Top Ways to Improve Medical Customer Service
Medical customer service is a vital part of the healthcare industry. Medical customer service representatives are key components that keep everything running smoothly. It is true that it can be a challenging position, but it is also very rewarding!
However, with a few smart strategies, you can improve the medical customer service experience for both your patients and your representatives.
What is Medical Customer Service?
Medical customer service consists of the representatives who assist a medical service provider or healthcare company. Medical customer service is a primary point of contact for patients. The representatives handle a high volume of calls and are essential to ensuring a quality experience for patients.
Medical customer service is an integral part of clinics, hospitals, insurance companies, nursing homes, and other health-related businesses.
What Does a Medical Representative Do?
Medical customer service representatives act as a liaison between the medical professionals and their patients.
Medical customer service representatives may inform patients about services offered, changes to services, or provide valuable resources. Additionally, they frequently assist patients with issues regarding appointments, insurance claims, medical benefits, and medical care questions.
Their duty is not only to inform and answer questions but also to handle complaints. They may have to review claim discrepancies, record patient grievances, and help to remedy issues. Performing patient satisfaction calls is yet another job duty of a medical customer service representative.
Some medical customer service representatives may be responsible for review information such as patient records and billing forms. They will likely have to be familiar with data entry, patient intake, referral source information, and insurance procedures.
The job of a medical customer service representative is complex but also extremely necessary. They are a vital contact point for health care providers, companies, insurance agencies, and most importantly patients.
7 Strategies To Improve Medical Customer Service
Patient satisfaction is a very important part of healthcare. Maintaining customer satisfaction is one of the responsibilities of medical customer representatives. Implementing these strategies can help improve medical customer service for both the representatives and the patients.
#1 See Patients as Customers
Even though the doctor-patient relationship is different from the provider-customer relationship, many patients still expect to be treated like customers. They expect a certain level of quality when it comes to their healthcare. In some ways, patients are to medical practices as guests are to hotels.
Treating your patients as customers and ensuring their experience is pleasant can help. It is important to put yourself in their shoes and understand that they may have questions and concerns. Instead of relying on the traditional, provider-centric model, treat your patients as your customers.
#2 Don’t Argue or Compete
It can sometimes be difficult to allay customers’ fears or clear their doubts when it comes to medical procedures, billing, and insurance information. Health care topics are often complex and may not be easily understood by individuals who don’t work in healthcare.
The job of the medical customer service representative is to calmly communicate and explain. They must do this continually, even when the patient is upset.
If you disagree, you should explain to the customer why they may be misinformed and provide them with correct information. All while still making sure they feel heard and validated. Trying to argue with them, outwit them, or prove your point will only decrease satisfaction.
#3 Communicate Simply but Effectively
Part of alleviating patients’ fears and doubts is being able to communicate effectively. Simple communication is often best. Using plain terms that patients can digest keeps them informed while also making them feel confident, valued, and respected.
Using complex terms may cause patients to feel distressed and result in them being argumentative. What you don’t say is also just as important. Non-verbal cues, expressing emotions, and not leaving patients on hold are all parts of effective communication.
#4 Build Relationships and Rapport
Remember, patients expect a relationship with their healthcare provider. Medical customer service representatives should try to maintain a rapport with each patient, even if it is just asking them about their day or the weather. Developing a close rapport with patients helps them to feel secure, valued, and that they are more than just a number.
In turn, patients may tell others about the level of service they received. This can help boost your reputation. It may also keep not only current patients returning but attract new ones.
#5 Keep Your Word
Keeping your promises is a key part of keeping patients happy. From long wait times to canceled appointments, and never receiving a callback; there are many areas in which a patient can feel let down. Don’t make promises regarding things that you have no control over.
Additionally, be realistic with timeframes and expectations. It is important to give correct, honest, and complete information upfront. If you are unable to assist the patient, give them a realistic turnaround time, resources, and information about the next steps. Then, follow through with your promise. Elevating the issue to the appropriate person and checking back in with the patient if necessary.
#6 Elicit Feedback
Follow-up calls, surveys, and feedback forms are valuable parts of customer service. It is important to know how your patients feel about the service they were provided. In-office forms, a short follow-up call, or even an email survey are valuable ways to receive feedback and then analyze customer metrics.
Feedback should highlight the patient’s satisfaction in multiple areas and ask them if there are any areas for improvement. Not only are these helpful tools for you, but they also say to the customer that you care about their experience and are consistently working towards providing the best level of care.
#7 Measure Satisfaction
From the feedback, you need to measure patient satisfaction. Often systems or software are best at keeping track of survey results and patient feedback. These systems can highlight areas at which you are excelling and also those that need work.
They can also help keep track of specific mentions of employees, departments, or locations. From this data, you can tailor future training and professional development.
- Medical customer service helps to keep healthcare companies running smoothly
- Medical customer service representatives act as a liaison between patients and providers
- To keep patients satisfied, it can be helpful to view them as customers
- Treat them with respect and build a relationship with them to show they are a valued customer
- Eliciting feedback and measuring satisfaction is vital for improvement
CustomersFirst Academy offers comprehensive customer service training designed to help you grow your skills and advance your career.
To keep learning and developing your knowledge of customer service, we highly recommend the additional resources below:
Exploring a Career as a Customer Service Manager
Strategies to grow and keep your customer base
Customer Service Representative Jobs
Customer Service Manager: Salary and Job Description