Driving Healthcare Connections: 3 Tips to Treating Patients Like People
Imagine an enrollee of a healthcare insurance provider calls the company’s contact center to discuss a service issue. If your customer service team sees them as a “patient” as opposed to a “customer,” chances are you’ve already lost their confidence – and possibly their business.
Healthcare consumers are evolving before our eyes. Where patients formerly wanted answers, today they want a higher level of care in their relationship with their healthcare insurance provider.
It may seem elementary. However, the realization that patients seek a holistic experience that both provides for their health and treats them like high-value customers is becoming clear.
Customer contact providers still can connect with healthcare consumers through traditional means, including digital, text, online, or telephone engagement. How each delivers a more authentic experience to elevate each engagement can transform a paying customer into a brand loyalist.
Research shows even the most tech-savvy customer “patients” who represent tomorrow’s healthcare customers want a better experience. Almost eight in 10 (78%) say the digital experience needs improvement; 69% expect providers to simplify navigating care and wellness affordability options, notes a 2018 study from NTT DATA Services. In short, they expect the customer service experience to reflect an encounter with a retail or even financial services provider, the organization noted. Some four in 10 say online service takes too long.
Healthcare providers today seek that elusive 5-star rating on the member experience continuum, while also delivering the value-based care increasingly demanded of government-based programs. Anything less at the least should drive your organization in search of answers, and at worst, may drive the customer toward a different provider when renewal or open enrollment arrives.
Whether serving employees within a group plan or seniors on a provider’s Medicare Advantage program, achieving both superior healthcare and an unmatched patient “care” experience must be among the top priorities. Driving value-based care requires a much closer patient-provider relationship, especially with the expectation that patients will start engaging in activities on their own to look after their health, said executives with Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Life Sciences and Health Care practice in a recent interview.
How can your organization elevate its customer care delivery with each call or engagement?
- Comprehensive training and continual coaching. The better your team is trained and continually coached, the more of a seamless, unrushed engagement the customer experience. Well-trained agents become more than experts in your product, answering caller questions without hesitation and achieving first-call resolution and higher revenue generation. They create a more “human” touch that earns high performance scores.
- The latest technology. Human touch aside, technology drives today’s engagement. With integrated, omni-channel unified communications, like the Nice inContact CXone Unified Communications Platform, contact centers employing this Gartner Magic Quadrant Rated Solution can handle customer outreach in the customer’s preferred modality, including inbound, outbound, blended voice, email, chat, SMS, and social media.
- A secure environment. Beyond meeting HIPAA guidelines, customer contact centers should be PCI DSS and SOC 1 (SSAE) compliant, with 24×7 monitoring. The infrastructure itself should have redundant telecom systems, offsite back-up, fire detection, and operate over multiple power grids with UPS and on-site generators.
From millennials to baby boomers and aging retirees, a personalized, high-tech experience can be simple to navigate, while being cognizant of their time and the value they expect. By creating an unmatched service experience using the tools digital savvy customers expect, providers can elevate each caller engagement and exceed KPIs and delivering enhanced ROI.
Such organizations can drive an exceptional customer experience that helps to garner value-based care, while outperforming the competition, driving financial returns, and turning patients into loyal customers.