It's not a surprise that patients demand the same level of convenience and prompt service that they would receive from other businesses. Nearly three out of four (73 percent) of consumers believe that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good customer service, reports Forrester Research.Healthcare providers and payers therefore find themselves increasingly competing not just with other practices but other industries that have trained consumers to expect a certain level of service. The Genen Group, a mental health practice composed of psychiatrists and psychologists, is one example of a healthcare organization that realized it was being judged by the quality of its customer service as well as the quality of its treatments.
Dr. Lawrence Genen, M.D. founded The Genen Group with the goal of providing patients with in-depth counseling and care. However, the Los Angeles-based organization soon found itself overwhelmed by an influx of customers.
"I've heard stories of businesses that were doing well but were struggling with rapid growth and that was us," Dr. Genen says. "It was great that the phones were ringing off the hook, but the growth was too much to handle." Patients quickly broadcasted their dissatisfaction. "I didn't have an experience because they won't answer the phone," wrote one customer on Google. Other customers complained of appointment cancellations without prior notice and other scheduling challenges.
In 2014, The Genen Group selected Salesforce to help it scale its customer service. Over the course of several months, the company streamlined patient information from various databases with the Service Cloud. Doing so was the first step in providing better service, Dr. Genen says, since the organization was able to respond to customers faster and keep track of customer communications. Additionally, he has made it a point to directly respond to negative comments on Yelp and thank customers for their feedback.
The improvements appear to be working. Over the past six months, the majority of customer reviews on Yelp and Google have switched from negative to positive. Many customers call attention to the practice's prompt communications and helpful staff.
The Genen Group also became a pilot partner of Salesforce's Health Cloud. Using the Health Cloud, The Genen Group is developing a mobile app that provides self-service features, such as appointment scheduling, coverage verification, and viewing out-of-pocket estimates. The app would also allow therapists to check-in with patients through push notifications. A patient, for example, can quickly let the therapist know if he or she is having an adverse reaction to the prescribed medication rather than wait for the next appointment.
Digital tools like a mobile app and a cloud-based CRM platform also make it easier to collect user data to better inform the company's services. "My hope is that by leveraging greater connectivity and more frequent communications," Dr. Genen says, "We can generate a more accurate picture of the patient and deliver more accurate recommendations that lead to better outcomes in less time."