Healthcare professionals are service providers who are subject to customer expectations in the same way that waitresses or cashiers are. Ken Stanton, RN, Ph.D., noted that a discussion about customer service in healthcare is warranted because satisfying customers is not an “extra”; it's part of the business. To provide great service, healthcare professionals need to know what factors have an impact on the customer experience.
Parking and Signs
A healthcare consumer's opinion about her experience can begin forming before she even enters a facility. According to findings published in the Journal of Dental Sciences and Research, parking was a point of dissatisfaction among the majority of participants in its survey. Patients feel most favorable about facilities with ample parking that don't require them to walk long distances.
Lack of proper signage can also have a negative impact on healthcare experiences. People visiting healthcare facilities don't want to waste time searching for the place they're supposed to be. Patients expect clear indications directing them where to go, especially when they suffer from painful conditions or are using mobility aids.
Customers compare their experiences. When they receive commendable service from one healthcare provider, it affects their expectations. If they're not treated in a comparable manner thereafter, it can appear they've received poor service. Healthcare facilities that lack the means to address customer concerns, such as surveys or patient advocates, miss important opportunities to find out what their patients' expectations are...so they can be certain to meet or exceed them.
Technology is making more services, more accessible, at faster rates, and patients expect healthcare to keep up. Long waiting times to obtain healthcare services can frustrate people and result in negative perceptions of their service providers. According to a Hospital Impact article, it's no longer acceptable for healthcare professionals to update their patients at sluggish rates.
“The first and last moments of a customer interaction are what customers are likely to hold in memory as the permanent "snapshot" that encompasses the whole event,” according to the same Hospital Impact article, which notes that the manner in which patients are received and bid farewell is important.
Those aren't the only times when patients need to be treated well. Patients expect kind, humane interactions with their healthcare providers. If healthcare professionals lack empathy or act superior to their patients, it may have a wide range of adverse effects, such as discouraging patients from returning for follow-up treatment.
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