This might seem like it’s a social media post but it’s actually about customer service. After all, as technology changes so do the possibilities of good and bad customer service. Since we seem to hear more often about how someone received either a text message, email or saw something on Twitter that was insulting to a customer, it’s fair to talk about this issue here. In this case I’m talking more to hospitals, but other businesses are affected also.

Day 332
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As more people are participating in social media, some hospitals have gotten into the game as both offer great opportunities to help keep patients both informed and to keep the lines of communication open. Almost every hospital has a website, although the complexity of each varies depending on the level of engagement a hospital wishes to keep with their community.

Physicians, on the other hand, haven’t fully embraced technology in the same fashion. It could be the perception of costs, or it could be the time factor, or it could be the lack of understanding of what technology could help them do.

For instance, instead of having just automated phone calls (which, for now, are still limited by the TCPA, which means you’d better not be calling cellphones without explicit permission), wouldn’t it be great to be able to send an email to patients reminding them of their appointment dates? Or better yet, for pre-registration, sending an email to patients with a link for them to go to and put in their demographic and insurance information? What about text messaging?

In the latter case, the information could go directly into your computer system, eliminating the time of needing to have someone input the same information on the back end. Also, if a consumer needed to contact you back, texting or email would be pretty easy to do.

Technology could allow physicians to send monthly newsletters to keep patients up to date on the latest things going on such a flu shots or cholesterol clinics, as well as sending information to patients suffering from specific illnesses or health tips.

The same goes for social media efforts. Physicians offices could have business pages on Facebook, or have an account on Twitter so their patients can follow their alerts. Or maybe a blog that doles out information in a different way than a newsletter.

For two of my doctors, they have an interactive site where I’ve created a username and password. They then send me an email telling me there’s something for me on the site. I can then sign in, since only I have both username and password, see what they want me to see, contact them if I need to, and see other educational information that may not be specifically for me, but concerns the reason I see these doctors in the first place.

Here’s the thing. Technology isn’t going away, and it behooves physicians to get on board before their competitors do. Anything hospitals and physicians can do to help enhance their presence online gives them a greater presence offline as well.

This works for all businesses also.
 

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