Business

Customer Service in Health Care

The dental industry has witnessed key changes during the past two decades. Much of the credit for bringing these new trends and reforms lie with the baby boomer generation, which demands the best and the most advanced forms of treatment. Indeed the level of financial security and wealth has decreased gradually and considerably in the new generations, meaning they are less likely to seek the level of healthcare services demanded by their parents and grand parents.

New US health economic statistics suggest that it is the baby boomer generation which is responsible for some of the biggest changes in health care. This generation demands the best care from the best resources. The seedlings of the now popular health tourism industry were sown by these innovators. Dental implant industry is merely an offshoot to this development.

If the hospital and healthcare sectors seek to continue their stream of health revenues, they must cater to this target audience. In this particular target however, exceptional healthcare is the only way to go.

Here lies the ever important role of customer service. Although a well documented and explored phenomenon in other markets and sectors, the customer and consumer in dental healthcare have largely remained passive recipients of these services. Now this trend is changing. With patients gaining knowledge from the internet, having access to numerous oral health service options and aware of any healthcare hiccups which take place, the quest for gaining customer loyalty and retaining it becomes ever more challenging. Not to your interest? Perhaps. But here are some of the statistics that show the power of the customer service on the financial health of your organization.

Recent research on consumers revealed that more than half of the sample received poor customer service within last year. Of these around 45% will not hesitate to abandon the product or service if they do not receive the answers to their queries. Finally, customer service quality is judged by how much the service providers value the customer’s time and commitments.

One glance on the statistics and you see that we are not customer focused at all. While many of the dental and health care services have joined the marketing spree, there are very few who have begun work on any customer oriented services. Essa Laboratories perhaps is one of the first diagnostic laboratories to engage in an extensive three month program to promote customer loyalty retention and service. And it has paid off. With better service standards, the organization improves its brand image. Customer services are the first invisible front where any myths and confusions for a service are dispelled.

Lets look at the other side of the coin. Harvard Business Review study states that if you reduce your customer service defections by a mere 5%, you can improve your profits upto 85%. Interested? Another alarming fact. While you may think that your customer dissatisfaction was only limited to one individual, almost 27% of the total will go online and vent their frustration on you. Word of mouth is another source of defaming your quality of service. These are odds you would never like to take for your organization.

In conclusion, if you plan to ensure your dental practice survives longer, you need to focus on your customers. This simply does not mean serving them with tea or coffee, although it is a part of effort. Rather, customer retention is a definitive strategy that is created in line with the company’s misson and vision. Any strategy off tangent to your values and mission will mean ambiguity, leading to poor marketing results. May be its time our doctors stopfocusing on themselves and start focusing on their patients.

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December 4, 2013

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Dental is part of the Medical News Group of publications which in 1968 became the pioneer of medical journalism in Pakistan. Medical News is the only periodical in Pakistan which has 3 simultaneous editions from Karachi, Islamabad and online.

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