When we say how important it is to provide good customer service to your patients, you may be confused. After all, since you care for and about your patients, you may think that you provide good customer service through tending to their medical needs.
Customer Service Extends Beyond Treatment
In the medical field, good customer service goes beyond caring about the welfare of your patients. Customer service entails the daily ways in which you provide that service and how the treatments may be interpreted.
For example, who among us hasn’t multitasked while working with patients? You may think you are being efficient, but your patient might see you as being distracted or not caring about their welfare.
Or, you might be talking to a patient about his or her care plan and explain it in technical terms. You know exactly what you’re talking about, but your patient may not understand the medical terminology. The patient may feel dumb for asking questions, so the questions go unasked. Does this scenario sound familiar?
Customer Service – A Prescribed Treatment
In order to avoid these scenarios where your care may be misinterpreted, you should approach each patient as if they have been prescribed an order for customer service. While there are no specific procedure codes for customer service, here are 5 steps you can take to ensure the treatments you are providing are including customer service:
1. Be Kind and Understanding.
Regardless of the reason your patient is receiving treatment, it can be an intimidating and scary experience. Try to look at your care from a patient’s perspective, and identify areas of concern that can be eased. Walk your patient and their family through your role in their treatment, as well as address any immediate or long term concerns they may have.
2. Actively Listen
When with your patients, actively engage them and listen to what they have to say. Even if you are providing a treatment, be attentive, make eye contact while listening to their needs. By doing this it shows you respect and value them. It shows you are listening to not only their needs, but also making an effort to connect with them, which can help build trust.
3. Avoid “Clinical” Terminology.
Unlike you, the patient hasn’t had years of medical training and gained an understanding of medical terminology. Aim to talk in terms anyone can understand. As their care provider, one of your roles is to be an interpreter of the terminology and assist them in understanding their treatment in terms they can understand. Encourage your patients to ask any and all questions and remind them no question is wrong, stupid or unnecessary.
4. Be Their Educator.
If you identify a potential treatment course, make sure that you educate your patient about the options and all of the issues that concern their care. Having a full understanding of the treatment options can help the patient and their families make the best decision for their situation.
5. Be Attentive.
Do what you say you will, when you say you will do it. This means that you call when you say you will and even if you don’t have an update or results to share with them, make sure you keep them in the loop and informed. While such a simple courtesy, this personal attention helps to set anxious patients at ease, and communicates that you are there for them.
Does your facility provide customer service training? If so, how has that changed your experience of working there improved (or deteriorated)?
We hope you’ve bookmarked our Snelling Medical Blog because next week we’re going to discuss “Turning Top Performers Into Leaders in Your Facility Through Mentoring.” We look forward to hearing from you with any questions soon!
NOTE: A full-color, downloadable PDF is available.