Jul, 09, 2019
Today’s tech-savvy patients are using digital channels to seek health information and services, but human interaction still remains an essential element of the customer experience. The challenge for healthcare organizations is striking the right balance between technology and the human touch.
Director of Product Marketing
While traditional telephone services will remain a preferred contact method for some individuals, they often hinder an organization’s ability to provide high-quality service. Unpredictable spikes in patient call volumes make staffing and scaling call centers financially inefficient much of the time. And patients are quickly confused and agitated when they must navigate layers of menus and choices, only to reach a human who doesn’t have access to the information they need. To further complicate matters, America’s increasing diversity requires more multilingual expertise in call centers.
In the end, what patients want is a single and rewarding patient experience across all touchpoints, which can be best achieved with effective hybrid communication. To achieve maximum revenue growth and reduce patient churn, consider these best practices:
Send strategic communications
While patients want to be communicated with on their terms, they also want meaningful and customized communication. Research from Salesforce found that 52 percent of consumers said they are more likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t make an effort to personalize communications to them.
This is where the human component comes into play, even if the delivered communication is in digital form. Each appointment type should have its own messaging that is specific to preparation, including what to bring and when to arrive. Providing confirmation or rescheduling options within a customized appointment reminder makes the communication interactive, more valuable to the patient, and can reduce no-show rates by up to 80 percent.
Connecting with patients through multiple channels of communication (email, voice, text, etc.) will result in measurable, positive change in patient behavior, improving appointment reliability, patient loyalty, and more revenue growth. Providing choices is a key virtue in consumerism, allowing the patient to interact in the channel that is easier for them will result in more interactions, and greater long-term loyalty. Allowing them to switch between channels on demand when the situation changes enhances the experience even further. For example, if a patient trying to schedule an appointment online can’t find a date early enough, giving her an option to instantly talk with a human agent to meet her needs keeps her happy and loyal.
Today’s patients want more involvement and knowledge about their health. One in six use wearables and health apps to track everyday health, for instance. While this is a positive trend, wearables and apps are missing a key component—they don’t encourage patients to schedule appointments and visit their doctor.