5 Customer Service Tips for Healthcare Industry Contact Centers
Why can’t you tell me over the phone?”, “What do you mean that’s not your policy?” “Is there anyone else who can help me?” Those are common customer service complaints in healthcare. In addition to actual medical attention, patients and their families often deal with booking appointments, getting specialist referral visits and reporting billing errors. That leads to understandable patient frustration.
Your team plays an important part in helping patients with these issues. Here are five customer service tips that can help:
1. Train your healthcare customer service team on the difference between counselling and customer service
Empathy is one of the most important skills for providing great customer service. However, empathy can tempt staff to cross the line between “Customer Service” i.e. booking appointments, solving billing errors, etc. and “Counselling” i.e. offering therapy. Customer service involves building a relationship. However, counselling should be handled by trained therapists. Help your customer service team recognize the difference. Provide them with a procedure to escalate patients in distress to trained counselors so, patients get the support they need.
2. Protect patient privacy
Social engineering attacks work by tricking customer service Agents into divulging patient information. For example, someone may claim to be the patient, their partner or caretaker. They leverage that phony relationship, sometimes along with “personal” details taken from the patient’s social media accounts, to trick employees into giving patient information. To prevent these security breaches, train your customer service team on how to spot and prevent social engineering attacks. Your patient’s privacy depends upon it.
3. Help your customer service team "Refill their tea pot"
Imagine a teapot filled with warm, comforting tea. Once tea is poured into empty cups to share the warmth, what happens to the teapot? It is drained. Empty. The same thing happens to your customer service team. They become emotionally and mentally drained. It is easy to become burnt out in the health care industry. To prevent that, train your team on self-care. That includes recharging during and after work. It also includes emphasizing the importance of a good diet, proper sleep habits, exercise and the benefits of having a good emotional support network. In addition, offer support services and counselling to help your customer service team recharge and heal. If your take care of your customer service team, they can take better care of their patients.
4. Minimize trigger words such as, "It is not our policy”
While you may have to refer back to policy, try to focus instead on what you CAN do to help your patient. Focus on solutions that help your patients achieve what they want. Work with them to find solutions.
5. Re-direct or escalate, if necessary
If you are unable to help someone at your level of authority, let them know what they should do as a next step. Have escalation procedures in place. People get angry when they hit dead ends. At that point, they tend to complain on social media or write to their government officials. Let your patient know they are not alone and there are still avenues to pursue. Ensure your front line customer service team has escalation processes to follow. So, patients can get the help they need.
Use these five tips to help coach and train your customer service team. Help them provide an excellent customer experience for your patients.