CX GUIDE FOR HEALTHCARE
Customer Experience in Healthcare: The Role of CX For the Modern Healthcare Consumer
Customer Experience is leading the way for transformation as today’s consumers expect more from healthcare organizations
In 2023, customer experience matters more than ever.
This is true in retail and eCommerce, it’s true in the financial industry, and it’s increasingly true in the healthcare industry as well. While many healthcare organizations neglect to think of their patients and clients as “consumers,” neglecting the consumer experience in a patient’s healthcare journey has negative consequences—for you and your patients.
In addition, customer expectations are growing—we’re now a far cry from the days when the “customer experience” in healthcare was relegated to a doctor’s visit or hospital stay. Now, CX spans pre-visit research, check-ins, online experiences, telehealth, managing insurance claims, and more, alongside in-person visits and clinical care.
So what do modern consumers expect from their healthcare CX? And how can healthcare providers and organizations optimally transform to meet consumer needs?
In this guide, our team of CX experts at ROI CX Solutions dives into why customer experience matters so much for healthcare, as well as what modern customers want—and how to best provide it for them.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Why customer experience matters in healthcare
- The direction of modern CX in healthcare
- Best practices for CX in healthcare
- Extend caring support to the digital world
- Make healthcare convenient
- Expand transparency while strengthening security and privacy
- Increase customer support and self-service
- Make it personal
- Create seamless experiences
- Aggregate and implement insights from customer data
- Partner with outsourced customer service providers
- Is CX Outsourcing Right for You?
Why customer experience matters in healthcare
As consumer expectations grow across all industries—from eCommerce to hospitality, retail and finance, and so on—brands are rising up to meet these expectations. As such, it’s no surprise that customers are coming to expect the same level of service from healthcare organizations as well.
Recent data highlight the need for improved CX to keep up with changing consumer expectations:
cite “ease of appointment booking” as a major factor in 5-star service from healthcare providers.
It’s not just changing expectations that are driving the need for better customer experiences—growing healthcare and insurance costs are impacting consumer behavior too.
David Betts noted in an interview with Deloitte,
As health care costs take a growing bite out of the customer’s wallet, we are seeing individuals behave in economically rational ways. They are demanding a certain degree of service, quality, and value for their dollar. Value in the mind of the customer is not just clinical quality—there is a much greater emphasis on the service component as well.
David BettsLeader in Public Health Transformation for Deloitte Consultin
In addition, now that consumers have more options than ever when it comes to healthcare providers, care options, insurance providers, and treatments, providing an exceptional customer experience creates value for the consumer that improves customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Of course, customer satisfaction and loyalty aren’t just beneficial for the customer—improving customer experiences in healthcare can deliver a myriad of benefits for healthcare organizations as well. For example, satisfied patients are 28% less likely to switch healthcare providers. Additionally, healthcare providers who improved customer experiences increased revenue by 20% over five years while decreasing costs by 30%.
So what do modern consumers want from their healthcare experiences?
The direction of modern CX in healthcare (and how to keep up)
As the world becomes increasingly digital, consumer expectations for healthcare are becoming increasingly digital as well. While the pandemic certainly sped up the need for—and expectation of—virtual appointments, hybrid care, and digital healthcare offerings, these digital expectations aren’t going anywhere.
According to recent data:
are virtual today, compared with just over 1% pre-pandemic.
While consumers “increasingly expect transparent, predictable and mobile-friendly experiences,” most healthcare organizations have failed to meet customer expectations. In addition, as discussed above, where consumer experiences improve across other industries, expectations grow for healthcare experiences as well.
So how can healthcare organizations keep up?
Keep reading for our best practices for modern healthcare organizations looking to improve CX.
Best practices for healthcare CX
As an increasingly digital world forces the healthcare industry to adapt to more patient-focused healthcare and consumer-focused digital management and engagement, customer experiences in healthcare are overdue for an upgrade.
In many healthcare organizations, three major challenges stand in the way of these upgrades:
- Disconnected consumer experiences
- A lack of personalization
- Siloed teams, processes, and data
At the heart of this is a lack of integration—across consumer touchpoints, consumer data and internal teams—which results in impersonal experiences that degrade the customer journey.
So how can you overcome these challenges and enhance CX for your healthcare organization?
These 8 actionable steps can strengthen your CX for 2023 and beyond.
Extend caring support to the digital world
Physicians and healthcare workers are accustomed to offering supportive care to patients “bedside,” that is, in in-person interactions. However, customers today expect this same level of care and support regardless of where the interaction takes place—in-person, over the phone, virtually, or otherwise.
While healthcare providers recognize that digital transformation is necessary to strengthen customer experience and engagement, doing so can be complex.
According to a recent survey by Deloitte, 92% of surveyed healthcare leaders stated “better consumer satisfaction and engagement” as the primary desired outcomes from digital transformation. And indeed, improved digital experiences do lead to higher consumer satisfaction and engagement, as the data shows:
say that a single “bad digital experience with a healthcare provider ruins the entire experience with that provider.
would switch to a new healthcare provider if they offered higher-quality digital services.
used the internet to make a health-related search in the previous year, including 76% of consumers over 60.
