How Call Center Outsourcing Drives Patient Loyalty

As U.S. health care providers increase their focus on value-based care, there is growing focus on understanding patient loyalty – and the factors that drive or undermine it.  Now, in its substantial new report, Press Ganey highlights a number of findings that may surprise some clinic leaders, revealing how certain patient experiences influence loyalty.

Specifically, the report states that patients are more likely to be loyal to the clinic that consistently presents a culture of:

  • Teamwork,
  • Care Quality, and
  • Courtesy and Respect

In fact, the study showed that the patient’s perception of teamwork was the biggest predictor of patient loyalty (measured by a patient’s likelihood to recommend the facility to a friend).  Consider this staggering gap:

97% of patients who do perceive teamwork said they
would recommend the facility, compared to only 25%
of those who do not perceive teamwork.

For me, the lessons here are obvious.  Health care facilities who are able to crack the code on building teams that work together to deliver patient experiences that are seamless, caring, and courteous every time at every stage of the experience, will increase patient loyalty.  If you doubt me, consider another finding from the study:

Barely half (51%) of emergency patients would recommend
a facility
if they felt the staff had been uncaring, even if the
rest of the experience was positive
.

Often these days, I hear patient experiences compared with other “customer experiences.” I’m guilty of making those comparisons, myself.  After all, it’s true that Amazon, Zappos and countless others have trained us all to have high expectations. They’ve taught us it’s possible to be treated like we’re important, valued, and recognized – by name – whenever we reach out.  We expect to receive kindness and courtesy – at every contact, across every channel – whether we’re asking a question, completing a purchase, making a complaint or processing a return.

But these comparisons can sometimes suggest a false equivalence.  The truth is, when a patient is calling you, their health care provider, they don’t just expect a good “buyer” experience.  They’re calling about their health and seeking your help. They have a profound personal need to feel that everyone on your team cares deeply about them and their well-being.  If they don’t, they’ll look elsewhere.

How confident are you that everyone who ever speaks with your patients – from first contact and initial appointment scheduling, through every call, question or concern, to billing, even collections – is making sure your patients feel valued, cared about, and safe?

The Perception of Feeling Valued

Patient experience is often shaped by its bookends: first impressions and closing interactions, post care.  If you have a very busy practice, your front desk staff is simply not empowered to drop everything for every patient hovering at their desk or calling into your office. But when your patients are treated like inconvenient interruptions, they walk away feeling mistreated and unvalued.

Likewise, any delays in return calls or follow ups are simply no longer acceptable. That shouldn’t be surprising.  When your patents are able to get a return call from an online retailer within seconds, they’re pretty wounded when their doctor’s office can’t get around to calling back for a few days.

But do you really want to change your office staff into a call center?

No, you probably don’t.  And you probably shouldn’t.

That’s where an outsource call center can change everything.  A great call center instantly expands your patient care team, adding the kinds of expertise, efficiency, and compassion just where you – and your patients – need them most. The right call center will embrace your mission and core values, delivering a positive, seamless patient experience.

You bring the medical expertise.  We’ll bring the phone skills.

A proven call center has years of experience with hiring for listening and problem solving skills, empathy, and accuracy.  A superior call center has also made the substantial investments in technology that no single medical care facility could consider.

If you’d like to explore how outsourcing can radically improve patient loyalty, please reach out.  At Skybridge Americas, we partner with medical care facilities to deliver a seamless, superior patient call, every time.

 

by Bobby Matthews
Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Skybridge Americas
bmatthews@skybridgeamericas.com

 


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