Here are some brief dos and don’ts when it comes to giving good customer service to patients in the healthcare industry.
These are some of the things I noticed when I spent two weeks in hospital. Some of them might be things that are uniquely important to me, but some of them might be universal, it’s hard to tell.
- Do make sure that all staff, regardless of their role, give patients the exact same advice and make sure they are all fully clued up before they talk to you. When a surgeon tells you to stay relaxed in bed, then a physiotherapist tells you to walk around and perform stretches daily, it not only makes you wonder who’s advice you should follow, but it also makes you question the certainty and effectiveness of your treatment plan in general.
- When performing some sort of treatment, don’t discuss things with other staff that are both irrelevant to the treatment and not addressed at the patient. Small talk with the patient is fine, it is reassuring to be the focus of attention, but small talk with other staff is not. Talking about staff parties, weddings, etc. can make the patient feel that the staff aren’t taking things seriously. When dosed up on pain killers, in pain and discomfort and unsure about your state o f health, you don’t make quite the same level headed judgements as those treating you – it is imperative that you feel a certain gravity has been prescribed to your situation.
- Don’t discuss staff politics in front of the patient. Denied requests for time off, too much overtime, disagreements with colleagues, etc. make the whole system seem fallible; this is the last thing you want to feel.
- When discussing treatment with other staff, don’t address the other staff directly. Talk and explain to the patient while the other staff listen. Some doctors did this and it is incredibly effective for building trust.
I’m really interested in effective customer service in all industries – so if you know of any other maxims for customer service in healthcare, or interesting resources, add them to the comments.