Every healthcare organization is focus on the factors that form a basis for hospitals to build good public image. For a firm to become successful and stay successful, it has to have a strong base of a good public image. The only way to create such an image is to have good public reputation through the use of public relation promotions and advertising.
The Factors Which Constitute Good Public Image of a Hospital
- Competent medical practitioners to provide personal medical attention.
- Hospital’s infrastructure to provide excellent diagnostic, preventive, therapeutic care and peripheral facilities
- Customer friendly hospital policies and services.
- Mutual trust between the hospital and its clientele due to the hospital’s medical expertise, charities and community service.
- Good will and understanding between patients and the hospital staff.
The most common issue the long term firms in the healthcare sectors facing today are the new ways of thinking of consumers. Nowadays consumers have many alternatives and they know to take their decision well and are very selective regarding healthcare.
Most of the healthcare service providers rely on techniques that were used from ages, advertising to improve their image in public. Every facility provided by the firm measures the quality of care. With many firms providing similar products and services customers rely on every message to evaluate the statement of quality. Doctors must take care to ensure that patients receive appropriate medical care on time. Hospitals must formulate patient friendly guidelines to ensure the patient’s stay in the hospital is satisfactory.
Hospitals can suitably adjust policies to comfort customers with flexible billing processes.
Commonly received complaints include the following
- Medical negligence and treatment errors.
- Wrong drug prescriptions due to bias towards some pharmaceutical products.
- Faulty billing and collection procedures.
- Hospitals can increase the value of the public image by acting upon commonly received complaints. Hospitals can use suggestion/complaint boxes or improve services with a dedicated grievance cell.
In a healthcare firm or in general any firm, customer retention is an important issue. Every member in the firm has to be an active agent in catering to the customer needs. Hospitals today are making efforts to identify what the healthcare customers want, tailoring to their needs by providing services and attracting more customers to use the services.
Following are some measures that can help provide good customer service which will keep the customer happy and satisfied. They are as follows
- Staying in touch with customers on a regulatory basis. The customers must be asked if they are comfortable getting updated via mails. The PR must follow-up after each sale to check if the customer is happy with the product or needs any servicing to be done.
- Creating a customer focus group involving 10-20 loyal customers. Monthly surveys can be done with their help and suggestions can be taken for further improvements.
- Having a user-friendly website where a section called FAQ (frequently asked questions) can be included. Here explanations can be given regarding some issues that might be confusing to understand.
- Resolving the complaints in a quick and complete manner. Answering all the emails and phone calls immediately. This will prove that the firm cares for the customer.
- Keeping easy to access contact information. So that customers need not search for contact information. Providing hyperlinks to the email addresses in online documents. Offering a toll free number.
- Giving employees bonuses and incentives for providing excellent customer services. Employees must be trained to be flexible with customers as each of them has a different requirement.
- Giving the customer unexpected services. Sending thank you gifts to long term customers. Sending birthday cards, holiday cards on special occasions and so on.
- Being polite while addressing. Usage of words like thank you, please and welcome. Admitting and apologising for mistakes done.
- Inviting customers to office for lunch, parties, seminars and special events in case the business is local.
- In order to achieve high levels of customer satisfaction, appropriate expectations must be set however, higher than the set expectation must be achieved. When better services are delivered to customers, they might get impressed and return for more business or even recommend the firm to their friends as well.
When there is balanced information from the customer in the form of feedback, the company will grow automatically.
There are various ways to find out the customer feedback. Here are a few
- Ask them – Asking the customer his needs and wants is the simplest possible technique. The problem with most firms is that they assume they know what their customer desires for. But the fact is not the same. The needs may differ from person to person.
- Be one’s own customer – One of the obvious ways is to be one’s own customer. One should test the product on oneself and get to know what the customer experiences. Example, one can use the healthcare products like sauna belts and check out the experience.
- Focus groups – The customers send their representatives to the firms to provide them with the requirements and preferences. These representatives make the focus groups.
- Usage statistics – The information on whether the customer is satisfied with the offered product and services is the usage statistics. The sales statistics may prove that the products are used but it does not indicate whether the product that was offered is according to the user needs or not.
- Questionnaires and surveys – They are one of the familiar activities to find out the customer satisfaction. They involve getting the customers to write down their experiences on a questionnaire or by conducting surveys on regular basis.
- Front line staff – The front line staff must maintain good relationships with the customers so that they feel free to share their experiences with the service and also give valuable suggestions. Next, the front line staffs give this feedback to their managers so the required improvements can be done.