Telemedicine Customer Service Tips
Telemedicine is already an incredibly powerful tool; but focusing on customer service will help elevate the use of telemedicine to much greater heights. Consumer usage rises when patients are happy with the customer service they receive– and fortunately, there are basic steps telemedicine providers can take to improve customer service and ensure outstanding patient experiences.
The right blend of medical and customer service strengthens patients’ relationships with providers. Better patient-provider relationships translate to repeat patients and a steady stream of income for providers.
Five Tips for Improving Telemedicine
There are some easy steps that health providers can take to ensure their telemedicine offerings meet patients’ standards. Today’s patients understand what they want from telemedicine providers; and if you can’t provide it, they’ll move on to work with someone who will.
Know your target patient
You need to know who you’re trying to reach if you want to optimize your ability to attract patients. Your team can build a patient journey analysis to understand where your patients come from and how they get to you. You should create benefit-focused, service-line content based on your knowledge of your audience.
Make your telemedicine services easy to access
Telehealth services need to be easy to access if you want patients to use them. They should be promoted throughout your website, app, and office. If you can use links and other tools to make services uber-easy to access, even better. It should never be a long or complicated process to seek telemedicine services.
Promote telemedicine at your facility and to your team
Like we mentioned above, it’s important to actually promote telemedicine in-facility and to your team. You need to tell patients about your offerings if you want them to take advantage of what’s available. Your team should know all about your telehealth program, too, so that they can share information with patients and other curious parties.
Integrate ratings and reviews into your telemedicine program
Ratings and reviews are the cornerstone of business for lots of different entities. In today’s world, ratings have a big influence on healthcare providers’ success too. You should make it easy for your patients to rate and review your telehealth services– and make sure that your audience can access those stellar reviews easily, too. It’ll be easy to pinpoint opportunities for improvement if you consistently track patient satisfaction.
Fold content marketing into the mix
Content marketing can help push telemedicine services over in-person appointments. The right article or blurb can help inform patients of when it’s time to come into the office and when it might be better to schedule a telehealth consult.
Three Tips for Improving Telemedicine Customer Service
Focus on wait times
If your wait times aren’t better than the wait times offered at in-person clinics, you’re not likely to attract your maximum number of patients. Telehealth wait times usually average about twenty minutes for patients with appointments; work on making changes to meet this timeline if you don’t already.
Offer appointment flexibility
Telemedicine appointments need to be flexible– it’s another way that they should stand out from in-person appointments. Consider that many of the people you will serve will choose telemedicine specifically for its flexibility. When you’re too rigid in your telemedicine offerings, it’s a huge turn-off for a large portion of your potential patients.
Your customers want to know that they can trust you for medical advice. Much like how doctors in the real world usually have their credentials on-display, you should make sure that yours are easy to find and access on the web. They can go on your homepage to ensure every patient sees them; or you can have an easily-accessible spot to check them out on their own page.
Make Telemedicine More Customer-Centric
The key to successful telemedicine offerings is to ensure that they are customer-centric. The telehealth model is designed to benefit customers and make it easier for them to find care. When you make it difficult for your patients to receive the care they need, you’re not likely to enjoy good business.
Here are ten simple steps to help you make your telemedicine offerings more customer-centric. Remember that patients have a wide variety of options when it’s time to find care– your services need to stand out amongst the crowd if you want to see success.
- Create a command center: If you have a virtual front-door for your practice, it can serve as a command center– someone can direct patient flow from there
- Make interactions quick and easy: Don’t force your patients to sit on their phone or computer forever just to get the information they need
- Don’t charge a copay: Copays can scare off potential patients; don’t charge until you know exactly what care is required
- Remember consumer information and preferences: Today’s patients and consumers want to feel like individuals; remember information about them to improve your relationship
- Create meaningful, timely, convenient interactions: Your interactions should always support follow-up care; build a follow-up care protocol to ensure patients receive all the care they need
- Empower customers: Customers should feel empowered to select their own telehealth professionals
- Gather and monitor real-time feedback: This offers unparalleled insight into your quality of service; address issues quickly before they escalate
- Ensure data-driven conversations: Make sure your providers have access to the tools and information they need to offer data-driven care
- Help patients manage costs: Offer information about services, costs, and so on during telehealth calls
- Connect to non-telehealth services: If someone needs transportation or wants medication delivered to their home, you should be able to offer to help during an appointment
There are lots that telehealth providers can do to ensure their patients are healthy and happy. Taking the factors above into account could help catapult your telemedicine offerings from lukewarm to patient perfection.
Nichols Can Help Steer Your Telemedicine Strategy
At Nichols Healthcare, our staff has extensive experience helping clients create the perfect patient flow. If you’re interested in getting started or learning more about our position on healthcare consumerism, reach out to me at MKlein@WeTellYourStory.com.
Matt Klein - VP Account Services
Matt Klein believes that the business of healthcare is personal — because healthcare is personal. It’s a subject he’s very passionate about. Throughout his career, he’s worked with a wide variety of clients across the spectrum of healthcare, including large national companies such as Advocate Health Care and Pfizer, regional powerhouses including St. Vincent’s Health System and IU Health, and smaller, specialized facilities such as Advocate Eureka, Orthopedic Sports Enhancement Center, and Fort Wayne Medical Oncology and Hematology.