Trust is a critical part of any relationship and in the healthcare industry trust is imperative for a great patient experience. The COVID‐19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented changes in the way people deal with their lives. Large number of people are living with some kind of ailment and with restrictions on mobility, virtual visits have quickly become standard during this pandemic. Everyone is frantically trying to find a way to navigate through this new, hectic environment. Amongst all of this craziness, we must not forget the most important thing that customer care can offer its consumers, is ‘empathy.’ Empathy builds trust and as mentioned earlier, trust is a fragile concept when it comes to healthcare. So, how do you earn trust when dealing with such personal situations amidst this chaos? Here are a few tips to get you headed down the right path with your patients.
#1 Establish Credibility
A customer-centric organization should take advantage of every touchpoint to delight its patients. Patients are already dealing with a sensitive situation when it comes to their health needs, add to it the anxiety of the COVID-19 situation. If they have to repeat themselves, they clearly are losing confidence in your ability to assist them. Thus, CX professionals must be proactive in listening, thinking and connecting to make sure each interaction makes patients feel supported. Active listening and competence in knowledge are both ways to build credibility. By giving the patient undivided attention your healthcare specialists are able to address the concerns the first time instead of causing additional stress to the patient. Demonstrating empathy has the power to deliver the short-term benefit of satisfying patients in the moment, and the long-term benefit of creating a positive emotional connection that translates to brand loyalty.
#2 Communicate Clearly
Effective customer interactions have mirrored the intensity of the current crisis, with some of the major markets starting to see the number of cases decline. Thus, clear and crisp communication with lots of patience becomes extremely important during such situations. When there’s a lack of knowledge or uncertainty, miscommunication can occur between the patient and healthcare specialists. If the patient does not understand what the specialist meant, that could lead to confusion. One way to avoid this is for healthcare specialists to use dialogue techniques—such as adapting vocal delivery through vocal emphasis, perception checking, and engaging in active listening practices. Patients should feel they are being listened to and given information in a considerate, non-judgmental way; this will help create a trusted relationship.
#3 Ask Insightful Questions
Teaching your healthcare specialists to address certain assumptions is key during conversation. To quote an example, with the ongoing situation, it is important to ask the patient how they have been coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. Offer education and appropriate reassurance based on some generic guidance on topics such as social distancing, sanitization etc. In order to eliminate anxiety with the patient, specialists should have proper training that helps them identify the root cause of the issue. This will help reduce frequent follow-ups and build confidence among the patient. When trained in dialogue, specialists realize that asking insightful questions is essential to first-time resolution.
#4 Make it Easy for Patients
Generally, patients contact the health specialists multiple times if next steps were not clearly addressed within the conversation. So how do you prevent this from happening? Healthcare specialists should use perspective to anticipate future patient effort given their training and experience with the issues. Providing additional information before the end of the call helps the specialists empower the patient to better handle frequent encountered situations.
It is moments like these that people will remember forever. If a patient is treated with empathy and respect, they create an emotional connect with the specialist and build trust in them. The patients are more likely to disclose information when they trust you, which ultimately improves the quality of the interaction and patients have a better perception about the care they are receiving. This leads to higher patient autonomy and a more partnered approach to making decisions about one’s health journey. To learn more about creating better relationships with your patients, visit our website at www.startek.com and fill out the Contact Us form.