Software systems can be used to improve customer service and, by extension, build brand loyalty and customer retention. Using the example of home healthcare technology, we can see the impact it can make. How can technology impact customer service in your industry?
According to Forbes, companies with a customer experience mindset drive revenues 4-8% higher than other companies in the same industry and 73% of companies with above-average customer service perform better financially than their competitors.
Why Focus on Customer Service?
Customer service is often the main point of differentiation among businesses in the same industry. When the offer is similar among various businesses, it’s customer service that sets it apart.
Consider the following:
- Two home healthcare agencies offer home nursing services. One agency has an internal policy of returning all calls, emails, and instant messages the same day. The other agency doesn’t have any policy about when to return calls, and they aren’t diligent about following up on client inquiries. Which agency do you think receives the most positive feedback?
- A client has a great experience with a company after several negative experiences with other companies in the same industry. She goes on to tell a few friends and even writes a great review on Yelp and Google.
- A recruiter contacts a manager about a potential job opportunity in the manager’s field. The salary is more than he’s making this year, and the commute is 10 minutes shorter. The manager searches the company’s name online and discovers that even though the job opportunity is fantastic, the company has a reputation for poor customer service. The manager decides to forgo the opportunity.
In each of these situations, it is customer service that makes a difference in the ultimate outcome. 96% of customers say that service is key to their brand loyalty. With that many people noting the importance of service, it’s time that businesses get serious about their customer service.
Why Use Technology for Customer Service?
Nothing beats the personal touch, but there are still circumstances in which technology can supplement and augment personal customer service reps.
Technology-driven customer service is:
- Efficient: Your company can handle more customer service inquiries in less time using a combination of customer service technology and personnel than it can with only staff-supported customer service.
- Cost-effective: Artificial intelligence doesn’t require overtime for working nights and weekends. Once you invest in a good technology solution, there are limited additional costs.
- Scalable: Technology is easier to scale than staffing. It’s faster, less expensive, and more flexible across multiple platforms.
Where can technology-driven customer service be used? In many places, but it is especially useful for:
- Answering simple queries on your website
- Responding to emails
- Answering frequently asked questions on social media
- Supplementing live agents’ responses in your call center
Technology-Driven Customer Service
While nothing beats the personal touch when it comes to customer service, technology-driven service has come a long way since the days of frustrating chatbots and never-ending phone trees.
Both machine learning and artificial intelligence are driving this resurgence of customer service technology. With each passing month, both technologies get better and better at understanding human speech and providing information based on normal, conversational language. Machine-learning-driven systems get better with time as they learn from one day to the next common questions, best answers, and nuances of how the same question may be asked in various ways.
How Home Healthcare Technology Can Improve Customer Service
The Harvard School of Public Health has several ideas about how home healthcare technology can be used to improve healthcare customer service. These were written more for hospitals than home health agencies, but many of the findings and suggestions apply equally as well to home health agencies. One idea that home healthcare agencies can implement in their businesses is helping patients understand their healthcare records.
Consider how many questions you receive from providers, patients, or their families about care visits. A good technology system supporting your agency can provide ample room for notes, and an electronic system can make it easy to share them appropriately and within HIPAA compliance regulations.
Such prompt responses to inquiries can seem like a small thing, but often patients and families are left in the dark when it comes to understanding and interpreting health data, and providers may need assistance, too. Providing that service through technology-driven means can give your agency an added boost in customer service and with it, a positive bump in good will and brand recognition.
Use Home Healthcare Technology to Map the Client’s Processes
Another way in which technology can be used to improve service is to utilize technology to connect and map all the services each patient uses with your agency. This can be done through a CRM, or customer relationship management app or tool that treats services as “sales” and is programmed specifically for a home healthcare agency.
By mapping out all of the various services needed by patients, such as a home health aide, nursing visits, physical and occupational therapy, and similar services, you can then improve scheduling, such as scheduling appointments to dovetail various services together or to ensure continuity of care with a favorite provider.
Easier to Understand Bills
Home healthcare technology can improve customer experience by improving your agency’s billing. Although you may be providing comprehensive bills to patients and families now, adding language to the bills that explains in clear, simple language what each charge is for and how they can find out more about payments through their insurance companies may go a long way to anticipating questions.
There are also various communications tools that can be used to streamline and simplify routine communications. Software can confirm appointments via texting apps that text the details of an appointment to the recipient, asking them to click a link to confirm the appointment. Chatbots on social media sites can provide hours of operation and service information. Recorded messages, available on your customer service phone system, can be used to provide routine information, too.
The Right Software Enhances All Aspects of Customer Service
Even if you choose to continue with “old school” hands-on and personal customer service, technology can still play a vital role in supporting great service.
Consider your agency’s customer service or call center department. As calls are answered, how do agents find information needed to respond to the customers’ calls?
Perhaps the information is simple, such as providing hours of operations, services available, and which insurance plans are accepted. If the information requires agents to look up a client’s account, however, antiquated software may make the process very slow. The faster you can find information, the faster you can answer customer questions and take the next call.
Updating and/or upgrading the software that manages customer records can be a great investment and improve customer service. Even if you think your agency is too small for A.I. and machine learning, it can benefit from faster records access and integrated data that makes it easier to answer customer queries.
Mindover Software Consulting
At Mindover Software, we understand the challenges faced by home healthcare agencies and other organizations seeking to improve customer service. We’d be happy to help you get started. You may contact us or call 512-990-3994 to learn more about software that enhances customer service.