As customer behaviors and expectations change, speeding digital transformation is essential. However, it’s essential not to lose the human touch if organizations want to increase customer experience and engagement.
Instead, digital experiences should reflect the same level of care and support experienced in person. In addition, customers’ in-person experiences should be followed-up or supported with virtual or digital care. This could look like allowing patients to make a direct connection with their physician via virtual chat services, personalizing patient communications, hiring professional and personable agents for your call lines, and more.
Make healthcare convenient
Convenience plays a large role when it comes to customer experience and satisfaction, both within the healthcare industry and more broadly. According to research from PwC, convenience is one of the highest-ranked desires of patients when it comes to their healthcare experiences.
And the general data is even clearer:
say convenience is an important factor in deciding where to do business.
will pay more for products and services that are more convenient.
cited convenience as an important factor in a good customer experience.
While offering virtual care or telehealth appointments is one way to improve convenience for many consumers, that’s just one step. Consumers want a healthcare experience that includes:
- convenient hours and locations
- easy-to-book appointments
- the ability to get test results online without seeing a doctor
- getting appointments sooner
- online bill payments and registrations
- streamlined check-in processes
- 24/7 access to a healthcare provider
By focusing on how healthcare can be more convenient for customers’ busy lives, healthcare organizations can make major strides in improving customer experiences.
Expand transparency while strengthening security and privacy
Transparency and privacy are two ends of the same spectrum—and both are essential for exceptional customer experiences in modern-day healthcare. In an interview with Deloitte, David Betts cited these as two of the biggest values for modern-day healthcare consumers:
People desire transparency, so they can clearly understand what is happening to them and why [and] they require security. Customers need to believe that everything they share with you will be safe and secure. They want to be confident that you have tight control over who accesses their most personal information.
Customers expect—and deserve—transparency throughout the healthcare process. But at the same time, there’s a high level of security and privacy needed for managing sensitive patient data.
As such, healthcare organizations must invest in finding a balance in this tension. For example, healthcare organizations should consider how they can expand transparency for consumers at various touchpoints of the healthcare journey:
- discussing procedures and treatment plans
- examining care options and lower-cost solutions
- evaluating and finding providers
- healthcare processes and communication standards
Increase customer support and self-service
It might go without saying that improving customer support—including self-service options—can improve healthcare CX. However, recent data shows that excellent customer support in healthcare is still difficult to find.
Clearly, there’s a high desire from consumers for stronger customer support and improved self-service so that healthcare needs are easier to manage. As a result, healthcare providers who prioritize implementing and offering such improvements will stand out from their competitors.
In addition, research from PwC highlights that customers do, in fact, want stronger customer support from their healthcare experiences, with “quality support” ranking in the top five features health consumers most value. From assistance navigating the healthcare system to self-service tools and lower-cost care options to help resolve insurance claim issues, improving customer support is essential for health organizations that want to strengthen CX.
Make it personal
Personalization is clearly an important factor for CX in retail, automotive, and education—but what about healthcare?
According to recent research and customer surveys, it’s clear that customers expect personalization in healthcare settings just as much—if not more so—than in retail experiences.
In healthcare settings, each customer’s experience is unique and oftentimes a sensitive experience as well. As customers experience fear, anger, frustration, and other difficult emotions, personalized support can help customers feel at ease amidst unnerving situations.
For the consumer, personalized health care means being recognized as a unique individual with a unique health history and circumstances, receiving relevant content and a hassle-free experience, and achieving better health outcomes. For the organization, it means getting to know the consumer better; using those insights to tailor the channel, timing, and messaging; and developing curated products and solutions.
So, how can healthcare providers make the experience more personal?
- Chart your patients’ care journeys with personalized support and content
- Personalize messages to bring a human touch to automated reminders and follow-ups
- Integrate data to create more personalized experiences
- Segment customers to engage with them in more personalized ways
- Provide personalized recommendations for solutions and services based on patient preferences
There are so many ways to personalize the customer experience in healthcare, but the data is clear: personalization pays off.
Healthcare providers who implemented personalization saw the following gains:
According to the research, engaging with consumers in a personalized way not only improves customer experiences but also health outcomes. And, of course, better health outcomes improve customer experiences as well.
What many healthcare organizations may neglect as they attempt to improve personalization is the level of digital transformation necessary to pull it off. In order to personalize at scale, organizations need to increase data, improve segmentation, implement technological upgrades, reduce silos, and utilize machine learning and automation processes to understand and engage customers.
For many organizations, outsourcing can help speed up digital transformation and improve data-rich insights while relieving internal teams of the burden of strategizing and executing the change.
Create seamless experiences
Alongside personalization, creating seamless experiences for consumers should be a top priority for organizations looking to improve CX in healthcare.
While there are many steps in a patient’s healthcare journey, their experience should be smooth and connected. From finding a doctor to creating an appointment, transferring medical records, showing up for their appointment, accessing test results, scheduling follow-up care, and so on, all of this should be seamless and effortless for the consumer.
