How do I deliver outstanding customer service in healthcare?

How do I deliver outstanding customer service in healthcare?

By Tony Gavin

5 minutes



Healthcare is a very personal business. While you may think that delivering outstanding customer service in a retail setting is difficult enough, the stakes are even higher when it comes to healthcare. That's why it's important to focus on what patients need, listen carefully to feedback and complaints, manage their expectations and always exceed them.

What is outstanding customer service?

Excellent customer service is not just about meeting the customer's needs. It's also about exceeding their expectations. In fact, most customers have no idea what they want until you show them what it looks like. That's why great companies don't measure how well they're delivering on their promises to customers - they measure how much more that what was promised they deliver instead. 

Customer service is not just a department; it's an entire philosophy of business that permeates every aspect of your organisation and every interaction between you and your customers (or potential ones). Whether it comes from a receptionist or cleaner, excellent customer service doesn't mean just doing your job well - it means delighting customers with something unexpected such as a handwritten thank-you note after each consultation or free tea and coffee for your patients. 

Develop a clear customer service vision

Understanding what your customer service vision will look like when it's complete is crucial to making it happen. When developing a clear picture of your vision and goals, don't worry about what other people's visions and goals are. Be ambitious, but stay realistic! 

Get your staff on board

It's important to get your staff on board with the importance of delivering exceptional customer service. Here are some ways you can do this:

  • Make sure your team understands the vision and mission of your organisation, as well as its goals and objectives. 
  • In a staff meeting, discuss why it's so important to deliver outstanding customer service. Go into detail about what makes good customer service in healthcare and why it matters so much to patients who are in pain or injured. 
  • Explain how each member of your team has an important role to play in delivering great care - and that they make a difference by being responsive and friendly when interacting with patients (even if they don't have medical training).

Listen to your patients

When communicating with your patients, listen to what they are saying. If someone is talking to you, make sure that you're listening and not just waiting for them to stop so that you can speak again. Ask questions when necessary - but be mindful about interrupting their flow of speech. 

While it is important to listen carefully, there are other ways that customers let us know what they need from us besides words. Listen for the tone of their voice (whether it is sharp or soft), as well as their body language (whether they appear relaxed or tense). 

Always exceed expectations

As a healthcare provider, you may often be viewed as a service provider. This means that your customers expect to receive excellent service from you. And whilst it's true that providing great customer service has always been inportant in the healthcare industry (and will continue to be so), today's patients are increasingly valuing this aspect of their care more than ever before.

Indeed, research shows that patient satisfaction is directly related to improved health outcomes - which can ultimately reduce costs and improve quality of care delivery overall. But providing outstanding customer service is not just about giving more that what is expected; it also requires giving the right thing at the right time in the right way. 

Keep a positive attitude

Being a positive person can go a long way toward making your customers feel comfortable and valued. When they feel like you care about them and are working hard to help, they'll be more likely to trust you. 

A positive attitude will make everyone around you feel happier, which means higher morale across all departments within your organisation. 

Focus on what patients need, listen to feedback and complaints, and manage patient expectations

You can deliver excellent customer service in a healthcare setting if you focus on what patients need, listen to feedback and complaints and manage patient expectations. 

Many people think that customer service is all about fulfilling needs but it's also about understanding what your patients really want. To do this well, you need to take the time to understanding your patients motivations and attitudes as well as their particular concerns about the situation at hand. 

You will also find that listening is and important part of providing effective customer service because this helps you to identify problems early on so they can be addressed without negative consequences for your business or the patient experience going forward.

Customer feedback is essential for identifying areas where improvement is needed - so make sure you have systems in place for collecting these comments from patients and staff members alike regularly! 

If you follow these tips and tricks, we're confident that your patients will have a more positive experience with their treatment and feel more engaged with you as their healthcare provider.