By Greg Miller
Digital technology has given consumers more choices than ever before, and with those choices have come growing expectations for a superior customer experience.
When those consumers are patients – in need of care and help managing their health – the expectations for a seamless and helpful experience are even higher.
A survey of nearly 700 patients released in early 2021, shows that patient expectations continue to climb. Two-thirds (67%) of patients surveyed said even one poor customer experience would negatively impact their loyalty to a healthcare organization.
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Clearly healthcare providers and payers have little margin for error in how they interact with patients. Yet not all healthcare organizations are able to provide a unified, modern experience across the entire patient journey. Many systems and workflows in healthcare remain siloed, including contact centers and newer tools, like chatbots. Indeed, 63% of patient survey respondents said their provider is not capable of delivering an excellent experience in a completely digital way. If what these healthcare consumers believe is accurate, this means their providers are more likely than not to lose business because they aren’t delivering a patient experience (PX) that meets today’s standards.
PX means far more than clinical care. It encompasses every interaction a healthcare consumer has with a healthcare organization, at every touchpoint, throughout the patient journey. Patients tend to judge the entire healthcare system based on each experience in the journey. To deliver a great PX, organizations must get every touchpoint right – there can be no siloes or “dropped balls.”
The COVID-19 pandemic served as a wakeup call for many providers accelerating the adoption of virtual care and digital tools. These providers are increasingly aware that a superior PX isn’t just good business, it’s a matter of survival. (Dr. Stephen Klasko, president and CEO of Jefferson Health in Philadelphia, calls this “healthcare’s Amazon moment.”) There has also been a renewed focus on the teams and technologies that form the hub of patient experience before, between, and after clinical encounters: the contact center. Besides canvassing patients, the survey also includes data from more than 160 healthcare PX professionals that points to the emerging role of contact centers as a critical tool for driving better PX:
● 88% agree that contact centers are a meaningful contributor to their PX strategies
● 81% agree contact centers have an impact on PX today (a number that is expected to exceed 90% over the next two years)
● 68% say positioning the contact center as a strategic asset is a top priority of their organizations
It’s no longer enough, however, for contact centers to only support patient communication by phone. The survey demonstrates that 78% of patients surveyed want more options for communicating with their healthcare organizations.