Enhanced customer communication and engagement are the ‘mantra’ of success in any field. It’s especially true in healthcare, where effective communication is not just about yielding a market share but also has the potential to save lives. Data reveals that in the U.S., almost half of the customers switched service providers due to poor experiences, and nearly 85% of these individuals made this decision because companies didn’t offer ease of doing business with them.
Customer communication inefficiencies directly impact productivity, efficiency, and last but certainly not the least – cost!
- A 500-bed hospital loses $4+ million every year due to communication inefficiencies
- Miscommunication during patient transfers is responsible for 80% of serious medical errors
- Hospitals incur annual cost worth $8.3 billion due to increased patient discharge time and lost productivity resulting from papers and other outdated communication systems
Importance of Effective Communication in Healthcare
Effective communication can result in enhanced customer service, which is the key to success in the healthcare industry.
Customer Communication Sets the Expectation for the Quality of Care
Healthcare businesses look forward to building long-term relationships with their customers, and effective customer communication helps them achieve that. No matter how many experienced nurses or skilled physicians you have, it’s the consistent and effective customer communication that enables you to deliver a high-quality experience and get recognition for outstanding healthcare.
Satisfied Customers are More Likely to Return to the Same Clinics, Doctors, and Facilities
Doctor-patient relationships can be the best examples of customer loyalty, and it often starts with excellent communication and customer service. Satisfied and happy customers return to the same healthcare business and recommend it to family, friends, and others.
Bad Communication Can Lead to Life-Threatening Mistakes
The diagnostic and treatment recommendations in the healthcare industry demand accurate patient information. Ineffective communication can pose challenges in gathering complete, error-free data, resulting in life-threatening mistakes and costly malpractice lawsuits. Effective and individualized communication can protect you against such errors.
Poor Customer Communication Can be the Sign of Bigger Issues
Effective and timely communication is the result of practicing refined and robust processes and systems. Businesses with poor customer communication management are likely to battle with process inefficiencies, data quality, and staff training that affects patient communication and care, besides impacting the cost of operations.
Effective Customer Communication Is Crucial for Patients
Primarily, people seek healthcare services when they or their near and dear ones are not well. Health problems and associated financial issues can be stressful and intimidating for the patients. In such situations, they expect the healthcare businesses to care for their needs and well-being besides offering the treatment. SEnsitive and empathetic interactions between the patient and the healthcare provider can achieve this.
Key Touchpoints in Healthcare Customer Experience
Following are some of the vital touchpoints where healthcare businesses can focus on enhancing their customer communication strategy.
Healthcare Products and Services Selection
Use advertising, marketing, and promotional materials, and magazine articles effectively to target your potential customers.
- Minimize wait times to talk to a scheduling agent
- Reduce the time for data capture
- Have accurate data
- Provide appointment confirmation and instructions through email with reminders.
- Track and provide accurate estimates for expected wait times
- Enhance background questionnaires. Include and capture more information about health history, complaints, and symptoms during the wait time to reduce the appointment time.
For effective interaction with patients, provide healthcare staff with
- Complete access to patients’ health history and records
- Diagnostic tools and systems
- Ability to record patients’ questions, treatment notes, diagnostic notes, and recommendations
Providing the Care
Optimize referrals and transfers to other providers by providing the ability to
- Locate referral resources
- Make appointments on customers’ behalf and submit orders for tests
- Use personalized communications techniques such as phone calls
- Provide contact instructions for future needs.
Billing and Insurance Claims
Provide billing staff with access to customer records
- Maintain customer service records and interactions
- Provide your staff with the ability to review and update insights and information from one engagement to prepare for future visits.
How Healthcare Companies Can Deliver Excellent Customer Communication
Following approaches can help healthcare companies deliver the next level of customer communication to offer an exceptional customer experience.
