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Getting customer experience in healthcare right

Getting Customer Experience in Healthcare Right

Divya BhatDivya Bhat | May 19, 2016

Patient satisfaction is not very different from customer delight. Delighting your patients may not always be the most viable (or even practical) option, given that the healthcare industry has to deal with a lot of variable factors when it comes to patient satisfaction. However, handling the experience with care and responsibility is of utmost importance as much in this industry as in any other and THIS is where most hospitals commit the faux-pas of not giving Customer Experience Management a serious thought.

A quick note:

If you haven’t already read our blogpost on the perfect Healthcare Nightmare, HERE IT IS. This is where we dealt with how NOT to do things when it comes to Patient Experience in healthcare units.

The need for Customer Experience in the healthcare industry cannot be overstated. For multiple reasons, in that:

1. No other industry relies on word-of-mouth marketing as much as healthcare does. In perfect unanimity, we would all agree that we’d rather visit a “tried-and-tested-by-a-friend/family ” medical professional on the other side of town than go to the nearest doc about whom you haven’t heard many good things.

2. The stakes are really high. The chances of being chased by a lawsuit is much higher in a hospital than in any other industry- be it over a misconduct with the patient or the family or over a medical misjudgement or negligence.

3. As one of the most profitable industries, people expect to be treated a certain way when they decide to opt for a private hospital as opposed to a government-run one. Being greeted, taken care of and respected are all part of it.


Here is a wonderful video that encapsulates the significance of Customer Experience in Hospitals.


The action points mentioned in the video are not extreme or impossible. These are the 10 principles of CX that are discussed in the video:

1. Be respectful, courteous and polite
2. Give undivided attention
3. Develop excellent communication skills with patients & families
4. Learn problem solving/conflict resolution skills
5. Appreciate the value of everyone’s time
6. Develop excellent communication skills with co-workers
7. Take pride in your job
8. Act professionally
9. Be dependable
10. Make the extra effort


The list looks at Customer Experience from the perspective of the employee. But employers must also look into the list to make sure their hospital staff are inspired enough to want to live by these tenets. Especially the last point where they encourage employees to walk the extra mile to put in all they have and more.

This is impossible when your employees are not engaged at their jobs and aren’t proud about working for your institution. This must change. And this can only change when you start listening to your employees.


Customer experience in healthcare: The moment of truth is the first in a series of HRI reports on healthcare consumerism and related business implications for organizations in the post-reform health market. PwC’s Health research Institute came up with a report a few years ago on healthcare consumerism and related business implications for organizations in the post-reform health market. Some of the findings of the report:

1. Personal experience is the top reason for choosing a doctor or hospital, and it’s more than two and a half times more important than to consumers in other industries.

2. Healthcare consumers are least likely to share a positive story. Only 44% of health insurance customers and 54% of provider consumers actually tell anyone within a month of having a positive experience compared to 70% of retail and 66% of banking customers.

3. They also are less forgiving of providers with whom they have had a negative experience. Six out of 10 negative experiences are more likely to be remembered for longer in the provider industry compared to other industries.

4. 88% of consumers surveyed said they would be willing to return to a retailer that apologized after a bad experience, while two-thirds of disappointed health insurance consumers were willing to forgive and forget if their frustrations were acknowledged.

5. Staff attitude was cited as the main contributor to positive moments of truth by 70% of consumers in the provider sector, compared to 38% of retail shoppers and 33% of bank, hospital and airline customers.

6. Price and convenience ranked high on a list of attributes consumers expect across multiple industries, with price being the No. 1 driver of purchasing decisions for consumers in every industry, except healthcare provider.

In a nutshell:

Yes, we live in the era of technology but the future of healthcare is not just about gadgets, gizmos. Even if the thought of having little R2D2s running around the ER holding trays with surgical tools is a little too progressive for you, they will still be programmed to treat people in a certain dignified fashion. So, why aren’t we doing it ourselves right? Remember Baymax from Big Heroes 6 – the ever-so-caring healthcare companion that hugs and listens to people alongside giving them medical assistance? Be the human version of Baymax and you’ll never have a single unhappy patient or family member. The irony is unmistakable as I say it – that a robot must teach us compassion- but since it puts things in perspective for us much more easily, why not!

Another rather curious trivia is this- The noun ‘hospital’ and the adjective ‘hospitable’ share the same etymology. Up until 13th century, the word hospital meant ‘shelter for the needy’. Somewhere between then and now, not only has the meaning of the word changed but also the effect it has on us! Perhaps it is time to reassess our business strategies by emphasizing more on ‘what needs to be done’ as opposed to sticking religiously to playing safe. Remember: Law suits are highly unlikely when you treat every patient with as much respect as he/she deserves and you are capable of and would expect for yourself.

Do you have a hospital experience that you were immensely pleased with? Let us know about it. We’re always thirsty for ideas that challenge the norm when it comes to Customer Experience Management.