
For instance, instant chat facilities are incredibly useful for patients and a great way to capture the loyalty of potential customers. Meanwhile, frequently asked questions (FAQ) can save customers from making phone calls or even making an unnecessary trip to the hospital. Just so we are on the same page, take a look at some of the most effective examples of an FAQ page.
As for user experience, your website should be easy to navigate and without the kind of jargon that might confuse a patient. Also, the overall appearance or attractiveness of this website will often determine whether a patient wants to continue the experience or take their custom elsewhere.
Improving Facilities and the Hospital Environment
Now, this might seem rather obvious but hospitals can get so busy that even the basic furnishings and appearance can be neglected. As a result, patients are sometimes left with a rather untidy or lackluster place to wait or receive treatment. When you think about it, this is a tragic way for any patient to see their hospital – a place that is supposed to value hygiene and health above all else.
Similarly, not all hospital staff are created equal and there are often aspects of staff behavior that might be improved with a kind word from management. Needless to say, there is no limit when it comes to making such changes in a hospital and any improvements should be welcomed.
Promoting the Importance of Confidentiality
Confidentiality is a legal requirement in the medical profession but many patients still lack trust or faith in the system. Simply states, patients need to know that their dignity is respected by hospital staff, not to mention their right to privacy. For this reason, it’s important to create private spaces within the hospital grounds in which patients can feel reassured of their right to the above. Similarly, there’s nothing wrong with promoting the importance of confidentiality on a regular basis to reassure any patients than might feel uncomfortable or have any concerns in this regard.
Automating the Hospital Appointment System
Believe it or not, many hospitals have already automated their appointment system. For this reason, they have not only reduced the number of phone calls or messages to the hospital but also provided patients with a quick and hassle-free way to schedule an appointment. What’s more, this also gives hospital staff more time to focus on building relationships with the patients at hand rather than answering emails or calls. With so many options available, it’s also easy to automate this process and even social media is considered a reliable way to schedule hospital appointments.
Paying More Attention to Complaints and Resolutions
Listening is the number one priority when it comes to complaints and patients feel most dissatisfied when it feels as though nobody is listening according to this article. Without acknowledgement, this complaint is likely to escalate and without a resolution, it’s unlikely to go away. Although some of these complaints might seem unfair or unjust, they still need to be taken seriously. What’s more, these issues are often the best form of feedback and insight when it comes to making improvements in the current system.
Finally, a designated person or team should take care of any complaints at the hospital. Digital Authority suggests that as part of a specific set of guidelines, these complaints should be investigated and resolved as a matter of urgency. After all, the reputation of your hospital depends on your public relations – good or bad!
Providing Aftercare and Post-Consultation with Patients
As with any business, after sales support or care is an essential part of the process. While you may not currently provide a post-consultation for patients, this provides several benefits to the hospital.
For instance, you can save time and effort in post-consultation by organizing the next appointment for your patient. More importantly, this consultation can improve the customer experience by reducing wait time, anxiety and even confusion. As if that’s not enough, post consultations are great for getting feedback from patients and identifying areas of the process than might be improved.
An increasing number of hospitals recognize that good practices of Patient Relationship Management (PRM) practices can both help improve effectiveness and efficiency of the healthcare process and directly respond to the needs and experience of patients across the care pathway.