I had a HORRIBLE customer service experience with a technology company this week. During business hours, I waited on hold for 29 minutes prior to a representative being available. After about 20 minutes on the phone with the customer service representative, it was obvious that she did not understand the issue
or how to resolve. She asked for another 20 minutes to check out some aspects of the issue but was unsure if she would be able to resolve the issue (technical issue with a phone they support for us). At this point I was extremely frustrated and needed to take charge of the call to provide options to her (she should have provided the options to me). She did not have an understanding of the problem for us – unsure if it was lack of listening skills or lack of knowledge. Investing more of my time on hold would have increased my frustration so we terminated the call with no resolution – missed opportunity. What could have this organization done differently? Plenty. First, no customer should wait more than 5 minutes to speak to a customer service representative. Management needs to be on the hook for staffing as well as monitoring customer service. Second, the company posted a ‘green light’ on their systems while the customer representative stated there is a major problem with their systems. The internal processes and procedures need to align when there is a problem. There are other items this company could do to further the customer service experience after they can move to an acceptable/basic level. Although we are not perfect, we are on the pursuit of perfection each day which causes continuous improvement of a ‘good’ customer experience. Constant re-engineering of processes and methods should be the norm with all organizations including the investment of people and resources.
How does this relate to Pediatric Practice Management? Pediatric practice management requires good customer service. When a patient calls during business hours, they need to be able to speak to a live person without waiting for more than a few minutes or receive a voicemail that they can leave a message when the question relates to a bill or other administrative function (e.g. follow-up on insurance information). Also, patients need to be able to leave a message any time after hours (this saves them time). We have picked up clients for which the previous billing service did not provide this level of service. Appropriate level of service is critical to managing the revenue cycle and the revenue cycle is a ‘team’ effort.