Important Healthcare Customer Service Training Tips

It’s easy to assume that healthcare customer service training is going to be no different than training agents for any other industry, when it comes to the overall science of customer service. Well, naturally, there are some shared constants and tenets that transfer to any application and industry where customer service relates. But, healthcare is a special industry with very specific concerns, and they do in turn affect severely customer service in this context.

Itbs important to appreciate the things that differentiate healthcare customer support training from that of any other customer support training. Healthcare is a very specialized industry that takes a special kind of person to work in pretty much any capacity within it, even if not dealing with patients directly. In a moment, Ibll be telling you a little story from bitter personal experience as to why this all matters so much. First, however, allow me to outline the points themselves.

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#1 Emotions Will Be Stronger

When you deal with customers who call regarding healthcare, emotions are going to be much stronger when there is an issue. This is because either the customer, someone possibly ill and in duress as things are, is now having to deal with added issues because of a problem with your company or the company you represent b or they may be a friend or loved one calling, upset that their ill loved one is in added duress over an issue.

Theybre under more sympathetic or direct stress as things are, and the issue will just amplify them, so the empathy aspect of good customer support here is absolutely vital more than any other scenario. Be sure you spend a lot of time training agents to be comforting, empathetic and patient in light of this.

#2 You Donbt Just Deal with Customers

Healthcare companies, especially ones providing caretakers for people, will have to deal with people who arenbt directly customers who may have issues. This may be due to encounters with the customer also leading to encounters with their caretakers, or other similar issues.

This is a rare scenario versus customer service in other industries, and you will need to train your agents to account for these people, people who may not entirely get your company as a whole and may therefore not be in the system and may seem inaccurately ignorant.

#3 Hold Times are a No No

Unlike other industries where reducing hold times but their presence remaining is an acceptable compromise, your agents have to be trained in this instance for hold times to be essentially nonexistent. This means that they have to be fast and efficient without seeming uncaringly rushed.

This is difficult, so you will want to focus on contingencies and drilling best practices for courteous speed in your agents to account for this.

Now, I promised you a quick story that exemplifies these to an extent so here you go.

A couple years ago, I lived next door to some neighbors one of which was a friend of mine. My car had broken down and would be in the shop for a week yet, and so, I had to come over and ask him for rides. He lived with his aunt, a mere 10 years older than he. She was not entirely well physically, and had a nurse working to help her look after her three kids and help her around the house.

That nurse was a terrible, rude and disrespectful person who often slammed doors in my face and spoke inappropriately to me for no acceptable reason.

When I found out her name, and who she worked for, I felt the unavoidable need to call the company and complain about her hostile behavior. When I tried to, I was on hold for two hours. I am not exaggerating. When I finally got someone, they were rude and indifferent to my complaint due to my not being a customer myself.

The result was that I went out of my way to recommend people avoid using their company for healthcare, online and offline alike. I have no respect for their company as a result.

So, you can imagine why healthcare customer service training is different in many ways, and why failing at it is b& well, not good.

Stefanie Amini
is Specialist in Customer Success and chief writer and editor of I Want It Now, a blog for Customer Service Experts. Follow her @StefWalkMe