How to Improve Patient Satisfaction: The Importance of Real-Time Service Recovery

Ashley Worral
by Tom DuScheid, Product Manager
July 10th

In this Blog: 

  • The Importance of Service Recovery in Healthcare
  • Gaining Internal Buy-In
  • Monitoring Patient Feedback Requests
  • Addressing Negative Patient Feedback in Real Time
  • Monitoring and Improving Your Service Recovery Program


The Importance of Service Recovery in Healthcare

Service recovery is the process of identifying and resolving issues to retain customers, and is an essential piece of any healthcare organization’s patient experience program. To improve patient satisfaction healthcare organizations must give patients the opportunity to share their experiences, be able to react immediately to negative feedback, and have the processes and tools to quickly resolve issues. Many of Feedtrail’s clients have processes in place to salvage an experience even before the patient has left their facility.

Research from Accenture found almost seven percent of patients switch providers because of a bad experience, which on average can cost a healthcare organization $100 million in revenue. The impact of service recovery often extends far beyond the experience of an individual patient though. Multiple studies have shown that 96 percent of unhappy customers will share their experience with at least nine of their friends. Add in the impact of social media and online reviews and missed service recovery opportunities can have a far reaching impact to your brand and future revenue.

To help organizations looking to start or improve their service recovery program, I compiled best practices below that Feedtrail clients are leveraging.


Gaining Internal Buy-In

To gain internal buy-in we recommend you begin with monitoring and managing positive feedback. By starting with this approach, you can engage your team in a positive way and focus on sharing wins and best practices. Once your team has become engaged, then you can start working with them to address and recover negative feedback. This approach will allow your team to understand that a service recovery process can focus on being constructive and make everyone better. 


Monitoring Patient Feedback Requests

Healthcare organizations should be automatically alerted to service concerns and provide patients with the opportunity to speak with a staff member about their feedback. This gives you the chance to connect with patients, let their voice be heard, and address concerns- ideally salvaging a relationship and preventing negative word of mouth or damaging online reviews. Using Feedtrail’s text-based surveys patients can request a response to their feedback and workflows alert the appropriate team members immediately so they can quickly take action.

Sharing the patient feedback internally is also a key component, so team members and leadership are aware of immediate concerns and areas for improvement. In the Feedtrail patient experience platform, you can easily categorize the low-scoring feedback that is received (ex: wait time) to understand the areas within the patient journey that need improvement. 


Addressing Negative Patient Feedback in Real Time

As mentioned above, most unhappy customers will share their negative experience with friends. It is imperative that you are aware of low-scoring surveys or negative feedback in real time to address these patients as soon as possible. With social media nowadays, patients can share their grievances to a large audience within seconds! For example, the average Facebook user has 338 connections they can share their feedback with. With sharing capabilities easily available in the Facebook platform, these social posts can go viral within minutes.

Feedtrail’s platform lets you save response templates so you can quickly reach out to patients with consistent messages based on the type of feedback received. Even if the issue cannot be resolved immediatly, patients appreciate a quick response to let them know you’re working to resolve the issue and will be in touch again within a specific timeframe.


Monitoring and Improving Your Service Recovery Program

Once you are capturing and managing patient feedback, you need to have a way to analyze the feedback and your service recovery processes to ensure a system of continuous improvement. Your reporting and analytics should enable you to see how many experiences you have recovered and the revenue saved as a result, as well as patients that were not recovered to understand trends and make operational improvements.  Response time is of great importance, so you need to be able to report on response time to understand how this impacts your ability to salvage relationships with patients. With this data you can now benchmark and create goals to operate a more effective service recovery program to improve patient satisfaction, build loyalty, and increase revenue. 

Learn more about how the XM Platform can support your service recovery efforts:

Download our Service Recovery Overview

Feedtrail - Healthcare Experience Management