Customer service may look easy, but it takes diligence and determination to make it work like a well-oiled machine. The consumer has multiple choices in obtaining care and shopping will become more widespread as information on services, quality, and prices is available. Tools that compare providers empower consumers to think critically about whether they need care, and who and where to go for care.

The healthcare market is quickly changing with non-healthcare players joining the race to get the consumer’s dollars. Within healthcare, the purchasing and merging of companies are going beyond their traditional business market competitors. Health plans are buying and merging with businesses other than health plans. They are partnering with doctor’s practices and health systems. Insurance companies are buying drug retailers such as the Aetna and CVS deal. Apple is making individual electronic health records available through consumer’s health systems.

Innovative ways to deliver care will surpass today’s inefficient and inconvenient system. The increase in retail clinics, urgent care clinics, and specialty ambulatory surgery centers are nudging the consumer to use outpatient care for procedures that used to be done in the hospital. But the new patient will look closely at quality, not just convenience.

One strategy to improve the quality of care is to put the consumer at the center of care, promote self-engagement in their care, and meet the consumer’s needs. It forces the market players to listen to their target customers in order to align services with needs.

Essentials for high quality of care:

  • Patient safety
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Accessibility
  • Better outcomes

Are you wondering who your healthcare customer is today? With the ongoing changes, how do you attract your customers. Do you know what they want and more importantly, what they really need? Do you have the services and products that they seek? Can you provide the services when the customer wants them or does she need to fit your schedule?

Healthcare customers are looking for quality, value, and convenience. The cost of care is shifting to the consumer with high deductibles that start at $1,500 must be paid out-of-pocket before insurance pays. Many deductibles are much higher and consumers are shocked at how much they have to pay.

Best strategies for attracting and keeping customers:

  • Know the customers that you are targeting
  • Offer great customer service  (e.g. Apple, Amazon)
  • Understand the needs of the customer
  • Predict your customer’s wants
  • Align your products and services with your customer’s needs
  • Be transparent with pricing
  • Educate your customer on the process of care and payment

That creates winning service!