Experts and practitioners both agree that simplifying and streamlining the patient journey is the first step.
A good experience begins with the patient flow, the ease of access, the scheduling, the communications,
says Sue Schade, principal at a health IT advisory firm, in the Harvard Business Review.
This is where omnichannel solutions come into play. No matter how many steps it takes on the backend to organize and assemble customer data, the customer simply wants an effortless experience. In fact, 70% of consumers say they expect companies to collaborate behind the scenes on their behalf.
Omnichannel software and strategies can help you create this experience for customers—gathering all customer data and communication history in one place so that every agent has access to a customer’s entire journey and each interaction picks up exactly where the last one left off.
Omnichannel experiences also take into account the variety of channels customers use throughout their journey—from TV and print media to paid search, referrals, websites, phone calls, telemedicine, in-person visits, and more. With an omnichannel strategy, you can create a consistent experience across both digital and in-person channels with reduced silos and improved integration that cares for the customer at every step.
Aggregate and implement insights from customer data
The foundational element of many of these strategies, from personalization to increased convenience or seamless journeys, is data. Without customer data, most of this isn’t possible at scale. Unfortunately, data is often a major challenge for healthcare providers.
Health data is often segregated among many sources: healthcare providers, insurance companies, pharmacies, communities, and physicians all hold a piece of the puzzle. In order to make the most of this data, healthcare organizations need to implement increased data sharing among other stakeholders to get a more holistic picture of customer preferences and needs.
The good news about customer health data is that customer trust in health organizations to protect their data is actually quite high compared to other industries, with 34% of consumers saying they trust doctor’s offices to protect their data. While healthcare organizations need to be mindful of protecting and maintaining that trust, they should also feel empowered to use that data to improve customer experiences.
Healthcare organizations can use existing data, as well as newly gathered data, to create actionable insights. After all, you can’t know what customers want unless you have data to understand your customer. This goes beyond basic health data as well—healthcare organizations should understand customer preferences, lifestyles, behavior, priorities, demographics, and other data.
Once this data is aggregated, you can use it to segment customers for personalization (i.e., cost-conscious consumers vs. convenience-focused members), improve experiences, cater to consumer preferences, and so on.
Partner with outsourced customer service providers
While many healthcare organizations would agree that the above items would be helpful and ideal to implement, finding the internal resources to do so can be next to impossible for many organizations.
A 2023 study found that although clinical staff were experiencing high levels of burnout in healthcare fields, non-clinical staff such as administrative staff, lab technicians, housekeeping workers, and other roles were experiencing similarly high levels of burnout.
According to this study, perceived workload was significantly related to levels of burnout. As healthcare organizations work to fight burnout at all levels, how can you also implement increased personalization, improved digital care, and seamless experiences?
For many healthcare organizations, partnering with outsourced customer service providers is a necessary step to keep up with customer expectations while also managing internal resources. With an outsourced customer care team, your internal staff can focus on what really matters—providing the best clinical care possible.
And with the increased options for healthcare call center outsourcing, an outsourced team doesn’t need to signal a reduced quality of service. In fact, when you partner with a trusted and experienced provider, your customer service and satisfaction are likely to improve as you reduce wait times, eliminate backlogs, improve service levels, strengthen digital channels, and more.
Is CX outsourcing right for you?
Is CX outsourcing right for your healthcare organization?
Consider whether these common benefits of outsourcing CX could make a difference for your team:
- 24/7 service offers increased accessibility to support customers whenever they have a need (not just during business hours)
- Uncover trends and implement data insights through detailed analytics and reporting
- Reduce the burden on internal staff by scaling up your team of sensitive and professional agents
- Improve processing efficiency with an external team to manage processing, payments, collections, and more while providing professional support for clients
- Strengthen customer care and support with outbound call center services to help patients keep up with appointment setting, scheduling follow-ups, navigating insurance claims, and more.
With ROI CX Solutions, outsourcing can deliver massive results for healthcare organizations. With one healthcare system we worked with, we achieved results of:
increase in Speed of Answer
(from an average 40-minute wait to a 7-second wait)
revenue per month
by providing more efficient service, our client saw more appointments scheduled and fewer no-shows
in no-show rate
increase in ease of contact rate
(as reported by patients)
increase in ease of scheduling rate
(as reported by patients)
What could results like these achieve for your healthcare organization?
Reduce the burden on your internal staff, improve processes, and supercharge your customer experience with an outsourcing partner that knows how to drive results from Day 1. Connect with an expert from ROI CX Solutions today.
About ROI CX Solutions
ROI CX Solutions drives customer satisfaction and business success through outsourced customer service and global sourcing management. With decades of experience across our expert team, ROI CX Solutions has innovated results-driven performance and improved customer experiences for brands across a variety of industries. With flexible, customizable solutions, state-of-the-art technology, and world-class customer service representatives, we deliver results for your business—and your customers. | For more information, visit https://roicallcentersolutions.com/.