What could possibly be common between hospital and hospitality? For starters, they are derivative of the same Latin word “hospes” which could mean guest, stranger or foreigner. Another commonality between the two industries is that both deal in “people experience”. Although the demeanor of experience in hospitality is more out of choice, in the case of hospitals, it stems from a need. Irrespective of the origin of that experience, to thrive in a business for profit, understanding the true value of a customer is paramount.
In my opinion, when it comes to customer experience (CX), the hospitality sector is faring much better than hospitals. This is because the core values of the hospitality industry have always been to provide care, warmth, friendliness and, affability.
On the other hand, the premise of medical healthcare facilities have always been stressful and centered on a life-&-death scenario. However, times are changing, and health leaders are realizing the relevance of Customer Experience. Implementation is still a concern and there must be an organizational shift to get the culture of CX on board. Here are 4 things Hospitals should learn about Customer Experience from the Hospitality Industry –
#1. Help Desk Staff Are Warmer And More Empathetic
Helpdesk executives in the hospitality sector are trained to be helpful and empathetic. As soon as a customer walks into a restaurant or hotel lobby they are immediately greeted by a barrage of staff. The executives are trained to anticipate the needs of their guests in advance.
For example, once I was waiting for a friend in a hotel lobby when a saw an elderly lady who seemed lost and could not find her way to the elevator. Before I could approach to guide her, one of the staff members immediately came to her rescue. As a mere observer, that left a positive impression on me.
On the other hand, front desk staff and hospitals are trained to be more result oriented. They are primarily trained to handle queries that come to them. This approach is understandable from a standpoint that healthcare facilities operate under a tone of stress. The executives must answer too many desperate queries and feelings like empathy and eagerness to help can take a backseat.
#2. The Physical Environment Is Far More Soothing
From acoustic design to the art on the wall to striking the right balance between artificial and natural lighting to the temperature, the physical environment of a hotel is designed to match the comfort of the guests. It is the time that hospitals follow suit. It is important to develop a healing and soothing ambience in the hospitals, as conventional hospital designs are said to add to the patient stress.
Most of the time, people who walk into the entrance of a hospital are already reeling under a lot of stress. A comfortable and integrated design that offers natural navigation within the hospital premises can help anxious and traumatized the patients and caregivers.
#3. Hotels Have a Smooth Check-in Process
In my experience, getting hospital admission is very daunting. The waiting time is usually long, and patients are expected to fill in redundant information and forms. Checking into the room is delayed and largely depends on the physician’s availability. Conversely, checking into a hotel is a breeze. To begin with, the hotel staff is already aware of your arrival (since booking in done in advance).
Although pre-booking is not always the case in hospitals (unless it’s a pre-planned surgery), check-in process at hospitals can be made less burdening. There should be a distinction between registered patient and first-time patient. In case of former, the hospital will already have information about the visiting patient. As for the latter, the hospital staff should make the check-in process for the patient as smooth as possible.
#4. Adoption of Customer Experience Technology
All thanks to fierce competition and changing customer demand, the hospitality sector has always been first to adopt technological innovations. In the recent past, the reliance on customer experience platforms has been on the rise. Using Chatbots to increase customer engagement using IoT technology has a medium of personalization have made hospitality sector the front-runners in customer experience technology.
The hospitality sector understands the long-term value of a customer in terms of ROI and investment. It is time that hospitals considered patients as an integral component of their business goal. A satisfied and happy patient will return to the hospital and will even promote the facility amongst peers and family.
The primary goal of the hospital is to offer unmatched medical service to their patients. For this, they hire the best medical and nursing staff. But these staff members are focused on the physical wellness of the patients.
To attain holistic wellness, hospitals must also hire customer experience professionals. These resources can guide hospitals to how to develop and devise sound customer experience strategies.
Kamna Datt is a CX expert and content contributor at one of the leading contact center solution providers in Asia. Her expertise lies in tracking and analyzing trends in the CX and customer service domain and assist businesses to develop and understand key strategies through her writing.