Maintaining consistency is critical across your messages, including e-mail, direct mail, collateral, websites, or other customer communication. Tools like customer journey mapping and communication management strategy adopted for the unification of messages can go a long way. Also, inventorying customer touchpoints and communications can offer you a clear understanding and insights about customer experience and associated gaps. By identifying and closing these gaps, you can yield coherent, clear, and effective communication with your customers. While you are enabling your unified messages to reach across digital channels, do not understate the role of existing tools such as voice and print.
Your communication should be continuous across various channels. A study by Google and Ipsos shows that 9 out of 10 customers start a task on one device while completing it on another. Technology can immensely help in providing your customers with this experience by offering seamless continuity across multiple devices.
Continuity is also applicable across vendor relationships and partnerships where customers need not follow duplicate steps to provide his/her information repeatedly. Further, transparency is imperative where customers quickly understand whether they are dealing with their provider or a partnered vendor.
Provide Real-time Contextual Information
Today’s customers prefer real-time personalized messages over generic communication. Understand the customer’s current health status, medical history, and emotions besides his/her customer segment, needs, and behaviors, and send personalized communication with a tone that resonates with the customer’s emotional state.
Offer Content-rich Communication
With personalized communication, your customer communication will no longer depend on boilerplate content. Customer’s health status, future needs, and ongoing care will dictate personalized messages and images for delivering the essential relevance and value.
Gone are the days when businesses expected customers to visit their websites and portals to go through the content. Nowadays, customers prefer various content types, including instant messages and videos, and expect them to be delivered to new channels such as different cloud-storage solutions. Emerging technologies help companies to integrate their content securely with customers’ devices and platforms. Further, the content should be compatible and optimized for a range of devices and delivery channels to offer your customer the needed continuity.
Clear and Creative Content
Besides the essential personalization and tone, your customer communication should be simple and empathetic with a clear call to action.
How Customer Communication Management Software Can Help Deliver the Next Level Customer Communication
With its various features, Customer Communication Management software (CCM software) helps healthcare businesses to take their customer communication to the next level.
Supports Omnichannel Business Communications
Today’s customers prefer diverse communication channels at their convenience, including email, online chat, SMS, call centers, social media, etc. A CCM solution offers seamless omni channel business communication and leverages modern care technologies such as scheduling chatbots, voice health assistants, and self-service platforms.
Offers Personalized Customer Communication
CCM tools enable building web-based customized service portals and user interfaces for personalized care. Besides offering interactive communication, it automatically sends emergency and critical communication to the customers eliminating manual dependency and associated human errors.
Helps Companies Better Manage Customer Experience
With CCM, patients have 24/7 access to healthcare professionals and can receive comprehensive and unique healthcare plans and resource inventory that focuses on managing chronic conditions. The routine care offered by CCM solutions reduces the number of ER and office visits and hospitalization, resulting in saving time and money. It makes them feel special and enhances the customer experience.
Enables Transparent and Accurate Information Management with Time Savings
CCM platform leverages E-forms and intuitive UI visualization resulting in transparency and accuracy. Further, cross-functional experience visualization minimizes service delays and enhances business productivity and efficiency.
Helps Businesses Stay Complaint
The Healthcare domain needs to follow and comply with stringent regulatory guidelines. CCM software takes care of the regulatory compliance maintenance with efficient healthcare information management. It helps maintain high global standards of HIPAA and CMS Medicare while reducing the cost of healthcare.
Efficient and timely customer communication is imperative to stay competitive in the healthcare market space. A comprehensive CCM platform takes customer communication to the next level through bidirectional interactive business communication andinformation management. FCI’s highly advanced CCM and Digital Transformation Solutions are designed to digitize and automate vital healthcare communication workflows to deliver a value-rich healthcare customer experience. Besides enhancing customer care experiences, the CCM solution helps healthcare professionals to make informed decisions, offers personalized communication capabilities, and facilitates real-time communications at reduced costs. Get in touch to know more about our CCM capabilities.